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Last update: Sunday, September 18th, 2005
Culture in Europe

While I have been traveling through the world, I came with the conclusion that prices are influenced by the level of life in the country and the potential tourist customer. Regarding culture, and more specificaly book one will think that only level of life should be impacting. However it seems governments have their own word to say.

Lets take the example of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (T6), we have the following situation:
- in France, Fnac 15,99€, Amazon 12,99€
- in Germany, Amazon 15,80€
- in Belgium, Fnac 18,95€
- in Italy, Fnac 21,60€
- in Spain, Fnac 25,65€
- in UK, Amazon 8,99£ down from 16.99£, (13,30€/25€)

The question is now what are doing France and Germany to offer the book at a price similar to UK, and what is doing Spain to stay at such high prices?

Regarding VAT rate, we have the following situation:
- France, 5,5%
- Germany, 7%
- Belgium, 6%
- Italy, 4%
- Spain, 0%
- UK, 0%

Looking at the VAT rate it seems obvious that prices are not higher due to extra charging from national states. So what might be the reason?

Difference of price are not only explained by life style or VAT impact, and in the case of books, the difference might be explained more by Editors & distributors strenght and will (or by Government weakness).

Prices on national books might not reflect the same high difference on price, but on the other end why a book such as La sombra del viento (Excellent book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón) is about the same price in Spain and France (19€ against 20,43€ both in Fnac) while the book sold in France has been traducted to French therefore implying extracosts...

I do not know if some countries are doing special good job on this matter, but I personally believe that some countries are doing a particulary bad job.

Please note that I have not read the book and am not making any critic of it (neither good nor bad) I am only taking it as the price should be more or less the same the version being in English only.
All the prices have been updated on the Internet on 18/09/2005 in an interval of 5 minutes.

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