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Harry Potter: Winning the Battle But Losing the War?

Wizard_hat_2This BusinessWeek article does a fine job revealing the uglier side of a big product release like the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  You'd think a mega-hit like this would cast off profits for everyone involved, but that's simply not the case. 

Why?  Perhaps the best way to state it is that it's an insane feeding frenzy where everyone's focused on out-discounting everyone else.  Even Jeff Bezos notes that Amazon will not make a profit from the new Potter book.  Wow.

But look at what the article says about the publishers involved in the project.  One is reported to do better in off-Potter years because "they extend so much energy on one title and not enough on fixing things like the company's flailing direct-to-home book business" while Bloomsbury, the original publisher, has seen its stock price drop 40% in the last year!  Geez, with results like that they might look forward to just getting through this summer and putting this blockbuster behind them...

I also thought one of the readers who posted a comment to the article made an interesting point about the book world vs. the movie one and how the latter would never consider slashing prices.  When that next major movie comes out you don't find yourself looking for the best admission price.  Right.  Different model entirely, I know, but it's still a great observation about how the whole book/bookstore model really shoots itself in the foot at times.


Ellen Gerstein

Thanks for the link. I'm going to point my friends and colleagues to it. The ones who think that God's gift to publishing is really making everyone rich. It's a sad state of the industry when something that has driven so many kids into reading and kept them there is mishandled by so many on the business side of things. Even Amazon can't make money on this one? Amazing...

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