The Bargain Book Business: An Overview of Recent History

Illustration by brewbooks via Flickr. Creative Commons license. Until the 1970s, the book industry comprised dozens of independent companies, some small and some large, whose only business was book publishing.  Bookstores were likewise independent and locally owned. I worked in two bookstores during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At that time, the publishers set the retail price for each title and sold them to bookstores at a 40% discount. Bookstores, therefore, could not compete on price.  Publishers also determined how many copies of each title to print, based on their assessment of how well it would sell. To this … Continue reading