Israel’s Price Controls on New Books Come Home to Roost

Three years ago, I wrote this, when some idiotic law was passed to force up the price of books so authors would make more money. Nobody likes the fact that when prices go up, demand goes down:

According to the bill, stores will not be allowed to discount the price of a book for 18 months following its publication. Therefore, the logic goes, people will be forced to buy the book at a higher price, thereby “protecting the author’s income”.

Well, this is genius. That should work well.

But there’s another possibility, with a likelihood of something along the lines of absolutely certain: Sales of new books will plummet at Tzomet Sfarim and Steimatzky when consumers can no longer find good deals on them. Authors’ royalties will fall through the floor. Tzomet Sfarim and Steimatzky’s sales will plunge in general,  chains will go out of business, unemployment will go up, and people will cry to the government to bail out the bookstores, or better yet, pass a national “support Israeli literature tax” to give the industry a boost so authors don’t starve because nobody is buying their books.

It took a year since the law took effect, but now the author lobby is pissed for shooting itself in groin. Sales of new books have plummeted. What a surprise. 

מה נשתנה? שנה לחוק הספרים

שנה עברה מאז נכנס לתוקפו חוק הספרים השנוי במחלוקת. התוצאה בינתיים היא ירידה במכירות, ברווחים ובמספר הספרים שיצאו לאור. החוק שרבים קיוו כי בזכותו ייחלץ הענף מהמשבר, לא מספק את התוצאות הרצויות

What happened? One Year After The Book Law

One year since the controversial Book Law came into effect, the results are a fall in sales, profits, and the number of books published. The law that many thought would save the industry from crisis has not delivered the desired results.

And now publishers are are not making money, so they’re not publishing new authors at all, because new authors are subject to price controls. It’s not going to be easy getting this piece of crap repealed.

Just like the minimum wage hurts the weakest workers, minimum book prices slaughter the weakest authors.

Amazing. The Law of Supply and Demand still works, even after these politicians passed laws to override it. I can’t believe it. Who can? Surely not Limor Livnat or Nitzan Horowitz.

Livnat has since retired from a life of telling people what to do and dictating how much books she didn’t write, doesn’t publish, and isn’t trying to sell should cost people, but “continues to work on projects” for the betterment of whatever. She should really stop doing anything, just stand still, don’t move, and don’t talk to anybody. Politicians should not try to better anything.

Don’t breathe too hard either.



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