In all of my years in the states, I only purchased books from independent booksellers. The big three (Walmart, Amazon and Target) are selling new, best selling author's books, for 50% or more off of the list price. This is of course below cost. I did go into the Barnes and Noble in Portland, Or (Lloyd Center) once; and the sterile atmosphere drove me out of there within minutes. Of course Powells, and Catbird Seat were my favorites.
I would implore all readers to boycott the large book store chains and support the independent shops in your local areas. When considering presents, think books, regardless of the age of the recipient.
The other side of this coin is the large publishing houses. Just getting a book to market is a marathon in itself. Here in Thailand if one gets a large book store to take a self published book they want full control for 2 years. I'm resisting that because I did all the work and I'm not about to give control of my labors to a third party. I wrote, edited (my wife actually), printed/published and now marketed my book.
I would like to see some kind of co-operative for self published authors to collaborate and help each other to get their books to market.
I've received very little feedback unfortunately, so I don't know what to think; but I'll keep plugging away and see what happens.