Prisregulering som kulturpolitisk virkemiddelEuropean book policy: Fixed prices as a cultural policy tool
Book laws are gaining momentum as a cultural policy tool in Europe. The EU has for some time contested price regulations of the national book industries in the form of fixed book prices as exemptions from free competition. However, fixed price regulations in the form of a book law, are accepted, as it is a cultural policy law, and therefore a national concern. A book law is intended to preserve diversity of publications and distributions outlets, in the form of book shops, throughout the country. In addition, it is meant to preserve book production in national languages. This article presents the European countries that have a book law and fixed prices on books, and contrasts these with the Western European countries that have a free price on books, to see which regulations best protect cultural policy values. The comparison shows that free prices on books lead to increased sales of fewer titles and lower prices on selected best sellers, while fixed prices help support more titles in the market, a lower average price for all books, and maintain a magnitude of bookshops throughout the country. Measured by cultural policy indicators, our study supports the claim that book laws protect cultural policy values to a higher degree than free competition in the book industry.
Key words: Cultural policy, literature policy, competition policy, book law, fixed book prices, EU, book industry
Nøkkelord: Kulturpolitikk, litteraturpolitikk, konkurransepolitikk, boklov, frie bokpriser, EU, bokbransje