Home » Bookstores, Non-US » France Unveils Plan to ‘Shore Up’ Indie Booksellers

France Unveils Plan to ‘Shore Up’ Indie Booksellers

26 March 2013

From Shelf Awareness:

French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti “has unveiled part of the government’s plan to shore up independent booksellers, despite earlier fears that she would be unable to commit any money because of France’s huge budget deficit,” the Bookseller reported. Filippetti observed that the government wants to ensure France “never suffers the same fate as the United States” with “the collapse of several [bookshop] chains” and the ensuing difficulties for publishers.

Link to the rest at Shelf Awareness

Bookstores, Non-US

10 Comments to “France Unveils Plan to ‘Shore Up’ Indie Booksellers”

  1. This is nothing new. In the years leading up to World War II, the French government dealt with the crisis by increasing the subsidy for horse breeders. They wanted to ensure that France never suffered the same fate as those countries that had a shortage of warhorses and switched to tanks instead.

  2. @ Tom Simon – lol.


    “the government wants to ensure France “never suffers the same fate as the United States” with “the collapse of several [bookshop] chains”

    I hope they plan to set up a border patrol. Don’t let any of those new-fangled digital books into the Country. Stop them in Customs.

  3. France used to be one of the most enlightened countries in Europe, but than the Institutions took over and the Institutions want to keep everything the same. It is not what people and the markets want, but what the Institutions want and know best. Franco phobia rules.

    • I live in France, so I have to respectfully disagree with you on one point “…it is not what people and the markets want …”

      The French are very attached to their bookstores and are not yet that enamored with ebooks. Eventually, they will be, yes. But right now, they want to shop in a store and touch the paperbacks. They don’t want them to disappear and they’re also quite firm that they don’t want their way of life to disappear either – and I am with them on that. I am here because of that wonderful old school way of life.

      • I agree. And while I think bookstores in America will survive, the “so-what” attitude towards their closure, I find quite alarming. Bookstores are incredibly important to a nation’s culture. It is easy to sit on an internet forum and think the rest of the nation has the same access to information and online shopping, but they don’t. In the US, 20% of the population are not online – a similar figure in the UK and the rest of Europe. Some of these people choose not to be online, others can’t afford it – where are they to buy books without bookstores? In addition, millions of people don’t have a bank account or access to a credit card, so how do they buy books? The demise of the bookstore should be taken seriously. If 20% plus of the population can no longer buy books, it is not good for authors or society. It will only go to expand the rich-poor divide to include culture as well as everything else; a two-tier society of haves and have nots. America should learn from what the French are doing.

  4. The french have the same right to live and die, 20th century-style, as the Amish have a right to live 19th Century style. Why drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st century when it’s quieter to let them silently fade away…? 😉

    More seriously:
    Protectionism is known to be its own punishment; the longer they wait to adjust, the more pain it will inflict.
    If they want to do things the hard way, that is their own business. Literally.
    “Live and let Die.”

    • You seem to think that the only measure of a country’s worth is its profitability – never mind quality of life or anything else. There are some people, in France and elsewhere, who don’t believe that the almighty dollar or euro or whatever is the most important thing. Some people find value in a town filled with quaint family-owned shops, a book store with paper books you can peruse and smell and buy, a baker who makes you fresh bread three times a day, a banker who knows you by name. There’s nothing wrong with preserving this way of life. I wish the United States hadn’t been in such a hurry to leave it behind. It might not be the lifestyle you prefer, but it’s one I certainly do and so do many of the French. That’s not isolationism or protectionism; it’s placing value on valuable things and not letting greed take them away.

      • That sounds very nice, unless you are one of the millions of people who can’t afford to live that way. If I had to pay the price of bread at a local bakery, I wouldn’t be able to buy much else. If I had to buy clothes at quaint family-owned shops, at the prices they charge to keep themselves in business, I would be dressed in rags. If I had to pay the price of paper books, I would have bought and read about one-tenth as many books as I have in the last two years — which, by the way, would have made it impossible for me to write, since I bought most of those books for essential research.

        So if you want to live that way, go right ahead. But don’t tell me that everyone has to live that way — which is what the French government is doing to its citizens — and don’t tell me I’m greedy because I want to survive.

        • Well, since you don’t live here, I can understand why you’d think what you write here is correct, but let me enlighten you. Bread freshly baked is 80 cents for a whole loaf. It’s warm and buttery crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. In the grocery store, the square stuff you make sandwiches with that has preservatives is 1.50 minimum. The clothing is also cheaper and better quality when purchased from a small store. They don’t get their stuff from China. The French adore their pocket books, which are much cheaper than paperbacks in the US.

          So France manages to have it both ways – small town values and big market prices. You’re welcome to come over here on a vacation and enjoy it for a little while, like millions of people do each year.

          Ever notice how a big store comes in with super cheap prices, pushes out all the little guys, and then magically their prices go up? Or maybe you don’t notice it. That’s how you boil a frog, you know … Turn up the water just a little bit at a time…

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.