Book discount rule accused of being illegal

13:55, February 09, 2010        

An industrial regulation to safeguard the fair trade of books was slammed recently by two organizations for violating the Chinese Anti-monopoly Law.

The statement was made last Friday against the controversial "Regulation on Fair Trade in Book Business," which forbids online stores from selling books for less than 85 percent of the original price.

Co-drafted by the Beijing Consumer Association and the Consumer Rights Protection Committee under the Beijing Lawyers Association, the statement said the regulation removes the retailer's right to set independent prices. This leads to unfair competition.

The accusation came shortly after a Beijing lawyer wrote a similar point last Thursday.

Wang Yajun from the Beijing Hanxiang law firm wrote a letter to the National Reform and Development Commission to state that the regulation is flawed.

The letter said that setting prices for book retailers not only damaged their right to autonomous management, but also violated the rights of consumers who want discounts, according to Beijing Times on Saturday.

The industrial regulation, drafted by the Publisher Association of China (PAC), Books and Periodicals Distribution Association of China and China Xinhua Bookstore Association and issued on Jan 8, made it clear that online bookstores are not allowed to offer discounts of more than 15 percent on books published within one year of sale.

Huang Guorong, vice-secretary-general of PAC, defended the rule by saying that the accusation was unfair, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

"The book industry is different from every other industry and not very profitable either. Large discounts will only damage the interests of publishers," he said.

Despite the rule, a search yesterday on famous online bookstores like and showed that books were being sold with higher discounts. Some were even being sold at half price.

Zhang Ying, a senior market executive of, stated recently that commercial enterprises should set their own discounts as long as they don't violate laws of unfair competition, according to Chongqing Evening News.

Additionally, Zhang doubted the successful application of the regulation.

"Only large vendors like are easily monitored. What will the punishment be for those who don't comply?" she questioned.


Live Vote
Clothing made in China register trademarks abroad and become international brands. And then the price soars. What do you think?
Is not supported. It's fraud!
Suppot. It doesn't break the law.
Have no idea.