Booklovers are always on the hunt for good books, often thinking they are priced differently depending on where they buy them. However, this isn’t always the case: it varies greatly from one country to another. To understand this, in today’s EIBF Insights edition, we will look into a key feature of the book world: fixed and free book pricing. 

It is not well known to customers that, depending on which country a book is sold in, the pricing is either fixed or set freely. For instance, in countries like France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands, the pricing of a book is fixed by law, meaning that all retailers must offer the same titles at the identical pre-set price, with the law foreseeing for a maximum discount rate, varying according to the country.

Meanwhile, in other countries like Norway and Hungary, the price is fixed by a trade agreement. Booksellers in these countries are, however, allowed to apply discounts to varying degrees in line with national regulations.
Through this system, booksellers compete on the added value they provide with their services, advice and offer, allowing some of them to specialise on a given type of books, such as comics.
On the other hand, in countries such as Sweden, Finland, Latvia, the UK, and the US, books are priced freely according to their market value. This creates a competitive and resilient book sector where bookshops are often spacious, versatile and resourceful.
Although there are different advantages to both book pricing systems, all booksellers, regardless of the pricing regime, enjoy a sense of community because they share the same passion for what they do.
If you wish to know more about why and how books are priced differently across Europe, keep an eye on our website, as explanatory infographics will soon be published.