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In the News

Should there be a new minimum price for books?

Geoff Riley

31st July 2017

Twenty years on from the end of the Net Book Agreement, author Phillip Pulman has argued that a minimum price for books is justified to help secure the future for smaller independent book-sellers.

This quote certainly packs a punch!

"There is an insane, inhumane and perverted belief that the market knows best, and that it is something natural, like gravity, which we can do nothing to alter. But of course we can alter the way the market works. It’s a human construction. I was always strongly in favour of the Net Book Agreement, and I still am."

Bigger retailers such as Waterstones, Amazon, W H Smith, Tesco and Foyles offer big discounts especially on newly-published hardbacks. Smaller stores are facing rising costs including increased business rates. 

Pullman calls independent book shops "Lantern Bearers of Civilisation". Whilst many cannot compete purely on price, lots of smaller shops are thriving using savvy non-price tactics. The data on independent bookstores in the USA looks encouraging. Can the same happen in the UK?

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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