28/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 21:02

Israeli authors fight book deals

Category: Entertainment

Published: 15th Jun 2012 13:34:41

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

The writers claim slashed prices are eating into their royalties.

Parliament is expected to approve a bill enforcing tough limits on discounts, after the group gained support from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and government ministers.

Retailers would be banned from cutting prices on new books for 18 months.

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.

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.

A similar debate has played out around the world and several countries, including France, Germany and Mexico, have already passed laws against price-slashing.

High street chains and independent booksellers are facing increasing competition from e-books and the huge discounts available on sites such as Amazon and in supermarkets.

In Israel, the two big chains dominate 80% of all book sales, and critics claim they are putting profits first, something the booksellers deny.

"The competition between the two main booksellers is the problem," said Ben-Shmuel from the Book Association of Israel. "Authors are sick of working for free."

Book chain Steimatzky's chief executive, Iris Barel, has welcomed the new legislation and said her company would comply with whatever is decided.

The debate takes centre stage as Israel celebrates Hebrew Book Week, with special book fairs all over the country.

Ten leading Israeli authors, including Amos Oz and David Grossman, have objected to having their books discounted at fairs, saying: "We can no longer participate in the humiliation of our works in particular, and Hebrew literature in general."

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Israeli authors fight book deals [Online] (Updated 15th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1434915/Israeli-authors-fight-book-deals [Accessed 28th Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Chicken factories given all-clear in hygiene audits

    Two poultry factories alleged to have committed hygiene breaches have been rated as "good" and "satisfactory" by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
  • Book gift buying fall 'concerns' industry

    A fall in people buying books as gifts has contributed to an overall 4% fall in UK book sales over the past year.
  • Book gift buying fall 'concerns' industry

    A fall in people buying books as gifts has contributed to an overall 4% fall in UK book sales over the past year.
  • Chicken factories given all-clear in hygiene audits

    Two poultry factories alleged to have committed hygiene breaches have been rated as "good" and "satisfactory" by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
  • Driver guilty over Kincardine Bridge cyclist's death

    A motorist who fatally injured a cyclist has been convicted of causing death by careless driving.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com