Fresh inquiry into book pricing agreement

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The Independent Online
THE OFFICE of Fair Trading yesterday launched a fresh inquiry into the Net Book Agreement, the practice by which publishers prevent retailers from selling books for less than their cover price, writes Michael Harrison.

The investigation follows the Government's failure to introduce legislation this session outlawing anti-competitive agreements - a move that would have led to a review of the Net Book Agreement and its possible abolition.

Sir Bryan Carsberg, the Director General of Fair Trading, said: 'It is now more than 30 years since the Restrictive Practices Court decided the agreement did not operate against the public interest. There have been many changes in the general economic structure of the country and the economics of book publishing and retailing during that time and we must now consider the possibility that the court would reach a different judgment today.'