J.K. Rowling is back. 2 million physical copies for her adult novel, “The Casual Vacancy,” will be available September 27. According to WSJ, the number available is far lower than the 450 million physical of Harry Potter that were sold since 1997.
The e-book will sell for $17.99. Discounters are selling a hardcover version for slightly more than the suggested $35 retail price: Amazon.com (AMZN), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Barnes and Noble (BKS) are selling the book for roughly $21.
Will printed books be the salvation for traditional book-sellers? With the low number of prints in circulation, it is not likely to be the case. Electronic books are now in the mainstream, and will continue to grow rapidly as consumers buy reading devices. As for Rowling’s book, the price is higher than the average. Consumers are very savvy, and may wait first for a book review, followed by e-book sales before buying “The Casual Vacancy” on the first day.
Early reviews from the New Yorker and The Hollywood Reporter suggest that “The Casual Vacancy” will appeal to an entirely different audience than the Harry Potter crowd. Written for an adult audience, a publication by Rowling is still good for the book industry.
Business Section: 3 Investing Ideas
Investors will be interested in online retailers whose library is most broad in music, video, and books. Retailers selling e-reader devices will benefit if Rowling’s book stirs interest from readers: consumers would likely buy other books too.
1) Investors will be more interested in demand for Amazon.com’s new line of Kindle devices. Amazon’s shares peaked recently at around $260. Here is a chart of Amazon’s stock:
2) On September 26, Barnes & Noble (BKS) introduced a refreshed version of its Nook. Lighter and thinner, the 7-inch Nook HD and 9-inch HD+ is $199 and $269, respectively. The new device runs on Android 4.0. The existing Nook devices will continue to be sold. Nook Simple Touch is $99, and the version with backlighting will be $139. This release challenges the dominance of Amazon’s kindle. Nook beats the kindle by having better specifications. Pre-orders for the new Nooks started already, and will ship in late-October. They will be available in stores in early-November.
3) If Rowling’s book is a success, retailer Wal-Mart (WMT) will benefit. Wal-Mart does not carry the Kindle device.
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