Victoria Barrett, editor at Engine Books, a small fiction press, writes that Engine Books sells its books to retailers at such a hefty wholesale discount that if readers would instead buy the book directly from the publisher, Engine Books would earn ten times the profit for each copy sold. The company publishes only about four well-edited and carefully designed titles per year, and offers the attractive discount to retailers in the service of providing the widest possible exposure to its authors. She urges that readers consider forgoing the lower price at the megastore and order from the publisher.
In the comments that follow her article, she acknowledges that Engine Books offers the same wholesale discount to all retailers of any size, including independent booksellers. The difference between our purchase price and the wholesale price goes straight to the indie bookseller, and in that market, she is happy to share the profits.
So we can go for the deepest discount or allocate the extra cost to either the publisher or the independent bookseller we support. Our dollars definitely matter when it comes to small, artisanal presses and shops.