In the case that a book is sold for free and only shipping costs are invoiced, those shipping costs do not form part of the final price, as provided both by the BuchPrG (Fixed book price law) and the PAngV (Price quotation regulation), and thus do not bypass the fixed book price ruling by being used as a hidden selling price.
On the other hand, a flat-rate calculation of the shipping costs is reasonable and usual, even if in certain cases, as it is the case, they are higher than the real shipping costs.
The pretended incentive and buyer loyalty effect criticised by the plaintiff, which results only from such a prior free sale, are not covered by the prohibition on price competition in the sale of books to final consumers. The purpose of fixed book prices is neither, moreover, to restrict dealers in their entrepreneurial freedom with regard to the use and development of marketing instruments nor to exclude competition as a whole.
As a result, in this case, the free sale of a price-bound book does not violate the fixed book price ruling.