Thursday, October 25, 2007

Swiss are fighting german book commies !

ein hod booksGermany’s book culture is sustained by an age-old practice requiring all bookstores, including German online booksellers, to sell books at fixed prices. Save for old, used or damaged books, discounting in Germany is illegal. All books must cost the same whether they’re sold over the Internet or at Steinmetz, a shop in Offenbach that opened its doors in Goethe’s day, or at a Hugendubel or a Thalia, the two big chains.Now this system is under threat from, of all people, the Swiss. Just across the border, the Swiss lately decided to permit the discounting of German books a move that some in the book trade here fear will eventually force Germany itself to follow suit, transforming a diverse and book-rich culture into an echo of big-chain America.
If you’re a skeptic, you might associate fixed pricing with a German impulse toward conformity and an aversion to traditional haggling cultures. A German will stare blankly at you if you even suggest such a thought. Instead they will stress the special place books have in society. (MORE from NYtimes)

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