Wednesday, October 24, 2007

goodbye to all that?

German law forbids the discounting of books except when damaged or in other special circumstances - a book must be sold at the same price whether by a chain store, a small independent bookstore or Amazon. This has been credited with the strength of independent publishers and booksellers in Germany but is now seen as under threat, since a Competition Commission in Switzerland has recently decided to permit the discounting of German books. The full story in today's New York Times, here.

3 comments:

TAR ART RAT said...

I have been thinking about this discount verbot thing... and can'tdecide whether it is good, evil, fascist or noble- however, I have seen a few (renegade?) discount racks here and there around town with books which are obvously not damaged...

sd said...

discount makes perfect sense in this bottom-line economy. but it will ruin the indie stores, no doubt. i used to work at a prominent indie bookstore in los angeles as its buyer (where i handsold a LOT of helen's books to unsuspecting trophy housewives - sorry helen!) and customer loyalty erodes once the price differential becomes too great to ignore. i'm praying for the german indie bookstores right now.

Ithaca said...

tar art rat, haven't seen these places but it looks as though Switzerland will soon be full of them

sd, THANK you for inveigling the book-buying public into taking The Last Samurai into the home. I'm sorry to hear that deep discounts made life so hard for independent bookstores. I wonder whether this is partly a result of the way book sales are so dominated by new books, especially those reviewed in the press and/or singled out for publicity campaigns. I suppose those are the likeliest to be discounted by the big stores.