A uniform book price?

Is a book price regulated by law a good idea? In Polish Sign Language, Natalia Sobótka explains. Subtitles machine-translated; notice an error? Let us know.

If you love to read, you will surely have noticed, That from time to time the discussion of the Law on the uniform price of books. In recent years, small local bookstores have been going out of business, while large retailers and online are growing in strength. In addition, there is a lot of talk about the low level of readership in our country. Will the rescue of small bookstores help raise the country’s reading turnaround?

With the Uniform Book Price Act?

In 2017, the parliament began discussing on the law on the uniform price of books. The premise of the law -. Fixed price for publishing novelties for one year from the date of release. Allowable discount of 5%. Exceptions are institutions educational institutions and libraries — there the discount is 25%. The law’s creators emphasize, That the book is a special cultural asset, so it should be protected from the brutal rules of the market. That way it doesn’t matter if someone is the largest distributor in the country, or a small, rural bookstore – has the same commodity price. Since the price of the goods is not the most important thing, the purchase is determined by other factors, such as the climate of a place.

Similar law in other countries

Other countries have applied such a legal solution (Denmark, Germany, Spain, Australia and others). For example, in France, thanks to this law, in 2014, independent bookstores accounted for 22% of the market. In contrast, in the UK following the abolition of such a law 1/3 of bookstores went out of business.

Pros and cons of price regulation

Supporters of the bill also claim, That with this law, the author will know the final price of the book, and so he will more accurately know his revenue, and thus the writing profession can become a stable source of livelihood.

However, the biggest downside of the bill will be the inevitable increase price of publishing novelties. Since prices will increase – readership will certainly not increase, people will take much longer to think about it, whether they definitely want to buy a particular book, spontaneous decisions will disappear purchasing decisions conditioned by discounts. Opponents rely also on economics, and therefore the principles of supply and demand and natural competition. According to them, this is enough, a special law is not needed. If the state tries to interfere in the invisible hand of the market, it may reflect negatively on readers. If the book is not affected by market factors market, the book will ultimately be more expensive. We will have to pay more.

Currently, the life cycle of a book is short. Just a few months after the release the book may have several discounts, Which makes for a less affluent consumer, can also relatively quickly get acquainted with the bestseller. Will the law help the diversity of publishing offerings? The votes are divided. Supporters believe that yes -. higher price means higher revenue for publishers, and therefore the means to finance debuts and specialized books. Opponents believe the opposite. The need to maintain a long fixed price will result, That publishers will steer toward well-known authors and topics, to make sure that even at a higher price, reader will decide to make a spontaneous purchase. As you can see, the votes are divided.

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