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Book Prices in the UK Since the End of Resale Price Maintenance


  • Francis Fishwick


After the Net Book Agreement was abandoned in 1995 and struck down by the Restrictive Practices Court in 1997, retail book prices were widely expected to fall. Despite deeper and wider retail discounts, official indices show that book prices have subsequently risen more than general inflation. This apparent anomaly may be explained by an argument accepted at the 1962 Restrictive Practices Court hearing: that price competition would lead to concentration and greater buying power in bookselling and to bigger trade discounts from publishers, who would seek to maintain profits by raising list prices. Discounts by retailers would fail to compensate. Evidence provides some support for this explanation. While more research is required to confirm this analysis, it is relevant wherever there is debate about retention of resale price maintenance for books. It also supports the argument for case by case consideration of resale price maintenance, rather than condemnation on principle

Suggested Citation

  • Francis Fishwick, 2008. "Book Prices in the UK Since the End of Resale Price Maintenance," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 359-377.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:15:y:2008:i:3:p:359-377
    DOI: 10.1080/13571510802465120

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schulz, Norbert, 2004. "Resale Price Maintenance and the Service Argument (in the Book Trade)," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 53, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuele Giovannetti & Laura Magazzini, 2013. "Resale Price Maintenance: An Empirical Analysis of UK Firms' Compliance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(11), pages 582-595, November.


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