The fixed book price in the European Union – Declaration of the European Writers’ Congress
On the occasion of the colloquium L’économie du livre dans l’espace européen – The Book Economy in the European Area taking place in Strasbourg on September 29 and 30, 2000 the European Writers’ Congress (EWC), the federation of 49 writers’ associations in 26 countries of Europe:
- confirms the importance of books in the development and the diversity of cultures in Europe and equally confirms the essential importance of not reducing the book to a commodity but of valuing it as a cultural asset;
- reaffirms the devastating effects of a book market without fixed prices: in Sweden with some 9 million inhabitants, without fixed book prices, there are twice as few book stores than in Norway with 4,5 million inhabitants and retail price maintenance;
- notes that after the abolition of the Net Book Agreement in 1995, books in the United Kingdom casino online uk did not become cheaper – except for best sellers – quite the contrary;
- emphasizes the recent experience in Germany and Austria, where the voluntary agreements between publishers and book sellers of both countries concerning the fixed book price had to be replaced, under the pressure of the European Commission, by national laws.
The EWC calls on the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of Ministers to guarantee equal access to books for all the readers in the European area and to protect the book against the perverting effects of competition via the devious means of e-commerce.
The EWC insists that the draft directive concerning a common system of VAT in electronic commerce provide for a reduced rate of VAT on books, whatever the carrier, the content or the dissemination, including the framework of e-commerce.
Finally, the EWC urgently asks for the draft of a Community directive on retail price maintenance for books.
September 30, 2000
Jochen Kelter Maureen Duffy
President Vice President