A Net Book Agreement (NBA) is an agreement between publishers and booksellers that details the terms under which booksellers may sell those publishers’ books. An NBA typically discounts booksellers off the retail price in return for agreeing to sell books at a fixed price without discounts below that amount. Furthermore, publishers may set minimum advertising prices (MAPs), below which retailers cannot advertise their titles.
The Net Book Agreement was initially implemented in Britain in 1900 in response to concerns that discounting undercut publisher profits. At first voluntary, it then became mandatory in 1916 before finally being dismantled following years of debate in 1995 as many saw it as either outdated or essential to maintain book industry viability.
As American book markets have long been marked by discounting and price wars, a Net Book Agreement recently came into effect here – though its implementation remains controversial due to publisher concerns regarding profit protection while encouraging investment in new titles.
From 1900 until 1995, publishers and booksellers in Britain entered into an agreement known as the Net Book Agreement, which fixed book prices.
The Net Book Agreement was an unqualified success, exceeding its goals with ease. Publishers and booksellers collaborated to set prices for books. Booksellers could then sell these titles at lower costs than production cost – an invaluable achievement in an industry that relied upon making books affordable for its patrons. As an essential feature of book industry services that provided public access, this was one of its key pillars.