The two largest French publishing groups, Hachette Livre and Editis, have announced measures to help independent booksellers through the coronavirus crisis.
This follows the closure of all shops in France, except for those considered essential, announced on Saturday (14th March) and the total national lockdown now in place. Books are not considered essential items.
Hachette said this week it would halt the launch of all new titles from today (Wednesday 18th March) in France and other Francophone markets “to allow bookshops to anticipate fully the return (to normality) when it comes.” The group added it would postpone by 60 days booksellers’ payment deadlines for March, April and May and would prepare a financial plan to help indies rebuild their stocks after the crisis is over. The measures would take account of the length of the crisis, it added.
Editis also said it would immediately credit book returns already registered and would postpone its January, February and March invoices until June. It will also suspend the launch of new titles to all retail customers between March 26th and the end of April.
Gallimard said in a tweet it would postpone its publishing programme between March 26th and the end of April, while Media Participations said it would delay bookshops’ payment deadlines.
France has some 3,000 indies. Supermarkets, some of which sell books, will remain open during the lockdown. This means everyone must stay home except to shop for essential goods and for health care, and to work if teleworking is not an option. If they do venture out, they must present written justification if questioned by the police.
- Curriculum change helped French publishers to 4% uplift in 2016
- French publishers threaten to boycott graphic novels festival
- French digital bill 'threatens journals collapse', say publishers
- French publisher named in Panama Papers
- French publishers make staff part-time to secure government assistance