Fixed Book Price Law

Whether online, at a large bookstore chain, or the owner-managed and independent bookshop around the corner: all new German books cost the same regardless of where in Germany. It is even legally stipulated.

Fixed prices for books mandated by the law? Are they crazy?

The statute governing fixed book prices (Buchpreisbindungsgesetz)

§ 1 intention of the statute 

re-emphasizes that it is the overall intention of this law to protect books as a cultural good (taken from link).

Why that?

To secure a nationwide need (keyword everywhere) for books, cultural diversity and participation.

For instance, as the USA or GB showcase, the abolition of the fixed book price law caused the closing of many bookstores. As a result, only a few publishing houses (the big five) dominate the market and ultimately decide what is sold in bookstores and according to which price policy.

Accusations of price-fixing agreements between online traders and publishers are no exception either. (e.g. Börsenblatt)

A summary of the results of a research study regarding the fixed book price law (published 08/11/2019):


  • Price fixing preserves a vast network of independent bookstores.

  • The stationary book trade supports the demand for books: book distribution decreases significantly if bookstores close.

  • Price fixing makes books cheaper on average.

  • Price fixing promotes the sale of titles beyond the bestseller lists.

  • The stationary book trade encourages the discovery of unknown book titles and authors.

Is it appropriate?

The University of Münster says yes (Börsenblatt 03/05/2022).