Where would we be without RRP? Here's an extract from an emailed ad from a prominent bookselling chain:
* Offer ends 31st December 2008. Percentage off Publisher's Recommended Retail price. Excludes already reduced titles, educational text books, DVDs, CDs, videos, online digital and audible products, online purchases, gift cards and special orders.
Without RRP, as an industry, we have no baseline, and because as an industry we have so many products coming out each month, there needs to a measure of value for the consumer. That seems to be one of the over-riding features of our industry - a lot of fresh "product" monthly. It's why the discount department stores like books - fresh new "product" to bring in the shoppers. It's a lottery, a gamble, a horse-race (which is part of the excitement) but a few of those books will be winners.
The arguments for net pricing all seem to be part of the same general argument of which the particular arguments against territorial copyright form a part - "let's unfetter the retailer to maximize profit". Is the intent a transfer of profit from the author and publisher and other creators?