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Potter Sets Records for Sales, But Not for Profit

Potter Sets Records for Sales, But Not for Profit

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Gene Kennedy ReportingThe new Harry Potter book is setting records for sales, but are they generating record profits? Apparently not. Potter profits are down because many stores are embroiled in a price-war, corporations competing with each other to get the upper hand. In the middle are the mom and pop shops.

What you pay for Potter runs the gamut. You can get deep discounts from the corporate giants, but some bookstores could never charge that little or they'd struggle to stay in business. Case in point is King's English bookstore in Sugarhouse where Potter price is at 30-dollars, the list price. Still, it's sold out and the co-owner says she knows why.

Betsy Burton, Co-Owner, King's English Bookstore: "They say, 'We're here in purpose. We can get more cheaply elsewhere but we're supporting you. You introduced us to the book and we love your store.'"

King's English sold all 500 copies of the new book when it first came out. Obviously, corporate stores are moving thousands more, but are hardly seeing record profits because stores are offering 40, even 50-percent discounts.

Dan Martinez: "The big guys trying to knock out the little guy."

Good old corporate competition. Just a sample of some of Harry Potter's discount prices. At Media Play it's 19.99; Barnes and Noble, $17.99; Wal-Mart, $15.78; and at Costco it's slightly less at $15.74, half the list price.

Dan Martinez, Assistant Professor, Salt Lake: "They might do something like that on the front side to get you into the door, but the strategy is to get you to buy other products they'll make a greater profit on."

It's a philosophy also working for the mom and pops.

Dan Martinez: "Harry Potter was unlike anything that ever happened but now I think we may get the same kind of response to other books because so many kids have become enchanted."

Betsy Burton of King's English is hoping for another big response at the end of summer or early fall when the sequel to "Eragon" comes out, another up-and-coming children's favorite.

If you already bought the newest Harry Potter book, you better make sure it's not missing anything. Some copies of the book are mysteriously missing the first chapter. Now, some of the rare copies are showing up on e-bay, touted as a hot collectable.

The book's publisher, Scholastic, explained the problem, saying, when printing 10.8 eight million copies, you are bound to get a few duds. Owners of the misprints can return them for a new copy.

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