Antoine Gallimard, president of the eponymous publishing house and the Madrigall group, justifies the more expensive prices of books in Switzerland by the costs which are higher there, in an interview Thursday with the daily Le Temps.

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 in particular of Gallimard, Flammarion and Casterman) argues that “the costs of living are generally higher in Switzerland than in France”, particularly for personnel costs. “This is inevitably reflected in the costs of our broadcasting and distribution structure in Switzerland, since our representatives live there,” he explained to the Swiss daily.

“Our distribution structure – which goes through an independent Swiss company – allows us to have nearly 400,000 books in storage in Fribourg, which can be delivered within 24 hours to French-speaking booksellers without them having to worry about the chain. logistics from France or customs issues,” he argues, while specifying that “these services represent a cost for our group.” In September 2022, Pascal Vanderberghe, the general director of the Swiss bookstore chain Payot, seized 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 system of distribution preventing them from obtaining supplies directly from France.

During an interview with AFP, he stressed 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 make their purchases directly in France. In January, Comco officially opened an investigation against Madrigall aimed at examining whether the French publishing group illicitly limits the possibility for Swiss booksellers to obtain supplies in France under better conditions.

“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 unfavorable decision, he did not wish to comment, believing that it would be “premature and inappropriate” to comment on “the outcome of an ongoing procedure”.