For those who don`t know, the Net Book Agreement (NBA) was a cozy agreement put in place in 1899 to allow publishers to set the selling price of books. The big houses agreed that they would collectively refuse to stock someone who was trying to give discounts, not that they had to act very often because most retailers thought the system was also working in their best interest. The Cartel Court investigated the NBA in 1962, but said it was certainly in the public interest, as it allowed publishers to subsidize larger — or potentially more important — works to authors. Since the disappearance of the NBA, 500 independent bookstores have closed their doors. The borders turned to our main roads and then stopped trading. Dillons is a distant (bad) memory. The market has shrunk. The durability of most novels is much shorter, as are the careers of most writers. Statistics tell us that more books are being published – but most of them are published themselves or sold by tiny companies that have virtually no marketing boost. The real story of the sector is the shortening of lists, mergers, collapses, takeovers, layoffs and losses on a scale never seen before. The NBA – a short history Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore – The Bookseller, February 20, 2009, www.thebookseller.com • Although some titles are cheaper, the price of most books would be higher Meanwhile, independent bookseller Peter Donaldson of Red Lion Books also intervened in the debate. He believes it would not be possible to reintroduce the NBA after consumers have gotten used to half-price books for 20 years, but believes that the very low discounts are not sustainable.
Instead, he proposes to delete the r.r.p on the back of the titles. In a large blog published today on her website, the owner of Kenilworth Books continued the debate about reintroducing the NBA in order to protect independent booksellers from destructive discounts launched in a previous article this month. In his latest article, Rosewell examines how the new form of a Net Book Agreement would exist in today`s publishing and bookstore landscape. It offers the option of 30 days or an agreement for all suppliers to be offered the same discount on new books for a set period of time after publication. «Amazon is demanding a 60 percent discount for publishers on many titles, which reduces smaller publishers to selling their books in this way,» she says. «I would very much like this principle to be respected at the heart of the old NBA: that competition is not aimed at expelling others from the market, but creativity and imagination to introduce new authors to the public.• The actions of bookstores would be less extensive and less varied in favor of maintaining the agreement, Otherwise, supermarkets would sell large quantities of a limited choice of bestsellers (cheaper without B. the NBA), would reduce the profits of bookstores and force them to reduce their reach. There would be fewer titles published, small booksellers would not be able to compete and perish in discount wars, print runs would be shorter, and the price of less popular books would rise to compensate for lower bestseller gains. Maher, meanwhile, had claimed that independent booksellers would remain «in a good position.»