February 17, 2010

Switzerland considers fixed book prices


Switzerland’s Council of States is considering reinstating its fixed price law for bookselling. The law would make Switzerland like many European countries—such as France, Germany and Italy—which already have the laws restricting sales of books below the publishers’ recommended price, and have found as a result that more independent booksellers and chains can survive competition from Amazon. This, in turn, supports a greater variety of publishers, particularly small publishers, which in turn promotes a greater variety of writers.

According to a report by Siobhan O’Leary for Publishing Perspectives, “the law could be adopted as early as March 19th,” although one matter has proven contentious: “the question of whether online book retailers should be answerable to the fixed book price law. The National Council has battled to exclude them from the law but the SBVV has spoken out vehemently against this idea.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives