The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Books, Economics of

  • Frederick van der Ploeg
  • Marcel Canoy
  • Jan van Ours
Reference work entry


The tensions between books as expressions of culture and books as profitable products are analysed using insights from the theory of industrial organization. To stimulate the diversity of books on offer, maintain the density of bookshops and to promote reading, governments grant fixed price monopolies, subsidize authors, levy a lower consumption tax on books, and provide public libraries and education. Market structures and government policies vary widely and there is no case for harmonizing European book policies. The book market is innovative in solving its problems. The main task of the government is to promote reading.


Books Economics of Business stealing Cross-subsidy Cultural policy Experience goods Market failure Monopolistic competition Non-price competition Payola Product differentiation Product life cycle Retail price maintenance 

JEL Classifications

L1 Z11 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick van der Ploeg
    • 1
  • Marcel Canoy
    • 1
  • Jan van Ours
    • 1
  1. 1.