The Net Book Agreement?

Discussion in 'Tea Room (Book Chat)' started by Tregaron, 8 Sep 2017.

  1. Tregaron

    Tregaron Member

    There have been moves in the UK to bring back the Net Book Agreement. While it was a cartel, the prices did allow publishers to subsidise lesser known or mid-list authors, keeping a wider range of books on the shelves and letting writers have time to get established. I have books from the seventies with holepunched covers or black lines drawn across the pages by those booksellers who wanted to discount. It also allowed the production and subsidy of the 99p Classics ranges. It benefited booksellers as independent shops could not be priced out by chains, as they had to sell books at the same price.

    France and Germany still have these agreements.

    If they brought it back what form should it take, and how would they handle ebooks? Amazon and Google would doubtless fight it, particularly Amazon as they might not like the Createspace fees or being forced to sell without discounts.

    (If you don't know much about it, check the Guardian for a comprehensive, if slanted, article)
    Ellie Jane likes this.
  2. Ellie Jane

    Ellie Jane Member

    Thanks for bringing this up, Tregaron as I hadn't heard of it. I wonder if it would have an affect on ebook piracy. I'm not yet sure if bringing back the Net Book Agreement would be a good thing, but I would like to see Amazon with a strong competitor.
  3. Jordan

    Jordan Active Member

    What an interesting article. I knew nothing about the net book agreement.

    Ellie Jane, it would be good to see Amazon have a strong competitor, but even here in the U.S. large and small bookstores alike have disappeared and continue to do so. It's frustrating to see them disappear.
  4. Bookangel

    Bookangel Administrator Staff Member

    If it could save a few indie bookstores by putting them back on level footing with the supermarkets and big chains, I'd be for it. It would also help authors. The subsidy provided by the Net Book Agreement often went into developing new authors and establishing a mid-list over several books, while now one poor sale can get an author dropped.
  5. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    I remember when they were getting rid of it and everyone was saying how it would lead to a drop in prices everywhere and it would all be fine.

    The opposite has happened, prices went up apart from the major blockbuster publications and there is a race to the bottom to print stuff to make money.

    If there is a upswing in novels it's nothing to do with the agreement and wpuld probably be boosted even further by it.
  6. Terry

    Terry Member

    Isn't that how a lot of the older classic books used to get re-published over and over.

    I don't think it will make much of a difference really.
  7. Reader

    Reader Vile Critic

    I'm not sure how the Net Book Agreement would work with ebooks. Would they have a price set at the same level as paperbacks, or would there be a specific price per format as there used to be for hardbacks compared to paperbacks? By setting a floor, it may prevent the discounting races that can happen between merchants, where one discounts, another undercuts and the spiral reduces the book's price to free permanently without the author having the ability to do anything about it.
  8. atry

    atry Member

    Phillip Pulman waded in in the Guardian about discounting being an author's enemy. That is certainly true for indie authors, but if the NBA came back I'm not sure if it would benefit authors or only publishers.

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