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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Israeli authors fight discount deals

Discount book deals could become a thing of the past in Israel, where authors have launched a battle against two leading bookstore chains.

Israeli author Eli Tziper holds his book The Treasure of the Hebrew Rhyme
The writers claim slashed prices are eating into their royalties.

Price-slashing is common at Israel's two largest competing booksellers, Steimatzky and Tzomet.

Customers have welcomed the discounts - as low as $6 a book (£3.80) compared to catalogue prices of $15 or $20 (£10 or £13) - which have also benefited younger, unknown authors.

However, established authors, publishers, editors and others in the book industry have struggled to survive.

Parliament is expected to approve a bill enforcing tough limits on discounts, where retailers would be banned from cutting prices on new books for the first 18 months.

The bill would also see royalties set at a minimum of 8 percent of the book's marked price for the first 6,000 sold, and at least 10 percent for all books sold after that number.

A statement from the prime minister's office said: "As the People of the Book, we are committed to maintaining the income of the authors who create our cultural treasures."

Jews are known as People of the Book because their identity is rooted in the Bible, but literary books are also a big part of Israeli culture.


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