Annual Thank You Sale January 6th to 9th

New Year's resolution to read more books? Looking to spend a holiday bonus?

 It's that time of year again! Time for the our annual Thank You Sale, where you'll find all books in stock 25% off (excluding special orders and magazines) plus special markdown tables with books 40% off!

These prices are for in-store only, so be sure to come in today to take advantage of this great sale. Sale runs from Thursday, January 6th, to Sunday, January 9th so don't miss out!

Signed First Edition copies of Simon Winchester's new book Atlantic now Available!

For a limited time Prince Books has signed first-edition copies of acclaimed author Simon Winchester’s newest book, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories.


About the Book: Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, the New York Times bestselling author of Krakatoa tells the breathtaking saga of the magnificent Atlantic Ocean, setting it against the backdrop of mankind's intellectual evolution.

Until a thousand years ago, no humans ventured into the Atlantic or imagined traversing its vast infinity. But once the first daring mariners successfully navigated to far shores--whether it was the Vikings, the Irish, the Chinese, Christopher Columbus in the north, or the Portuguese and the Spanish in the south--the Atlantic evolved in the world's growing consciousness of itself as an enclosed body of water bounded by the Americas to the West, and by Europe and Africa to the East. Atlantic is a biography of this immense space, of a sea which has defined and determined so much about the lives of the millions who live beside or near its tens of thousands of miles of coast.

The Atlantic has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists and warriors, and it continues to affect our character, attitudes, and dreams. Poets to potentates, seers to sailors, fishermen to foresters--all have a relationship with this great body of blue-green sea and regard her as friend or foe, adversary or ally, depending on circumstance or fortune. Simon Winchester chronicles that relationship, making the Atlantic come vividly alive. Spanning from the earth's geological origins to the age of exploration, World War II battles to modern pollution, his narrative is epic and awe-inspiring.

About the Author: Simon Winchester's many books include The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, Krakatoa, and A Crack in the Edge of the World. Each of these has been a New York Times bestseller and has appeared on numerous best and notable lists. Mr. Winchester was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by HM The Queen in 2006. He lives in western Massachusetts.


Walmart,, Prince Books, and You

Interested in learning more about why it's important to patronize Prince Books and your other favorite independent bookstores? Prince's Holly Wielkoszewski recently contributed an article to AltDaily, a Hampton Roads culture and opinion blog. 

An excerpt:

You read for many reasons: to learn, to laugh, to escape, to relax.
And you, the reader, are supported in your reading choices by an
extensive industry, ranging from the writer scribbling in her favorite
coffeeshop, to the publisher taking a chance on an unknown, through
numerous supplier steps, and finally to you via your favorite bookstore.

How would it impact you if a link in this chain were to break?

Recently, one of the links has begun to crumble. In October, and Walmart began a so-called “price war,” selling 10 titles
by perennial bestsellers such as Stephen King and Michael Crichton for
under $10. Why is this a problem, you might ask? If you can put your
hands on King’s Under the Dome at under a penny a page, isn’t that a win?

Well in the short run, and for your pocketbook, the answer is likely
yes. But in the long term, this type of devaluation of books, and the
creative process that inspires them, threatens to undermine the variety
of the industry, and ultimately, the books that you can choose to read.

Click here to read the full article!

Shop Local this Season!

As you enter into the holiday crunch, take a moment to consider your local, independent businesses. Looking for ideas? Veer Magazine just published a guide to shopping locally this season. You can pick up your free copy here at Prince Books. 

If you are looking for that perfect book, please come in and let our staff recommend something for you! Or you can purchase a Prince Books gift card, always a great gift idea!


New Website Features!

We hope you are enjoying our new website content! Please take a moment to explore the new features available to you via Prince Books online. We value your feedback and look forward to serving you through both online and instore mediums.

  • E-Book Search Features: We are now able to sell you your favorite titles in digital formats. Learn a bit more about the types of digital readers we support in our right sidebar, and take a moment to search for your favorite title in digital format. E-books are convenient, less expensive, and an excellent way to augment your reading experience with the help of your favorite electronics. Questions? Call or email us for assistance.
  • In-store and Community Events. Stay plugged-in to the local literary scene with our website's up-to-date listing of store events, from author signings to poetry readings, as well as local events that may interest our customers. Let us be your resource!
  • Staff Recommendations and IndieBound selections. Click on Staff Picks to see what our staff is reading lately. Browse the ABC Best Books for Children or the IndieBound Next List to see what might be your next favorite book!
  • Follow our Facebook page to stay up-to-date on our latest developments, special sales, and events.
  • Coming soon: Newsletter Archives, additional e-book information, and updated Staff Picks!

We hope to continue to create a helpful tool for you, and look forward to seeing you in our store again soon!

ABA requests Department of Justice Investigation

We've included below the text of the letter sent to the DOJ requesting an investigation. Please support your local independent store, and if you feel so inclined, contact your local and national government representatives asking them to support the ABA request!  You can also read more at the ABA website, where this letter was originally posted.

 -Prince Books

October 22, 2009

The Board of Directors of the American Booksellers Association today sent the following letter to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting that it investigate practices by, Wal-Mart, and Target that it believes constitute illegal predatory pricing that is damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers.


October 22, 2009

The Honorable Christine Varney
Assistant Attorney General
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 3109
Washington, DC 20530

Molly Boast, Esquire
Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Matters
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 3210
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Ms. Varney and Ms. Boast,

We are writing on behalf of the American Booksellers Association, a 109-year-old trade organization representing the nation's locally owned, independent booksellers. A core part of our mission is devoted to making books as widely available to American consumers as possible. We ask that the Department of Justice investigate practices by, Wal-Mart, and Target that we believe constitute illegal predatory pricing that is damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers. We are requesting a meeting with you to discuss this urgent issue at your earliest possible opportunity.

As reported in the consumer and trade press this past week,,, and have engaged in a price war in the pre-sale of new hardcover bestsellers, including books from John Grisham, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Sarah Palin, and James Patterson. These books typically retail for between $25 and $35. As of writing of this letter, all three competitors are selling these and other titles for between $8.98 and $9.00.

Publishers sell these books to retailers at 45% - 50% off the suggested list price. For example, a $35 book, such as Mr. King's Under the Dome, costs a retailer $17.50 or more. News reports suggest that publishers are not offering special terms to these big box retailers, and that the retailers are, in fact, taking orders for these books at prices far below cost. (In the case of Mr. King's book, these retailers are losing as much as $8.50 on each unit sold.) We believe that, Wal-Mart, and Target are using these predatory pricing practices to attempt to win control of the market for hardcover bestsellers.

It's important to note that the book industry is unlike other retail sectors. Clothing, jewelry, appliances, and other commercial goods are typically sold at a net price, leaving the seller free to determine the retail price and the margin these products will earn. Because publishers print list prices indelibly on jacket covers, and because books are sold at a discount off that retail price, there is a ceiling on the amount of margin a book retailer can earn.

The suggested list price set by the publisher reflects manufacturing costs -- acquisition, editing, marketing, printing, binding, shipping, etc. -- which vary significantly from book to book. By selling each of these titles below the cost these retailers pay to the publishers, and at the same price as each other, and at the same price as all other titles in these pricing schemes,, Wal-Mart, and Target are devaluing the very concept of the book. Authors and publishers, and ultimately consumers, stand to lose a great deal if this practice continues and/or grows.

What's so troubling in the current situation is that none of the companies involved are engaged primarily in the sale of books. They're using our most important products -- mega bestsellers, which, ironically, are the most expensive books for publishers to bring to market -- as a loss leader to attract customers to buy other, more profitable merchandise. The entire book industry is in danger of becoming collateral damage in this war.

It's also important to note that this episode was precipitated by below-cost pricing of digital editions of new hardcover books by, many of those titles retailing for $9.99, and released simultaneously with the much higher-priced print editions. We believe the loss-leader pricing of digital content also bears scrutiny.

While on the surface it may seem that these lower prices will encourage more reading and a greater sharing of ideas in the culture, the reality is quite the opposite. Consider this quote from Mr. Grisham's agent, David Gernert, that appeared in the New York Times:

"If readers come to believe that the value of a new book is $10, publishing as we know it is over. If you can buy Stephen King's new novel or John Grisham's 'Ford County' for $10, why would you buy a brilliant first novel for $25? I think we underestimate the effect to which extremely discounted best sellers take the consumer's attention away from emerging writers."

For our members -- locally owned, independent bookstores -- the effect will be devastating. There is simply no way for ABA members to compete. The net result will be the closing of many independent bookstores, and a concentration of power in the book industry in very few hands. Bill Petrocelli, owner of Book Passage in Corte Madera, California, an ABA member, was also quoted in the New York Times:

"You have a choke point where millions of writers are trying to reach millions of readers. But if it all has to go through a narrow funnel where there are only four or five buyers deciding what's going to get published, the business is in trouble."

We would find these practices questionable were they taking place in the market for widgets. That they are taking place in the market for books is catastrophic. If left unchecked, these predatory pricing policies will devastate not only the book industry, but our collective ability to maintain a society where the widest range of ideas are always made available to the public, and will allow the few remaining mega booksellers to raise prices to consumers unchecked.

We urge that the DOJ investigate and request an opportunity to come to Washington to discuss this at your earliest convenience.


ABA Board of Directors:

Michael Tucker, President (Books Inc.--San Francisco, CA)
Becky Anderson, Vice President (Anderson's Bookshops--Naperville, IL)
Steve Bercu (BookPeople--Austin, TX)
Betsy Burton (The King's English Bookshop--Salt Lake City, UT)
Tom Campbell (The Regulator Bookshop--Durham, NC)
Dan Chartrand (Water Street Bookstore--Exeter, NH)
Cathy Langer (Tattered Cover Book Store--Denver, CO)
Beth Puffer (Bank Street Bookstore--New York, NY)
Ken White (SFSU Bookstore--San Francisco, CA)

Oren Teicher, CEO, American Booksellers Association
Len Vlahos, COO, American Booksellers Association
Owen M. Kendler, Esquire, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Celebrate fREADom with Banned Books Week!

September 26-October 3 is Banned Books Week! Please join us in celebrating the freedom to read.

Did you know that each year, thousands of titles are still challenged and banned in classrooms and libraries across the country? Some of the most frequently challenged books are also those we recognize as classics or critical classroom reads, such as:

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
  • Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  • Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  • The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

Interested in learning more about Banned Books Week? Visit the American Library Association's website or come by our store to see a display of many other frequently challenged books! Buy one for yourself today!


Fall Festival of Books


This fall brings with it a virtual feast of new books, many from favorite authors and returning bestsellers.

Be sure to stop by to purchase or pre-order your copy of one of these exciting titles!

Releasing in September:

True Compass, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's memoir, The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown, A Gate at the Stairs, Lorrie Moore, Hardball, Sara Paretsky, Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom, An Echo in the Bone, Diana Gabaldon, and Her Fearful Symmetry,  Audrey Niffenegger.

Releasing in October, November, and December:

Ford County, John Grisham, Under the Dome, Stephen King, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger,  What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, Malcolm Gladwell, and Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro.

Many more exciting titles will be coming our way this fall. Check back frequently for updates on new releases and books of interest!



Welcome to Prince Books

Welcome to the Prince Books website!

Located in downtown Norfolk since 1982, Prince Books is situated one block from the Intracoastal Waterway. Our shelves have books for all interests and ages. Our regional interest section includes Chesapeake Bay and Outer Banks titles. Most orders arrive in a few days. Our cafe, The Lizard, offers sandwiches, salads, soup, coffee and drinks.


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