Competition Issues in Books and e-Books


The books and e-books markets are characterised by public intervention to pursue cultural policy objectives, such as to promote reading as well as the quality and diversity of books.

Competition authorities in some jurisdictions participate in the policy debate, for instance by advocating the revision of legislation banning parallel imports of books or of the laws regulating the price of books (the so-called fixed book price system). The latter rules, allowing publishers to set retail prices, originated from commercial agreements between publishers and booksellers, and were later enshrined in legislation in some countries. The launch of e-books has introduced new dimensions into this market and the policy debate, such as whether the various policy measures should be extended to cover e-books. In addition, on the enforcement front, the distribution of e-books has attracted antitrust scrutiny in a few jurisdictions.

In November 2021, the OECD explored the role of competition and regulation in this market, drawing on the experience of selected jurisdictions. In particular, the discussion covered the rationale and impact of the policies and regulations in the books market; the interplay between regulation and market developments, namely the launch of e-books; and whether the enforcement cases on e-books had an impact on market developments.

This page contains all related documentation.


Summary of the discussion EN | FR


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Joost Poort Bio

Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam

Imke Reimers Bio 

Associate Professor of Economics, Northeastern University, United States 


Imke Reimers on the economics of books publishing

Joost Poort on policy considerations and the rationale for books price regulation 

Related best practice roundtables


Hub-and-spoke arrangements in competition (2019)

Competition and cross-platform parity agreements (2015)


See also

OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Greece (2014)

OECD work on Culture and Local Development

Report by German Monopolies Commission: Fixed book prices in a changing market environment (2018)

OECD best practice roundtables on competition

More OECD work on competition


Related Documents