Court bans Internet cut-price book sale

15th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 June 2004, FRANKFURT - A court Tuesday banned a journalist from selling his review copies of books online, saying the discounts breached German price-fixing arrangements that forbid price competition.

15 June 2004

FRANKFURT - A court Tuesday banned a journalist from selling his review copies of books online, saying the discounts breached German price-fixing arrangements that forbid price competition.

A bookseller had sued for a court order after the Berlin journalist posted 48 books on the Ebay auction site in a space of six weeks. The journalist said at trial he had been sent the books free by various publishers and he was only earning a little on the side.

But court said that as a "power seller", he was on a par with a professional bookseller, and bound by the book-price rules.

Confirming the ban on appeal, the state superior court in Frankfurt said Tuesday the ban did not apply to used books, or the occasional sale of an unwanted gift book.

Decades-old price-fixing arrangements for books have collapsed in recent years in the United States and Britain, but remain in force in Germany after obtaining European Union dispensation.

There has been little public discussion of the rules. The book trade argues that economically marginal small publishing houses and bookshops would collapse without protection, and authors fear that competition would make it harder to publish small-print-run books.

DPA

Subject: German news

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