Technology and culture: a test case: eBooks & Books Compared in Germany & The USA

Nicholas Carr:

There are also economic differences. In Germany, publishers set book prices, and the prices don’t vary from store to store. E-book prices follow these same rules, which means that they have not undercut print prices to the same degree that they have in the U.S. But this policy, too, is rooted in culture: it is aimed at preserving the diversity of the book trade. (It must pain Eric Holder enormously to travel to Germany and see so many flourishing bookshops.) E-books are also taxed at a higher rate than print books, which enjoy a tax exemption in Germany – another manifestation of the book’s special place in the culture.