Switzerland looking at fixed book prices

switzerland.jpgSwitzerland is looking at reinstating its fixed book price law. This law, like those in France, Germany and Italy, restricts the sale of books below the publisher’s recommended price. The rationale is to support independent booksellers, small publishers and chains that have to compete with Amazon.

There is currently some dispute as to whether the new law should apply to online book retailers. More info here.

3 Comments on Switzerland looking at fixed book prices

  1. Measures like this may be positioned as pro-competitive but they generally support incumbents. After all, one way to break into a new market is to offer price reductions. (Which is why Amazon chose this route when they introduced the Kindle and the $9.99 best-seller).

    Rob Preece
    Publisher

  2. I agree with Rob above.
    I don’t understand why, in this modern day and age, governments still offer special protection to such and such industry. It is well understood that such rules help Paul but hurt Peter.

  3. Richard Askenase // February 18, 2010 at 8:00 am //

    We’ve seen this in Germany and Australia, where book selling is under strict state controls. I understand it as an attempt to “preserve their culture” (we see that with the French a lot), but in the end it doesn’t really work. Australia is now dealing with this (I think you posted on this blog about it) in an upcoming national conference, and New Zealand has been overwhelmed by Amazon as well.

    But, after a few years of transition and a continuing explosion in ebooks, this will fade. If nothing else, piracy will force it to end. But, I expect the government to see the error of its ways and, perhaps, just tax the sales.

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