French trade calls for fixed prices for e-books

<p>The presidents of the French publishers, booksellers and cultural product distributors associations have written to Culture Minister Fr&eacute;d&eacute;ric Mitterrand urging the government to introduce a parliamentary bill to extend fixed book pricing to e-books.</p><p>Print book prices are already fixed under the Lang Law. The letter, signed by Serge Eyrolles for the Syndicat National de l&rsquo;Edition (SNE), Beno&icirc;t Bougerol for the Syndicat de la Librairie Fran&ccedil;aise (SLF) and Laurent Fiscal for the Syndicat des Distributeurs de Loisirs Culturels (SDLC), said that a new law should cover e-books where the content is identical to their print version.</p><p>Other e-books would be covered by an agency arrangement, the letter added.</p><p>Last January, the French Competition Authority recommended waiting a year or two before legislating on the nascent e-book market so as not to hamper its development. But a report, presented to Mitterrand at the beginning of the year and endorsed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said that a fixed price law was urgent for e-books. </p><p>Officials in the ministry&rsquo;s new media and cultural industries division have also confirmed that the fixed price issue was urgent, the associations&rsquo; letter added.</p>