Horses for courses: Why Europe should not harmonise its book policies

Marja Appelman, Marcel Canoy

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


European countries have similar cultural goals for books. The most common are the promotion of reading and the production of (literary) books (of a diverse nature). The extent to which the free market can achieve the cultural goals is uncertain and differs across countries. In cases where the free market does not achieve the goals or politicians do not want to accept uncertainty, a policy instrument is needed. Commonly used instruments in Europe include the fixed book price, subsidies, libraries, and lower VAT. We demonstrate that differences among European countries matter and that harmonisation of European book policies is not a good idea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-600
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Book market
  • Cultural policy
  • Fixed book price
  • Resale price maintenance


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