Press wholesaling

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A wholesaler in publishing is an entrepreneur in press wholesaling . It acts as a trading stage between the publisher and the retailer . Further distribution channels for press products are the publisher's own subscription , reading circles , direct deliveries and the station book trade . The two largest press wholesalers in Germany are PVG Presse-Vertriebs-Gesellschaft KG  and QTRADO GmbH & Co. KG .

Distribution channels

About the press wholesaler with a market share of 54 percent, most of the print media is marketed in Germany, especially buying newspapers and magazines in direct sales.

Press wholesalers are medium-sized companies with an average annual turnover of around 38 million euros and an average of 140 employees. On average, they supply around 1,800 sales outlets in their sales area and deal in a range of over 4,000 titles. At some international locations, this can include up to 6000 titles.

The publishers inform the wholesalers about their programs and special editions. The sales department of the individual publishers agrees with the wholesalers on the conditions relating to the purchase quantity, delivery , payment, etc. You conclude a commission contract with the right to return . They often cooperate in market surveys (the wholesaler collects the data, with the press data warehouse market processing program of the Bundesverband Presse-Grosso (BVPG) providing support). It has been available to all market partners since October 2012. The publisher evaluates the data, draws its conclusions and possibly modifies its publishing program or marketing strategies. The wholesalers are involved in this.

Press wholesalers purchase their products directly from the respective publishers; international sales companies supply the foreign press.

The press wholesaler has a number of special features in terms of working conditions and legal aspects. First of all, applies to printed materials such as books, newspapers and magazines , the price maintenance . The press wholesaler has no option to set prices. The press wholesale is subject to both vertical and horizontal price maintenance: the price for the sale by the wholesaler to the retailer is fixed, as is the final price for the buyer. The price maintenance is carried out through contracts between the publishers and the wholesalers, in which the wholesalers are obliged to pass the price maintenance on to the retailers. The admissibility of such contracts results from § 30 GWB.

Germany is currently (as of 2019) divided into 57 so-called "wholesale areas", in which 31 large companies are active. The wholesalers have an exclusive right of extradition, i.e. a monopoly , only in Hamburg there is conditional competition between wholesalers. This exception is regulated in antitrust law. It was not until 2003 that the federal government confirmed the special distribution system again.

The constitution and design of the German press distribution system are based on the guarantee of freedom and diversity of the press, which Article 5 of the Basic Law guarantees. As a neutral sales agent, it should ensure the diversity, availability of press products at all times and everywhere in the best possible way. The freedoms of Article 5, it is said in the media report of the Federal Government of 2008, "would run empty if the entire spectrum of domestic and foreign publishing could not be read de facto in every place by everyone at affordable prices". A press wholesaler that works right down to the last corner of the country is vital for new, financially weak or minority-oriented publishers. Most of the time they are unable to set up and maintain their own sales force.

A number of bases for the maintenance and further development of the system have been laid down in the joint declaration (GE) of 2004 between the associations of magazine and newspaper publishers ( VDZ , BDZV ) and the BVPG. These are in particular the disposition and return rights, the price and use binding and the neutrality obligation.

The press wholesaler is obliged to contract in his assigned area. He is therefore obliged not only to supply every sales point, but also to offer every publication available on the market and include it in his program. The retail trade thus has a right to delivery from the press wholesaler. In addition, retailers have the right to return their unsold copies of printed matter . The publishers are obliged to take them back (which the press wholesalers handle). These requirements are intended to ensure the economic existence of small publishers and fair competition among each other, not least the basis of the sales point operators.

Most press wholesalers are independent of publishers. Publishers or other press companies are involved in 12 of the 66 press wholesalers. This is anything but unproblematic. Press wholesalers are subject to the obligation of neutrality and should deliver to their area impartially. This can clash with their own economic interests when a publisher is involved.

A dispute had broken out about the German system of press wholesaling since September 2008, in which Bauer-Verlag terminated contracts with some press wholesalers because they were allegedly no longer working efficiently. The publisher's declared aim is to stimulate stronger competition based on the English model, although critics fear that the diversity of the press will be restricted. Bauer also took legal action against the central negotiating mandate that the members of the BVPG and the wholesalers with a share in the publishing house had transferred to the federal association to negotiate binding conditions and services with the individual suppliers. The central mandate is intended to take account of the interests of those involved in the market as well as the different property and publishing conditions and enable adaptation to changing market conditions.

As part of the amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB), however , the Bundestag legalized the central negotiating mandate in October 2012. Industry agreements between press publishers and press wholesalers are exempt from the ban on cartels as private sector self-regulation. According to this, coordinated agreements between publishers and press wholesalers and their associations are exempt from antitrust law if they regulate the nationwide and non-discriminatory distribution of newspaper and magazine ranges by the press wholesaler.

The counterpart to the press wholesaler is the bar range in bookshops , sometimes also referred to as a wholesaler .

See also


  • Michael Haller : Freedom of information and press distribution in Europe. 3rd updated and expanded edition. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 2012, ISBN 3-7890-6874-8 .
  • Reinhard Mundhenke, Marita Teuber: The publishing clerk . 9th edition. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-7973-0792-6 .
  • Michael Kloepfer: Securing diversity by separating levels in mass communication . 1st edition. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 2010, ISBN 978-3-8329-5517-5
  • Bundesverband Presse-Grosso: The German Press Grosso. Guarantor of press diversity. Cologne 2012
  • 60 years of press wholesaling . Festschrift on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Federation Presse-Grosso eV Cologne 2012. Press publishing house Hamburg, ISBN 978-3-923165-08-7

Web links


  • David Denk: How does the taz get to Langeoog? , published on
  • Michael Haller: Only the bulk papers should be on the shelf . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of March 25, 2009
  • Anna Mahron: Grosso in danger , In: The time of November 3, 2011
  • René Martens: Role model under pressure , published on on October 15, 2011
  • Ellen Nebel: Modernization grosso modo. Bauer-Verlag is turning the grosso system upside down. In: epd medien from February 4, 2011
  • Jan Hauser: Bauer attacks, Springer stands by the press wholesaling , In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of March 28, 2011
  • Jens Schneider: Breakfast in the wonder world. Bauer-Verlag now wants to approach the Grossoverband - and presents a brochure against the system . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung of June 16, 2010

Individual evidence

  1. Presse-Grosso in Numbers 2019. Accessed on July 15, 2020 .
  2. Michael Haller: Only the bulk sheets should be on the shelf. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of March 25, 2009, p. 37
  3. Section 30 (2a) of the Act against Restraints of Competition