German(y) for the bookish traveller 1

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Book prices in Germany

I posted this previously in my guest post at Leeswammes Blog in her Book bloggers abroad series. But since it fits the topic I thought it’s a good start.

In Germany as far as the price of books is concerned it doesn’t matter where you buy your books. They are generally not that expensive (ca. 8-12 EUR for a paperback) and over here we have something called book price control (I suppose this is the same as or similar to agency pricing).  The price of a book has to be fixed by the publishing house and the book dealers are obliged to sell the books at that price. So whether you buy a bestseller, a non-fiction book or a classic at a book shop, a department store or a supermarket, it always costs the same. The only exceptions to this law are faulty books which have to be labelled as such, used books that have been sold once already at the fixed price or books that have been on the market longer than 18 months and for which the publisher has lifted that fixed price. You won’t find a book published in Germany cheaper online than in your local bookstore. For imported books, which is the majority of what I buy, this control is not applicable, so those books are rather inexpensive. Often I get an imported English book cheaper than the German version.

OK, this was just some general information about the book prices in Germany. Check back soon for another German(y) for bookish travellers post

8 Comments Write a comment

  1. Wallace, no idea about either. But the fact that the book price is fixed improves the competitive spirit in regards to customer service, that is for certain.
    As far as I know there have been initiatives to abolish this pricing policy but until now without any luck.


  2. But where is my German lesson?!!! *sulks* Carin die Verdammt — That was my last one…must make oneself a girl when calling yourself, Carin the Damned.

    You’ve told me that before I’m pretty sure about the price control. Can you buy like a discount membership or anything like that? Barnes and Noble does that…where you pay so much a year to get a 10% discount or something. Borders has those little frequent buyer cards that after so many purchases you get a coupon. Is that illegal in Germany? Are there ways to circumvent the price control?


  3. Is this a new series of posts you’re starting, Rikki? It’s a great idea!

    We in the Netherlands don’t seem to have fixed book prices anymore, there is some lee-way at least. The books range from €7.50 to €22.50 for a novel. We don’t have many hardbacks, but most books are published in what I call softback – it’s the size of a hardback and the paper quality is good. Only very popular books are also published in paperback some time later.
    Leeswammes (Judith)’s last post ..Friday Blog Hop


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  5. Judith, I blogged about it last week. I think you were on holidays at the time. Yes, a new (ir-)regular feature. Carin so asked for German lessons that I decided to start lessons on German(y) that somehow relate to books. That way I can write about anything I want, :).
    Softbacks? That’s interesting. We have hardbacks and paperbacks the quality of which is more like trade paperbacks. So you don’t have any smaller sized paperbacks at all? I kind of like that format.

    Carin, sorry, language will follow, no worries. You only got one recently, now you know that you are a girl after all, lol.
    I know about those discount cards from the US, I once had one when I was staying there, very convenient. No, we don’t have those. Nor sure whether they are illegal, but since they don’t offer them they might be.
    The only way to circumvent it is the above three reasons I mentioned in the post. At least as far as I know.


    • I’ll check your blog for the post from last week. Yes, I didn’t quite catch all the blog posts last week.

      I’m not sure what trade paperbacks are like, but yes, we DO have the small paperbacks and the “softbacks”, but primarily the softbacks.
      Leeswammes (Judith)’s last post ..Friday Blog Hop


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