girl reading book 521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A law meant to lower book prices by increasing competition between publishers
and booksellers passed in its final Knesset reading Wednesday.
Education, Culture and Sport Committee chairman Amram Mitzna presented the bill
to the Knesset, despite tearing a ligament in his knee earlier this week, and
explained that his committee cooperated with all the relevant parties and made
sure the legislation balanced the many interests involved.
that when there is goodwill from so many different people, the sky is the
limit,” Mitzna said. “I hope that the law will fulfill its goal.”
and Sport Minister Limor Livnat called the law’s passing a “great moment in
“There are times when there is no choice and the
government must intervene to save Israel’s culture,” she stated.
Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), who co-wrote the original bill three years ago, said
the new law establishes a norm that books and literature are an important
Earlier this month, Mitzna added to the bill several prizes
granted by the Culture Ministry, including NIS 250,000 for 10 starting authors,
NIS 200,000 for young poets and NIS 200,000 to publishers.
estimated that the bill will bring a 20 percent decrease in the prices of books,
because it will lead to fair competition between publishers and
The legislation will go into effect in six months and will
have to be renewed by the Knesset after three years. The Knesset Economics
Committee will oversee its implementation.
The bill attempts to break the
duopoly in the book market, made up of Steimatzky and Tzomet Sfarim, by not
allowing a store or publisher to encourage salespeople to promote specific
books, and by requiring stores to give equal prominence to books from different
The legislation also requires stores and publishers to reach
agreements on what kind of discounts can be put on books, and those discounts
can be only on books that are over 18 months old. That includes buy one get one
free or similar sales, and an exception will be made for Hebrew Book
During those 18 months, Israeli authors will receive at least 8% of
the price (minus VAT) of the first 6,000 books sold and 10% of the price of book
6,001 and up. The bill also regulates authors’ royalties after 18 months.