After a period of deadlock , the long-awaited book law, promotion and support for reading, which provides for a National Action Plan for the promotion of reading with a Fund that has an endowment of 4,350,000 euros per year starting from 2020.
Furthermore, from 2020, the Council of Ministers will annually assign to an Italian city the title of ‘ Italian Book Capital on the basis of the projects presented by the candidate cities.
A law, as mentioned, long awaited on which there is no lack of critical issues, on all those expressed by the Italian Publishers Association (IEA).
The most controversial point concerns, in particular, the maximum discount applicable to books. In bookstores, online stores, large retailers, the maximum ordinary discount goes from 15% to 5% (15% for school books). The stores can organize promotions, once a year, with a 15% discount limit while today promotions are only left to publishers. For promotions, publishers have the option of a maximum discount of 20%, not more than 25%.
Lots of news to restore life to a sector that has been in trouble for too long, but can and must raise its head, as Cristina Giussani, President of the Italian Trade Union of booksellers Confesercenti, interviewed by Teleborsa, told us .
President, after a long wait the “Book Law” has arrived: what changes?
For Italian culture I believe it is a historical step which, by outlining a more balanced and respectful of pluralism market, contributes to guaranteeing more choice for consumers. Thanks to this law, a cultural democracy is nurtured that will be good not only for the various players in the supply chain, but above all for readers who, through independent bookstores and small publishers, will have a greater assortment in terms of titles, that is, of authors and consequently of ideas and opinions. and thoughts.
Otherwise there is the risk of having a market in which only two or three large players would remain who could market titles at their preference, not necessarily dictated by the cultural variety, which would certainly not benefit the consumer. Finally, we believe this law will help stop bookstore bleeding: just think that in the last six years about 1,500 have disappeared. Shifting consumer choice from price to economic value of quality and cultural democracy also means shifting the choice of place to buy a book.
SIL spoke of a historic day for culture, yet the new legislation does not seem to have satisfied everyone. Above all, the ceiling on discounts is causing discussion. What is your opinion? I give an example: in France, since 1981, with the Lang law, the price of the book has been chosen to be regulated.
Compared to this price, retailers (large specialized areas, hypermarkets, traditional or online bookshops) are not allowed to apply a discount greater than 5% of the price set by the publisher or importer, in the first 24 months from the date of publication. or import. So our book promotion law basically aligns us with the best European standards. This limitation of discounts is not well seen by large publishers. If we consider that the major publishing groups have “in hand” the entire supply chain of book distribution, from production to sale, it is clear that the economic return on sales is far greater than that of independent bookstores, and their ability to offer discounts higher on the cover price than independent bookstores.