Antoine Gallimard, the president of the eponymous publishing house and the Madrigall group, justifies the more expensive prices of books in Switzerland by the higher costs there, in an interview Thursday with the daily Le Temps.
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While the competition commission in Switzerland opened an investigation in January following a complaint from the Payot bookstore chain, the boss of the Madrigall group (owner of Gallimard, Flammarion and Casterman) argues that "living costs are generally higher in Switzerland than in France", especially for personnel costs. "This is inevitably reflected in the costs of our distribution structure in Switzerland, since our representatives live there," he told the Swiss daily.
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Books 40 to 50% more expensive
Our distribution structure - which goes through an independent Swiss company - makes it possible to have nearly 400,000 books on deposit in Fribourg, which can be delivered in 24 hours to booksellers in French-speaking Switzerland without them having to worry about the supply chain from the France or customs issues," he argues, while specifying that "these services represent a cost for our group.». In September 2022, Pascal Vanderberghe, the managing director of the Swiss bookstore chain Payot, had appealed to the Competition Commission (Comco) to challenge the increase in the price of books imposed on Swiss booksellers who are linked for their orders to a distribution system preventing them from sourcing directly France.
In an interview with AFP, he pointed out that the prices charged to Swiss booksellers can be "40% to 50%" more expensive, which undermines their competitiveness, especially since consumers can easily cross the border to shop directly in France. In January, Comco formally opened an investigation against Madrigall to examine whether the French publishing group is unlawfully restricting the ability of Swiss booksellers to obtain France on better terms.
The Comco investigation had the impact of paralyzing our exchanges with Payot, which I regret," Antoine Gallimard told the Swiss daily. Asked what Madrigall intends to do in the event of an unfavourable decision, he did not wish to comment, considering that it would be "premature and inappropriate" to express himself on "the outcome of an ongoing procedure".