French culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand yesterday (16th May) called for publishers to increase booksellers' pay for their qualitiative work and for new measures to help shore up the sector, the French trade weekly Livres Hebdo reports.
Addressing the second day of a national conference organised by the French Booksellers Association (Syndicat de la Librairie Française, SLF), Mitterrand said that booksellers were "not recognised or valued enough".
There are many reasons for the profession to be worried, Mitterrand said. The recent study carried out by Xerfi, which showed that its profitability is dropping "should be regarded as a danger signal".
Urging all players concerned to draw up a new action plan, he warned that publishing creativity would suffer if the booksellers' network collapsed. Publishers have "considerable power" over discounts under the 1981 Lang Law that allows them to set book prices, he said.
Bookshops should be encouraged to tender for bulk sales to collective organisations, criteria for granting the LIR quality label should be eased, booksellers' social charges should be cut and "perhaps" a state mediator should be appointed to help them cope with digitisation, Mitterrand said.