Page turned on fixed book price
Parliament has endorsed a plan to re-introduce fixed prices for books in Switzerland, but a cross-party committee has vowed to challenge the decision in a nationwide vote.
On the final day of the three-week spring session, both chambers narrowly agreed to return to a policy which had been under pressure for nearly 20 years and which was lifted for the majority German-speaking part of the country in 2007.
Supporters on Friday said set book prices helped protect a cultural good which was crucial in a multilingual country such as Switzerland.
In theory such an agreement promotes non-price competition between booksellers in order to promote little-known or otherwise culturally interesting books rather than catering only to readers of blockbusters.
However, opponents, mainly from the rightwing Swiss People’s Party and the centre-right Radicals and the Liberal Greens, argued there was no need for the state to prop up the book trade.
A committee has announced it will force a nationwide vote on the issue, saying fixed prices were outdated and could easily be undercut by online shops.
A fixed book price agreement exists in most European countries; notable countries without an agreement are Britain and the United States.
The consequences for consumers are inconclusive: some studies suggest no fixed book price agreement results in cheaper bestsellers, but bookshops then charge more for less popular books.
In compliance with the JTI standards
More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative
Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!
If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at email@example.com.