Korea’s Fair Trade Commission Fines Participants in School Books Cartel

Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has fined four school book publishers 900 million won ($830,427) for colluding to fix the price of text books offered on online bookstores. Chunjae Education, Doosan Dong-A, Visang Education and Truebook Sinsago together account for around 60 percent of the primary, middle and high school textbook market and 90 percent of the primary school market for study aids in South Korea.

The KFTC found that the four publishers colluded with the Korea Federation of Bookstores Association (KFBA) to fix online discounts to protect the decreasing profitability of bricks-and-mortar bookstores. The publishers and the KFBA agreed not to provide books to online retailers that offered discounts of greater than 15 percent and threatened to terminate their supply to retailers who did not comply. The highest fine, of 360 million won ($332,171), was imposed on Chunjae Education. Doosan Dong was fined 240 million won ($221,447) and Visang Education and Truebook Sinsago were fined 150 million won ($138,404) each.

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