The General Terms and Conditions (GTC) of W. Bertelsmann Verlag GmbH & Co. KG are governed by German law. The legally valid document is, therefore, the German original (Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen - AGB). The English version is acurate and true to the original to the best of our knowledge. However, W. Bertelsmann Verlag GmbH & Co. KG is not liable for any claims on grounds of linguistic misunderstandings or translation errors.

General Terms and Conditions

of W. Bertelsmann Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Auf dem Esch 4, 33619 Bielefeld, Germany

I. Scope of Validity/Formation of Contract

Orders will be processed solely on the basis of these terms and conditions. These terms and conditions shall govern all business relationships between W. Bertelsmann Verlag GmbH & Co. KG (contractor) and the client. The contractor will not accept any conditions set by the client if they are at variance with the contractor's terms and conditions unless the contractor has explicitly recognised their validity and declared his consent.

II. Pricing

  1. Prices quoted by the contractor apply provided that the contract details, on which the contract is based, remain unchanged for a period of four month from the date the tender has been submitted but not beyond that. For orders to be delivered to third parties the purchaser is considered to be the client unless otherwise and explicitly agreed.
    Prices quoted by the contractor do not include VAT provided the recipient of the quote is not a private customer/consumer and no other arrangement has been explicitly agreed upon.
    Prices quoted by the contractor are calculated ex works and do not include packaging, freight, postage, insurance and other shipping charges.
  2. Prices quoted by the contractor are calculated ex works and do not include packaging, freight, postage, insurance and other shipping charges.
    Subsequent changes at the request of the client including consequential machine stoppage will be invoiced. This also includes repeated proofs requested by the client because of minor variations from the master copy.
  3. Sketches, drafts, test prints, proofs, proof copies, changes to datas sent/transmitted and other preparatory work requested by the client will be invoiced. The same applies to data transfer.

III. Payment

  1. Full payment, without any deductions, is due on receipt of the invoice. Any discount allowances do not include freight, postage, insurance or other delivery charges. The due date as made out on the invoice is the date of delivery, part-delivery or readiness of delivery (in cases of debt collectible by the creditor or default of acceptance).
  2. For exceptional preliminary work an appropriate advance payment may be charged.
  3. The client can only demand cancellation or reduction of our claim or excercise the right of retention of payment if in either case his claim is undisputed and legally recognised.
  4. If, after formation of the contract, it emerges that the client might not be able to fulfill his obligation to pay because of a significant deterioration of his financial circumstances, the contractor has the right to charge an advance payment, to retain goods which have not been delivered yet or to discontinue work. The contractor is entitled to the same rights if the client is in arrears with the payment of deliveries which are subject of the same legal conditions.
  5. In case of default in payment the contractor has the right to cancel the supply of further deliveries. If the client is a business customer he is liable for paying interest on his debt according to § 288 Section 2 BGB (German Civil Code) (including nine percent points above base rate). If the client is a private customer he is liable for paying interest on his debt according to § 288 Section 1 BGB (German Civil Code) (five percent points above base rate). This does not exclude the assertion of further claims.

IV. Right of Withdrawal

The client, as a private customer (consumer), has the right to withdraw from the contract unless items are to be delivered which have been produced according to the client's specifications. The right of withdrawal does also not apply to the delivery of single journals.

In case of withdrawal the client will have to return the goods in due time and to pay for the cost of the return.

In case of withdrawal and return of the goods the contractor has to repay advance payments made by the client.

For conditions and consequences of withdrawal please see our Cancellation Policy Widerrufsbelehrung on wbv.de.

V. Delivery

  1. If goods are to be shipped and if the client is a business customer (business person), the client is liable for the risk of accidental loss or accidental damage of the goods as soon as the shipment has been handed over to the person responsible for the transport.
    Is the client a private customer (consumer), the client is not liable for the risk of accidental loss or accidental damage of the sold item until the item has been handed over/delivered to the client. This also applies to sales by dispatch. The risk transfer is also the same if the client defaults on acceptance.
  2. Delivery dates are only binding if they are explicitly confirmed by the contractor. A written contract also requires a written confirmation of the delivery date.
  3. The contractor reserves the right not to process an order if the ordered item is not in stock, out of print and therefore unavailable. In case the order is unavailable the client will be notified immediately and, if required, any advance payments will be refunded promptly. If the item is available within three months a reservation will be made automatically. In this case the client will not receive extra notification.
  4. If the contractor falls behind with his obligations an appropriate period of grace needs to be granted. If this additional period expires with no result the client has the right to withdraw from the contract. § 361 BGB (German Civil Code) remains unaffected.
  5. Disruptions affecting the operations of the contractor as well as those of a sub-contractor, for example industrial action, lock-outs and other incidents of force majeure, may be valid reasons for withdrawal from the contract only if they result in unacceptable waiting times for the client. Otherwise the agreed period of delivery will be extended according to the delay. However, withdrawal from the contract cannot be declared earlier than four weeks after disruptions as described above have occurred. In cases like this the contractor is not liable.
  6. As part of the commercial transactions the contractor is entitled to retain masters, manuscripts, raw materials and other items which have been supplied by the client until all outstanding debts resulting from the business relationship have been paid (§ 369 HGB – German Commercial Code).
  7. According to regulations the contractor is responsible for taking back packaging material. The client can, after giving due notice, return packaging to the contractor's premises during the usual business hours unless he is aware of another collection point that accepts packaging material. Packaging can also be handed back to the contractor on delivery unless the client is aware of another collection point that accepts packaging material. Packaging can only be returned immediately after the delivery of goods. Packaging of subsequent deliveries can only be returned if the customer gives due notice and leaves the complete packaging material in an easily accessible place ready for pick-up.  The client must bear the cost of transport of the used packaging. If a particular collection point is further away from the delivery address than the contractor's premises, the client only needs to pay an amount equal to the transport to the contractor's premises. The returned packaging must be clean, free of any inappropriate substances or matter and be sorted into the different types of packaging material. Otherwise the contractor has the right to charge the client for any additional disposal costs.

VI. Retention of Title to Ownership after Delivery

  1. Delivered goods remain in the contractor's ownership until they have been fully paid for.
  2. The following regulation only applies to commercial transactions:
    Delivered goods remain in the contractor's ownership until all claims valid on the date of invoicing have been fully paid by the client. The client has the right to resell goods only in compliance with the rules of business transactions, subject to withdrawal by the contractor. The client thereby transfers his claims from the resale to the contractor. The contractor thereby accepts the transfer of the claim. In case of arrears, if not earlier, the client must name the debtor liable for the transferred claim. If the value of the client's securities exceeds the contractor's claim by more than 20%, the contractor must release some of the securities upon demand of the client or of third parties who are affected by securities which are – compared to the contractor's claim - too high in value (over-collateralization). It remains at the contractor's discretion which securities he will release.
  3. If goods are edited or processed which have been delivered by the contractor and which are still in his ownership, the contractor is considered to be the producer according to § 950 BGB (German Civil Code) and retains ownership of the products at all stages of processing. If third parties are involved in the editing or processing, the contractor is only entitled to part-ownership equivalent to the invoice value of the goods subject to retention of title. Products obtained in this way are considered as goods subject to retention of title to ownership. 

VII. Complaints/Claims for Defects

  1. The client is responsible for checking each delivery whether or not the product conforms with the contract agreements. The same applies to intermediate products which have been sent to the client for correction/amendments. As soon as the client has approved the product for print/production he bears the risk of potential inaccuracies or faults unless these faults have occurred after his approval during print/production or could only be noticed during production. The same applies to all other approvals declared by the client.
  2. Complaints can only be raised during the first 7 days after goods have been received. Claims for defects which are not obvious at first inspection need to be raised within the legal warranty period.
  3. In case of a valid claim the contractor has the duty to provide either subsequent improvements or replacement or both. If improvements or a replacements are delayed, omitted or unsuccessful the client has the right to request a price reduction or to withdraw from the contract.
  4. If part of a delivery is defect the client is not entitled to make a claim for the whole of the delivery unless the part-delivery is of no value for the client.
  5. Claims for defects cannot be made if colour copies show minor variations from the original, whatever production method has been used. The same applies if the final product shows minor variations from other samples (for example digital proofs, final proofs).
  6. For variations in the properties of the materials used the contractor's liability does not exceed the value of the contract.
  7. The contractor is not responsible for inspecting supplies (including data storage devices, sending data) provided by the client or third parties who have been involved by the client. This does not apply to data which evidently cannot be processed or read. Before sending data the client is responsible for making sure that he uses the latest updated versions of anti-virus software. Data backup is also the sole responsibility of the client. The contractor has the right to copy data.
  8. Complaints cannot be raised for excess deliveries or short deliveries of up to 10% of the numbers ordered. Invoicing applies to the quantity delivered.

VIII. Liability

  1. The contractor is only liable for damages caused by intentional act or gross negligence, for the violation of material contractual obligations insofar as fulfilment of the contract is put at risk, if the product lacks a certain quality guaranteed by the contractor (according to § 443 BGB - German Civil Code), in cases of mandatory liablility according to product liability law and for culpably causing harm to  another person's life, physical health and well-being.  In case of violation of material contractual obligations due to minor neglicence only damages that are foreseeable and typical for the contract are subject of liability. In this case profit losses and unforeseeable, indirect consequential damages are specifically excluded from liability.
  2. The same principles apply to the liability of subcontractors and vicarious agents of the contractor.
  3. Damage claims must be filed within four months after the contractor has dismissed them in writing. Claims can only be filed after this deadline in the course of proceedings for the preservation of evidence.

IX. Commercial Practices

For commercial transactions the commercial practices of the printing industry (for example, the practice of no obligation to give up provisional products such as data, lithographs or printing plates which are created for the production of the due end-product) and the publishing industry respectively apply unless agreed otherwise in the contract.

X. Archiving

Products to which the client is entitled, especially data and data storage devices, will not be archived beyond the date when the end-product is handed over to the client or his vicarious agents unless this is explicitly agreed upon and separately paid for. If items as described above are to be insured the client will have to do this himself unless insurance is part of the agreement.

XI. Journal Subscriptions, E-Journals and Databases

Fees for journals and e-journals are charged in full at the start of each year for the whole of the calendar year. If a subscription begins during a calendar year the subscription fees for the remaining period of the year are charged directly in advance. Subscriptions are valid for an indefinite period of time. A subscription will be renewed automatically for another year unless the client cancels the subscription in writing at least six weeks before the end of the calendar year.

These rules also apply to content which is made available to the client by providing access to a database.

XII. Loose-Leaf Collections and Subsequent Orders

  1. If the client orders a core manual of loose-leaf collections he subscribes at the same time to the subsequent deliveries for a period of at least one year. A core manual cannot be purchased without subscribing to subsequent deliveries.
  2. Subscription to subsequent deliveries can be cancelled at least six weeks before the publication of the next subsequent delivery. The refusal to accept deliveries does not count as a cancellation. Deliveries received before a subscription has been cancelled cannot be returned.

XIII. Copyright

  1. If the products produced by the publisher including individual contributions and illustrations are eligible for copyright protection the exclusive exploitation rights are held by the author/originator and the publisher respectively. The same applies to forms produced by the publisher. Any exploitation which disregards the restrictions of the copyright law and to which the publisher has not given his consent is prohibited and liable to legal prosecution. This applies particularly to the reproduction, translation and microfilming of copyright protected material and its storing and processing in electronic systems.
  2. In case the publisher processes a contract without holding publishing rights the client is solely liable if processing leads to infringement of the rights of third parties, especially copyrights. The client must release the publisher from all claims made by third parties because of such an infringement.

XIV. Imprint

The publisher has the right to add an appropriate company reference to his products. The client can only refuse his consent if his interest outweighs the interest of the publisher.

XV. German Book Trade Regulations (Verkehrsordnung für den Deutschen Buchhandel)

In all other matters which have not been covered by these terms and conditions the relevant version of the German Book Trade Regulations (Verkehrsordnung für den Deutschen Buchhandel) apply to published products.

XVI. Place of Fulfilment, Place of Jurisdiction, Legal Effect

Place of fulfilment and place of jurisdiction for all claims arising from the contract (including claims relating to cheques and bills of exchange as well as court proceedings based on documentary evidence) is the contractor's company seat if the client is considered a business person according to HGB (German Commercial Code) or has no place of jurisdiction  in Germany. The contractual relationship is governed by German law. The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods does not apply.

Should one or more of these regulations become invalid the remaining regulations stay in force.


For more information on terms, conditions and delivery charges please see Statutory Information Obligations gesetzliche Informationspflichten.