Italy is to introduce tax breaks for bookshops, with independents eligible for up to €20,000. Chain bookshops will be able to claim an upper limit of €10,000.
The senate budget committee has approved the scheme, in an amendment to the 2018 budget, which will cut property and local services taxes for those who own their own bookshop, or offer tax credits for those who are renting their premises. A total of €4m has been put aside for the scheme in 2018, increasing to €5m a year from 2019.
The measure is said to have been introduced to stem a rash of bookshop closures.
Cristina Giussani, president of the Sindicato Italiano Librai, Italy’s independent booksellers association, welcomed the decision, saying bookshops contributed not just to access to culture, but also to the employment of authors, publishers and printers. She hoped other measures would be introduced in the next few years for the benefit of a sector “that is one of the pillars of the traditional Italian trade," she said.
Italian Publishers Association (AIE) president Ricardo Franco Levi commented: “Bookshops today represent one of the primary places for spreading culture and reading: it is therefore crucial to ensure fiscal support to safeguard their business."