Trade discounts area common feature in book purchases. The discounts may vary according to categories of publications. Normally a 10% discount is admissible on books. Indian language publications may have higher discount rates while law books, etc., are short discount items. Government publications carry no discount at all. The rates of discount admitted to libraries by booksellers is part of the discount they themselves get from the publisher. Where competition is acute, a bookseller may even underquote to the extent that actual supply will become practically impossible. To check this unhealthy competition, standard norms would become necessary. One such measure employed in Britain is the Net Book Agreement.
The Net Book Agreement is an instrument signed in 1929 (and revised in 1933) by the Library Association, the Publisher Association, and the Association of Bookseller of Great Britain and Ireland. This trade agreement prevents price cutting in books by prescribing a uniform commission for libraries. Almost a similar agreement is available in India which will be discussed later.
Conversion rates can cause problems in buying foreign books. As you know, exchange rates are always subject to fluctuations. Hence, current rates cannot be applied in fixing the price of books in all cases. Competitive rates will be offered by booksellers. Here again, standard norms are necessary to check the possibilities of underquoting. In India, such a standardisation can be achieved by the recommendations of a body known as the Good Offices Committee.