The book trade in Switzerland was based on a fixed price policy (net book agreement). An agreement between publishers, distributors, and bookstores guaranteed consumers pay retail prices as determined by publishers. Great controversy has arisen in recent years in response to the Competition Commission’s decision to ban fixed prices on books, a decision subsequently upheld by the Federal Supreme Court. The Competition Commission came to the conclusion that there is no causal link between fixed prices on books and the variety of titles, broad range of selection, and the high density of booksellers. The Federal Council is convinced that cultural policy goals can be obtained by means of government-supported books and publishers. Currently, there are no fixed prices for books in Switzerland.
The relevant laws in the field of literature and libraries are:
- The Federal Act on National Languages and Understanding between the Linguistic Communities of 5 October 2007 (Sprachengesetz, SpG/LangA)
- The Federal Act on the Swiss National Library of 18 December 1992 (Nationalbibliotheksgesetz, NBibG/NLibA)
- The Culture Promotion Act of 11 December 2008 (Kulturförderungsgesetz, KFG/CuPA)