Wednesday, October 24, 2007

German Bookselling

The Times has an article on the German bookselling market which maybe under threat because of legislation proposed in Switzerland to abolish fixed price policies on German language titles. Germany has an extraordinarily efficient system of distributing books and in many cases orders to wholesalers are delivered first thing the next day to all types of retailers. In some cases, the dispatchers have keys to the bookstore and boxes are sitting inside the front door when staff arrive. According to both publishers and retailers interviewed in this article, the net price agreement supports the diversity of publishing and of the size and location of all types of bookstores.
The fixed-price system is not unique to Germany. France had it, gave it up and reinstituted it after finding that discounting hurt small booksellers. But in the German-speaking book world, the system has long been a source of special pride until Switzerland jumped ship this spring. Despite vigorous lobbying from German and Swiss publishers and independent booksellers, the Swiss government sustained a ruling by the Swiss Competition Commission to overturn the fixed-price law and allow discounting there.
Here is the rest of the article.

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