I found this article about German's book pricing policy, Buchpreisbindung, and how it may be helping to keep smaller book stores in business.
Some kibbles and bits:
"The idea [of the Buchpreisbindung] was to eliminate price competition in order to promote the same of little-known books," says Simone Thelen, spokewoman for the Mayersche chain.
Catherine Brull, a native of Belgium who has worked in the shop for seven years, is getting ready to crack open her new copy of Super Sad True Love Story, which is priced at 19.95 euros, about $28, including tax.
After price regulation ended in England, the price of books rose by 8 percent; and when it ended in Sweden, one out of four bookstores went out of business.
[O]ne of the major reasons Germany has a healthy book publishing industry, beyond its pricing law, is because Germans (like the English, the Irish, the Japanese, the French, and many other nationalities) tend to read more, and more seriously, than Americans.
In 2007 an Association of American Publishers (AAP) survey revealed that one in four Americans did not read a single book -- not one book -- the previous year.
"Books are not just a commodity here," [Simone Thelen] says. "They have a cultural value that has to be saved."