Slightly more disturbing, we find the divergent recent profit experiences of B&N and Borders. (Stories on this are all over the 'net, so I won't provide specific linksall specific links would do is give you one spin.) B&N had a good quarter, thanks to a certain British teenaged wizard; Borders had a poor one, in some senses, despite said wizard. At least in this cowtown (and in terms of bookstores, that's the right term for Chambanana: the three bookstores near the U of I are pathetic, and there are only three other general stores in townB&N, Borders, and Pages), it was pretty easy to see why: The Potter celebrations at Borders were pathetic and the stock was in poor condition, whereas the Potter celebrations at B&N were somewhat less pathetic and the stock was in fair to good condition. (I didn't make it down to Pages on release day.) Further, Borders did a very poor job of putting Harry with other books to read "next"; at least at B&N there were some non-Potter alternatives nearby.
Speaking of bookstores and sales, though, consider college textbooks. Or don't; it's pretty frightening. (n.b. I worked at a publisher with an extensive textbook line, and edited several myself.) In any event, one thing that real people (that is, not publicity flacks) canor at least shouldagree upon is that textbook prices have risen at a rate greatly exceeding the rate of inflation over the last couple of decades. The GAO recently studied this matter, in its usual mathematically bound manner. There's a short summary, including some industry spin, at The Book Standard; or, if you're a glutton for punishment, you can download the whole report (PDF, 8.1mb).