Amazon and controversy head to Salon du Livre


Salon du Livre in Paris will open for four days on 16th March with a notable new addition to its line-up of exhibitors. Organisers, meanwhile, are attempting to quell a controversy over authors’ accreditation. 
Amazon—which launched the Kindle in France last October—will make its initial appearance at France’s leading book fair, taking a stand in the digital section. The e-tailing giant will be one of the overall 1,200 exhibitors from almost 40 countries. In the past few years Salon du Livre—traditionally called France’s biggest bookshop—has been increasing its professional programme. 
The row over authors’ access to the fair erupted after a message sent out by fair director Bertrand Morisset, saying that only authors doing book signings would be able to enter for free. Normally more than 2,500 authors attend the fair. 
The move was an attempt to crack down on the black market in tickets, Morisset told The Bookseller. Authors, who felt accused, are not the culprits, he said. “The problem is the organised gangs of crooks” who sell stolen or forged tickets or accreditations outside the exhibition hall. Offenders risk fines of up to €15,000 (£12,500) and prison sentences of up to six months. 
The organisers, however, have backtracked on the criteria for free access. Authors will now be able to obtain accreditation online with their membership card of a writers’ association, a letter from their publisher or, as before, the scanned cover of one of their books. 
This is the second year the fair is to be held over four days instead of six, with the hundreds of events for the trade on the fourth day, including a focus on multimedia rights, a conference on digitisation, and an inaugural programme for librarians.
Looking ahead, French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l’Edition) director Christine de Mazières revealed the event will concentrate on international and professional development. This is one of the few fairs aimed at both the public and professionals, she said.