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The Economics of Books

  • Canoy, Marcel
  • van Ours, Jan C.
  • van der Ploeg, Frederick

This chapter analyses the tensions between books and book markets as expressions of culture and books as products in profit-making businesses and includes insights from the theory of industrial organisation. Governments intervene in the market for books through laws concerning prices of books, grants for authors and publishers, a lower value-added tax, public libraries and education in order to stimulate the diversity of books on offer, increase the density of retail outlets and promote reading. An overview of the different ways by which countries differ in terms of market structures and government policies is given. Particular attention is paid to retail price maintenance. Due to differences between European countries it is not a good idea to harmonise European book policies. Our analysis suggests that the book market seems quite able to invent solutions to specific problems of the book trade and that, apart from promoting reading, there is little need for government intervention.

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This chapter was published in:
  • V.A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (ed.), 2006. "Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture with number 1-21.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:artchp:1-21
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

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    25. Howard P. Marvel & Stephen McCafferty, 1984. "Resale Price Maintenance and Quality Certification," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 346-359, Autumn.
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    27. van Ours, J. C., 1990. "Nederlandse boekenmarkt tussen stabiliteit en verandering," Other publications TiSEM c1db8de9-1a14-4183-9883-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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