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Bookshop, blockbusters and readers’ tastes: a new appraisal of the fixed book price

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  • Perona, Mathieu

Abstract

This paper models the book retail market as a dual market. Consumers choose between competitively retailed, well-identified blockbusters, and going to a monopoly bookshop to find the best match for their tastes. I show that uncertainty about the status on a given title (will it be a blockbuster or not?) places publishers in front of a trade-off between low prices (valuable if they get a blockbuster) and high prices (in the other case). The main effect of this trade-off is a decrease of wholesale prices compared with the case of full information, thus enabling the bookshop to compete with lower-priced blockbusters. Uncertainty thus increases both industry profits and consumer surplus. A fixed book price further increases consumer surplus and profits of non-blockbuster publishers, at the expense of those who get a blockbuster.

Suggested Citation

  • Perona, Mathieu, 2010. "Bookshop, blockbusters and readers’ tastes: a new appraisal of the fixed book price," MPRA Paper 40308, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Sep 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40308
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Canoy, Marcel & van Ours, Jan C. & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2006. "The Economics of Books," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier.
    2. 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.
    3. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    4. Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "The Logic of Vertical Restraints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 921-939, December.
    5. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2004. "Beyond the Dogma of the Fixed Book Price Agreement," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(1), pages 1-20, February.
    6. Perry, Martin K. & Porter, Robert H., 1990. "Can resale price maintenance and franchise fees correct sub-optimal levels of retail service?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 115-141.
    7. Deneckere, Raymond & Marvel, Howard P & Peck, James, 1997. "Demand Uncertainty and Price Maintenance: Markdowns as Destructive Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 619-641, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    books; fixed book price; book economy; resale price maintenance;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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