From Publishing Perspectives:
The Polish Chamber of Books has drafted a bill which is set to introduce fixed prices for new book releases for 18 months after publication, with an exemption for ebooks (which have the higher VAT rate of 23%, as opposed to the 5% levied on print books). The chamber sees the proposed regulations as a remedy to the continuing decline of book sales in Poland. But some local observers accuse the chamber of hampering competition and fostering protectionism in the publishing market.
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The data released by the PIK draws a gloomy picture of the state of the country’s publishing industry. Between 2010 and 2012, books sales decreased from 139.2 million copies to 107.9 million. Last year, only 11.1% of Poles read more than 7 books, compared with 11.6% two years later. An average Pole spent only about 60 zloty (US$19.2) on books in 2012.
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The bill is designed to bring significant change to the market. According to the PIK, it will introduce “fixed prices for new releases” and enable publishers to “create mechanisms of internal subsidies” which will allow [them] to finance non-commercial releases with profits generated by bestsellers.
The chamber believes that the bill, based on France’s Lang law from 1981 which was last revised in 2008, will “increase the level of readership through ensuring popular access to books throughout the country and making the publishing offer more diversified.”
“Owing to this, readers will have easy access to non-commercial literature, bookstores will be able to offer a wider range of books,” the PIK said in a statement. “The number of published titles will increase, and the interest in local literature will also become stronger.”
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[T]he industry association says that various European countries have introduced similar regulations to those which are now proposed by the PIK. These, in addition to France, include Germany, Austria, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Croatia, the PIK said.
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“We should think about [using] models which proved their efficiency in other countries, so that a book which is about to enter the market … had a fixed price adequate to its publishing cost for a limited period of time,” Zdrojewski said at the 17th Krakow Book Fair in late October.
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives and thanks to Eric for the tip.
Without wanting to brag, Passive Guy has been capitalist for longer than modern Poland has.
If he wanted to sell more books, PG would get rid of the VAT taxes and make sure there were no barriers to Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, etc., selling books in Poland at whatever price they wanted to charge.
Non-commercial books are called that because not very many people buy them. A physical bookstore with an increased number of books most people won’t buy is not a very good way to sell more books.
Ebook bestsellers for 3 zloty would work much better.