This 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.