Fixed Book Price System

What is the Fixed Book Price System ?

The Fixed Book Price System is a system of market pricing and promotion, which consists in the fixing by the issuer of a certain retail selling price of the books that issues, which is valid against all and on which retailers are entitled to apply a limited discount limit.

When was it introduced to Greece?

This system was introduced for the first time in Greece in 1997, by Law 2557/1997, in line with the pre-existing French legislation (Lang Law).

Does it apply to other European countries?

Apart from France, it is also applicable in most European Union countries, either by law or collective agreements between publishers and bookstores.

What does it mean in practice?

«Fixed Book Price System», as established by Law 2557/97, means that any book titles issued, reissued or reprinted are sold to the public at the same retail price at all retail outlets.

This price is set by the publisher for each book it issues. Booksellers and any third-party retailer ca

Are all books in the Fixed Book Price System ?

All books in Greece, except foreign-language books of a foreign publisher, are kept for two years from their publication, re-issue or reprint.

Books are also considered cd-rom that reproduce exactly the content of books.

Why is the in the Fixed Book Price System neccessary and who benefits?

The purpose of this system is to prevent unfair competition in the making available to the public of books published in Greece. However, the provisions of the Uniform Price Act also protect the book itself as a cultural - and not just a commercial - product as well as the quality of book production and bookstores (notably the regional ones) not only as businesses but also as centers of civilization.

In particular,the Fixed Book Price System:

a) it helps to avoid the phenomenon of concentration in the retail book market. This is because it restricts the possibility of making excessive discounts on books, which only large book retailers have the opportunity to do (the large bookstores chains or the businesses that trade and most other products eg large bookshops, supermarkets, large newspapers and magazines, department stores, etc.).

This practice of large discounts leads to the traditional, smaller bookstores, which act as centers of culture especially in the region, and which, of course, do not have the financial capacity to apply such discounts, unable to compete with major retailers, and often in the "closure" of their businesses.

Thus, inevitably, someone can notice the phenomenon of concentration of large companies in the retail book market and exclusion from small bookstores.

b) promote quality editorial policy through the pluralism of titles, as it allows publishers to budget some revenue from the retail sales of the books they publish and, on that basis, take on the business risk of issuing not only bestselling books have mass sales, but also books that they consider to have cultural, social, scientific or other special interest.

c) as a means of preventing the phenomenon of unfair competition, the Fixed Price System is protective and for the benefit of the consumer-readers, since it ensures equal access for all citizens to the books, which are sold at the same price throughout the Greek territory.

The implementation of the institution in Greece

The introduction of the institution in Greece was supported by the overwhelming majority of publishers and bookstores and their professional associations. It has come across reactions from individual large booksellers and other businesses that have other products or services such as newspaper and magazine publishing organizations.

The courts often applied legislation and imposed sanctions in cases of violation.

In any case, the challenge of the institution should be deemed to have expired, since a complaint to the European Commission was dropped after accepting the explanations of the Greek Government and the relevant trial in the Council of State was abolished following the resignation of the booksellers who had brought proceedings before that court.

What are the results of the institution's implementation?

The National Book Center, after processing data from the National Statistics Service's Directorate for Economic and Short-Term Indicators (NSSG) and crossing the information from the book market, notes that the implementation of the Fixed Book Price System has meant keeping the increase of the book value, thereby indirectly confirming the reasons for the adoption of the law.

In particular, according to NSSG data monitored by the National Book Center, between 1999 and 2000, the consumer price index for the book dropped for the first time to levels lower than the average consumer price index (or price index) of all goods, remaining since lower than this, as shown in the following table.


Source: Finance and Short-Term Indicators Directorate, NSSG / Data Processing by EKEBI

The containment of book price increases resulting from law enforcement has helped to strengthen the book's competitiveness among other cultural and educational assets.

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