SURVEY: Do You Favor or Oppose Fixed Book Price Laws?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Would a hybrid system, one that protects the price for a limited period after publication, be most preferable?

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief

EuroIn today’s feature story about book publishing in Israel, Ziv Lewis notes that the lack of a fixed price law has led to cutthroat price competition between the nation’s two leading bookstore chains. The result has been that “the majority of books in recent years [are] being sold at well over 50% discount, and often as high as 80%.”

The majority of nations in Western Europe — save for the UK and Ireland — maintain fixed price laws. Elsewhere, it varies. Argentina has fixed price laws, while neighboring Brazil, does not. Japan and Korea do, but China does not. Earlier this year, Swiss voters opted not to reinstate fixed book prices laws. Some countries, such as Mexico, limit the period after which a book goes on sale that fixed book price laws applies.

Fixed book price laws are often seen as a hedge for publishers and booksellers, a prop to help them stay in business in a world where the prices of goods and services are driven lower and lower as more and more competition enters the market. Opponents believe that  ultimately stifles competition and raises prices. The International Publishers Association lists many of the pros and cons of the system.

Where to do stand? Are you in favor of fixed price laws, do you oppose them, or would you rather see a hybrid system that limits the period of protection?

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Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.