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How would proposed tariffs on Chinese goods affect the publishing industry?

Publishers worry the president's proposed tariffs on China would raise book prices.

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Reporting on BookExpo, The Washington Post noted publishers’ growing concern over potential tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump. The 25% tariff would apply to products printed in China, which would result in higher prices for books, publishers say.

“For years, U.S. publishers have relied on China for low-cost, high-capacity printing of four-color books, coffee table editions, Bibles and other standards of the trade and education market. The new tariff would almost surely result in higher prices, with publishers saying a hike of 50 cents or more is possible for a given book,” the Post reports. 

No timeline has been proposed for the tariffs and industries can ask for exemptions, though some in the industry worry proposed exemptions for publishers wouldn’t be accepted. Lui Simpson, vice president for global policy at the Association of American Publishers, tells the Post: “You’ll have numerous stakeholders making similar requests, so we’ll be operating in a limited space in terms of gaining the government’s attention.”

Simpson does note that “books have generally not been subject to import duties/tariffs, given U.S. policy to promote the free flow of information and knowledge.”

Overall, book sales have remained steady in the past year, the Post reports – but higher prices may lead to a drop in sales if the proposed tariff becomes a reality.

Read more Washington Post coverage on BookExpo here.