If you're a writer or a reader you've probably heard about Wal-Mart and Amazon's plan to offer new hardback books at only $9. If not, grab your coffee and sit down because you've got to get in the know about this. For readers this could be great news. For writers, not so much.
Authors only get typically 10% off the cover price of a hardback. Suddenly makes a $25 book not look like such a great profit huh? Now knock that down to a $9 book. That more than cuts an authors profits in half. Ouch. Not such a big deal for the authors who sells hundreds of thousands of books but what about for those who only sell tens of thousands, or even just thousands?
For readers this is great because everyones wallets are thin in this economy and who couldn't use a break when it comes to their entertainment costs? You can pick up some great titles at a discount price.
In the end, it's better for authors if readers buy the hardback regardless of it's discount because we get typically 10% of that price and only 6% or less of the cover price of a paperback. If more people are able to buy hardback books instead of having to wait for the paperback the profit for authors will still be better.
Will I be rushing out to buy my books from Wal-Mart or Amazon? No. I'm not a fan of Wal-Mart and there isn't one within 100 miles of where I live anyways. Considering Amazon posted only bad reviews of a friend's book (that was quite good I must add!) despite all the great reviews written, I've been boycotting them ever since. So Barnes & Noble, no worries. I'm faithfully yours forever!
Associated Press's announcement of the price wars: http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_16036/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DyE8QsXP