Thursday, January 8, 2009

Book News, In Brief
(The Extra Depressing Bookselling Edition)

I turned on my computer yesterday to see this AP headline: After Sales, Will Shoppers Pay Full Price Again? According to the accompanying article, once you go Black Friday, you never go back.

Hell, even the once invincible porn magazine industry is on its knees, begging for a handout. The AFP reports: Porn Industry, Citing Limp Economy, Seeks its Own US Bailout. (Okay, so the italics were mine, but you can't tell me they weren't giggling when they wrote that.)

But wait. There's hope! Via A new study suggests that if they just touch an item for more than a few seconds, they may also end up buying it. Researchers from Ohio State University and Illinois State University tested how touching an item before buying affects how much they are willing to pay for an item. A simple experiment with an inexpensive coffee mug revealed that in many cases, simply touching the coffee mug for a few seconds created an attachment that led people to pay more for the item. So if what the scientists are saying is true, all we as booksellers need to do is physically/forcefully place the books in people's hands, and viola -- browsers become buyers. Buyers willing to pay cover price, no less! Even if this turns out to be b.s., it's just the sort of false hope that makes our war against seem a li'l less hopeless. Thank you, science. I forgive you for creating cosmetic Botox injections.