Competition Authority critical to Book Deal

Literary Literature Book Deal Book Store readingWoman reading book in a book store. Photo: Maia Habegger / Unsplash.

Norwegian Competition Authority critical to Book Deal

The proposal for a fixed price Book Deal for the Norwegian book market means that first issues will be expensive for a longer period than they currently are. The customers are left with the short end of the stick, the Norwegian Competition Authority believes.

This is revealed by the consultancy response of the to Competition Authority to the Norwegian Government’s proposal for a revised Book Deal.

The Competition Authority is critical of the fact that the Book Deal requires all members of the Publisher Association and the Bookshop Association to follow a specific price model that is particularly poorly adapted to the digital reality.

“The exception from the Competition Act spells bad news for consumers, and the Book Deal should, therefore, be abolished, Director of the Authority, Lars Sørgard,” writes in a comment.

The current fixed price period means that books are expensive for nine months on average, while the proposal for the Book Deal provides a fixed price period of twelve months for first issues. The Competition Authority believes that the agreement already is stacked against the Norwegian book buyers. It will, therefore, go from bad to worse if the Government trudges on.

Wrong direction

“The proposal goes in the wrong direction. The proposed changes provide a longer fixed price period for the first edition of a book. This means that they become expensive for an even longer period of time than is the case today,” Sørgard explains.

The Authority, additionally, believes that the fixed price model for books is not adapted to digital reality by preventing Norwegian books on streaming services. This because the current model for the Book Deal is solely built around earnings on hardcopy.

The Norwegian Competition Authority agrees to that authors need support to ensure the publication of Norwegian literature, but believes that this can be achieved more accurately through direct subsidy of authors instead.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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