The New York Times has a really interesting article about German bookselling. In Germany, there are hundreds of small bookstores that populate the business landscape. The reason for the thriving independent bookstore business is because Germany requires all bookstores to sell books at the same price, without discount.
This anti-freemarket idea is netting positive results: book prices have actually dropped 0.5% in the last year and flourishing independent presses.
The culture, reports the Times, supports this phenomenon in part because Germans place such an importance on books.
If you're a skeptic, you might associate fixed pricing with a German impulse toward conformity and an aversion to traditional haggling cultures. A German will stare blankly at you if you even suggest such a thought. Instead they will stress the special place books have in society.
Via NY Times.