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Publisher and booksellers get fine over Harry Potter cartel

THE SLOVAK publishing house Ikar and four bookshops have been handed fines totalling Sk59,000 (€1,958) from the Antitrust Office (PMÚ) for agreeing to fix the price of the latest book about the young wizard Harry Potter, the ČTK newswire was told by the office’s spokesperson, Alexandra Bernáthová.

THE SLOVAK publishing house Ikar and four bookshops have been handed fines totalling Sk59,000 (€1,958) from the Antitrust Office (PMÚ) for agreeing to fix the price of the latest book about the young wizard Harry Potter, the ČTK newswire was told by the office’s spokesperson, Alexandra Bernáthová.

The biggest sanction, Sk50,000, was imposed on Ikar, which concluded a contract with several bookshops to fix the price of each copy.

The Modul bookshop has been ordered to pay a fine of Sk7,000, the Clios company Sk1,000, and two other booksellers Sk500 each.

“The contracts assessed included direct setting of the price of goods, by which [the principle of] price competition among sellers of this book was violated, and the opportunity for final customers to decide on the purchase of the book according to the price offered by sellers was limited,” said Bernáthová.

Ikar did not comment on the decision.

The seventh and last volume of the Harry Potter series appeared in Slovakia in January. Ikar offered the book – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter a dary smrti) - by British writer J.K. Rowling for Sk499 a copy.

The news portal Aktuálne.sk reported as early as February that Ikar intended to oblige booksellers to sell at this price, and fine them if they refused.
After one retail chain offered the book at a cheaper price in its stores, Ikar withdrew the arrangement.

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