- 1964: The first Swiss Book Vouchers are designed by Celestino Piatti and issued for the Christmas shopping season. They are available in denominations of CHF 5, 10, 20 and 50 and have no expiration date. The Swiss Advertising Agency for the Book (SWB), a division of the Swiss Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association (SBVV), is in charge.
- 1965: As an incentive for booksellers to sell the vouchers, bookshops are able to purchase Swiss Book Vouchers at a 15% discount, while the shop where the voucher is redeemed forgoes 15% of the purchase price. This business model remains in place until the end of December 2019.
- 1969: Sales rise to well over CHF 100,000, proving that the Swiss Book Voucher meets a customer need.
- 1974: Swiss Book Advertising and Information (formerly SWB) takes over management of the book vouchers on 1 August while delivery and redemption are handled by Addenda.
- 1976: Sales exceed CHF 1 million for the first time.
- 1984: Swiss Book Advertising and Information takes over all book voucher management tasks. Launch of the volume discount.
- 1985: New voucher design; now with EAN code.
- 1986: Swiss Book Advertising and Information is renamed Pro Libro AG; liquidation in 1989.
- 1987: The validity of Swiss Book Vouchers is limited to 10 years.
- 1993: The Swiss Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association (SBVV) becomes the umbrella organisation of three independent industry associations. Swiss Book Voucher is taken over by the Booksellers’ Association of German-speaking Switzerland (BVDS).
- 2002: Foundation of the Swiss Book Voucher Cooperative as an independent organisation based in Neuhausen.
- 2009: Sales exceed CHF 11 million.
- 2010: Swiss Book Vouchers get a facelift. The Cooperative has 434 members.
- 2011: The secretariat in Neuhausen is closed. The Swiss Book Voucher Society GSSB GmbH based in Stans (NW) takes over administration of the Book Voucher.
- 2012: A proposal to reintroduce fixed book prices is rejected in a referendum.
- 2015: Specially developed software is rolled out to handle nearly all administrative aspects of the Book Vouchers.
- 2018: Steadily decreasing sales prompt the Board of Directors to hold a two-day closed-door session to discuss strategies for the future. This gives rise to a project aimed at promoting reading by distributing Book Vouchers to school districts; the project is then evaluated within the scope of a study by the University of St. Gallen.
- 2019: A gift card-style “electronic Book Voucher” enters the launch phase.
- 2020: An overwhelming majority of the members of the Cooperative vote in favour of a new business model in an extraordinary ballot vote in 2019; this change takes effect on 1 January. In the past, all purchases and redemptions of Book Vouchers had been subject to a deduction of 15%. Under the new model, no more discounts are offered and all book vouchers that are redeemed are reimbursed at 100% of their face value. This ensures that both small and large bookshops are treated fairly.
Electronic Book Vouchers, a gift card in credit-card format, are launched in November. These can be used for both on-site and online purchases. Traditional paper vouchers are still available.
The Federal Council imposes a nationwide lockdown in mid-March due to the raging coronavirus pandemic and all non-essential shops are closed, including bookshops. The Swiss Book Voucher Cooperative immediately launches an emergency aid programme granting a total of CHF 400,000 in financial support that does not have to be repaid as well as interest-free loans in the amounts of CHF 5,000 or CHF 10,000 (up to a total of CHF 300,000) on request. The initiative is extremely successful and well-received by the bookshops.