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Books Government

Swiss Voters Reject Book Price Controls 129

Posted by timothy
from the abbie-hoffman-smiles dept.
New submitter hinterwaeldler writes "In 2007 Switzerland abandoned book price control (which requires publishers to fix prices for their books and forbids any dealer to sell at another price), reducing prices by 30% to 50% for online buyers. The brick & mortar book stores lobbied the parliament into creating a bill to reinstate the price fixing, against which a referendum was taken by liberals and the Pirate Party, forcing a popular vote. On March 11, after an intense debate, Swiss voters decided against book price control (German-language original) with a majority of 56%."
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Swiss Voters Reject Book Price Controls

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  • Majority? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:49AM (#39339451)

    "...a majority of 56%"

    Still sounds pretty divided to me.

    Although I agree with the outcome. It is simply common sense. Prices at a brick and mortar store will be higher, you are paying for the convenience of buying something immediately. Online prices will of course be lower, they don't have the overhead, however you have to wait days, weeks for your order, as well as pay for shipping.

    So no I don't feel bad for the dinosaurs of industry that think they can legislate profits. @%$#^! you. If the market says we want more online stores than brick and mortar, then so be it. Quit saying the market is king on one hand and with the other lobbying government to legislate monopoly powers to manipulate the market!

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:55AM (#39339525)

    This is going to be one of those issues that ties many liberals in knots. On the one hand, they like the idea of fighting corporate greed and collusion price-fixing, on the other hand they're big on romanticizing local mom-and-pop stores (like many of the bookstores that will be hurt by online competition). But it seems to be the inevitable direction that things are going, not just for bookstores, but for a LOT of other types of retail store. If you're a retail bookstore these days and you can't answer the question "What do you offer that Amazon doesn't/can't?" then you're probably in trouble. And if price-fixing by government mandate is your only hope, you're in a LOT of trouble.

    I have to admit that I much prefer the online experience myself. But it's not just the price that attracts me, but the selection. I just bought a pair of great shoes in my weird size online that I could have never in a million years found locally. Similarly, I can find books through Amazon which would never be stocked in any of my local bookstores (which all seem to be 90% Harry-Potter-Twilight and 10% over-priced-coffee-shop these days). But your mileage may vary.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @12:01PM (#39339593) Homepage

    It would be nice to have a functioning democracy. I just wish we could have a referendum on protectionism here in the U.S.

    What makes you think it would help? The US would vote overwhelmingly in favor of protectionism -- it's a hugely protectionist country despite claiming to want free trade.

  • The US would vote overwhelmingly in favor of protectionism -- it's a hugely protectionist country despite claiming to want free trade.

    The US does want free trade though. It wants free trade that benefits itself exclusively. The whole goal is to be as protectionist as possible, but allow token free trade that benefits it. For example, by allowing US companies to sell to other countries freely, but putting up roadblocks when other countries try to sell their goods in the US. The US benefits because its companies are selling more, while being protected from being undercut in other markets by what that country tries to sell the US.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @12:40PM (#39340089) Homepage Journal

    What makes you think it would help? The US would vote overwhelmingly in favor of protectionism -- it's a hugely protectionist country despite claiming to want free trade.

    Well, to some extent, yes.

    However, I'd argue that we in the US would be a little happier if we could at least compete on a more equal basis against the countries that don't worry about pollution and don't have to mess with the added cost of environmental issues.....those countries that pay $1/hour....and those that manipulate their currency unfairly.

    I wouldn't mind a tax/tarrif on imported goods, that only brought the cost of the final product closer to what it costs to manufacture in the US based on those type of metrics. That way, all things being even for cost, quality would prevail in the US consumer's decision making.

    No, this couldn't be absolute...but as long as it made it reasonably close to equal.

    On the US side...I wish we'd get rid of a lot of the subsidies we have on food, like corn products.....so that natural sugar could compete more closely with HFCS....

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @01:08PM (#39340497) Journal

    For example, by allowing US companies to sell to other countries freely, but putting up roadblocks when other countries try to sell their goods in the US. The US benefits because its companies are selling more, while being protected from being undercut in other markets by what that country tries to sell the US.

    How do you reconcile this opinion with the US trade deficit [wikipedia.org]?

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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