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Israeli M.K. Wants Book Bailout

Plan to freeze prices

June 10, 2009

Knesset member Nitzan Horowitz has proposed legislation that would freeze the price of books for two years after they’re published, banning markdowns, the Jerusalem Post is reporting. The reason? To keep Hebrew-language publishers and retailers like the giants Steimatzky and Tzomet Sfarim from discounting themselves out of business. Horowitz’s impulse, however honorably motivated, clearly stems from Israel’s socialist roots—let’s control the market to keep the means of production afloat! But what about those damned libraries, which allow so many potential purchasers to use the same copy? And then there’s the small question of whether the plan would even help: Isn’t the whole point of slashing prices to help get products sold?

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