Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Harry Potter and the Disappearing Profits

With the last of the Harry Potter books due out next month,one of the biggest concerns seems to be not about who will live or who will die in the book but that apparently,no one in the bookselling community will be able to make a profit off of it. I've been seeing plenty of stories online about how all of the discounting done by the chain stores(both brick & motar as well as the internet)have forced everyone else to cut the cost of the book to customers,leaving no one with any extra cha-ching! in their receipts at the end of the day.

As Dennis Miller would say,I don't want to go off on a rant here but is this really a new story? As someone who has sold most of the Harry Potter series in a small store for several years,it's been obvious that discounts rule the day here. Ever since the third book,folks have been clamoring for Harry and comparison shopping both online and in their local bookstores. I remember a newspaper story in my area for Book 6,which listed the going rate for Half Blood Prince at different shops around the city. This is really not a new thing,people.

The only difference between then and now is that is the final book about Harry that we're going to get from J.K. Rowling. Does that mean that interest in HP will vanish like smoke?

Yes and no-there will be some lull in Pottermania after awhile but Harry's place in the literary canon is pretty well set. These books aren't like Beanie Babies,(which too many people bought as investments)which you look back on and say "Yeah,they're cute but what was I thinking?" These books will continue to gain new readers for generations to come,which means that bookstores will always need to keep them on shelves the same as Charlotte's Web,The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings titles.

One of the things will keep interest alive for the next few years are the film adaptations;Book Five,Order of The Phoenix,will be in theaters just before the last book is released which makes July Harry Potter Month as far as I'm concerned. That means we have two more films to go and with Rowling being able to add her creative input to how the adaptations are done,we should have a nice set of both movie and print versions of Harry's adventures.

And those who have read all of the Potter books already will be looking for more good series to immerse themselves in,which means mo' money,mo'money in the long run. We've already seen similar success with The Series of UnFortunate Events and the Eragon titles and more movies will be made from such wonderful Young Adult fantasy books like Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and the upcoming Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy,starting with The Golden Compass in December. I haven't read any of the Pullman books but this trailer sure makes me want to:

What does all of this add up to? Simply put,that while they may not be any big bucks to be made directly off of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the short term,the long term benefits are manifold. The high demand for the book will bring folks in the door,which is half the battle of retail. And a good number will be looking for recommendations for other things to read while on vacation or waiting their turn to read the new HP.

I know that all of the booksellers out there will be very tired at the end of July 21 but happy in the knowledge that interest in books and reading is still alive and strong. They may not be able to retire just yet but there's more than one source of wealth in the world which is more valuable in some ways than gold or jewels. I don't think I have to say what that is,we all know it well. It shines out from the eyes of a person delighting in the written word and world of a gifted author.


Robin Brande said...

What an excellent, excellent post, Lady T. You nailed it.

And please, please, PLEASE read His Dark Materials next. You will be so happy you did.

lady t said...

Thanks,Robin and I guess I should read the Pullman books,especially since you said please:)