Fixed Price Book Laws

Laws in some European countries, most notably Germany, require all bookstores, including online sellers, to sell books at fixed prices. Supporters say outlawing discounts protects independent bookstores and small publishers, which in turn ensures that a broader variety of books are available and that there is less focus on best-sellers. That seems to be the case in Germany, where there are 14,000 book publishers, over 4,000 bookstores, and twice as many titles per capita published each year as in the United States. Moreover, with greater competition and a more stable market, book prices in Germany have actually fallen. France has a similar regulation, known as the Lang Law, which was adopted in 1981 and prohibits discounts of more than 5 percent on books. has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to have the law overturned.


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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.