Dr Kyra Dreher, managing director of the Retail Booksellers Committee in Germany, Fabian Paagman, c.e.o of boekhandel Paagman in the Netherlands and Jean-Luc Treutenaere, president of the Syndicat des Distributeurs de Produits Culturels in France, have been elected as the new co-presidents of the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF).
The trio, elected at the EIBF general assembly at the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday (8th October), replace retiring John McNamee.
Dreher said: “I am confident that our triumvirate is a winning formula: at a time where the book industry is undergoing spectacular changes, we need all energies and skills available for looking after booksellers’ interests". Paagman said he felt that the new co-presidents “represent three strong book markets in Europe”, while Treutenaere commented that "the diversity of our backgrounds and the richness of our respective experiences is an asset for EIBF.”
Oren Teicher, c.e.o. of the American Booksellers Association, remains vice-president in charge of International Affairs. Meanwhile Matthieu de Montchalin, president of the French Booksellers Association, and Jane Streeter, owner of The Book Case in Lowdham, UK, and former president of the BA UK & Ireland, have been elected to the Executive Committee.
The EIBF is also launching its “My Next Read” campaign today (9th), with the objective of raising awareness about the Book Charter that the EIBF has been working on. Website My Next Read explains EIBF's support for more bookshops, to offer a wider range of consumer choice, and for public libraries, as well as the organisation's call for reduced or zero VAT to apply to both paper and e-editions, and for e-book readers not to be locked into proprietary systems.
Treutenaere explained: “As booksellers, we are absolutely convinced that there is nothing more important for everyone in the book industry than to continually broaden consumer access to books. In a world that is changing rapidly, all of us - authors, publishers, booksellers, distributors, agents, librarians, etc - have an obligation to work together to ensure that nothing interferes with the ability of consumers to read what they want, when they want, in whatever format they want. And, at the same time, to recognise that despite all the leaps forward in technology, physical places - bookstores and libraries - remain the best places for consumers to discover books.”
Paagman added: “It is of paramount importance that consumers are guaranteed that they have easy access to books. With this campaign we want to raise awareness at two levels: with decision-makers, be it nationally or in the European institutions on one side, and with consumers and their representatives on the other side. They are our customers and they deserve to get the most from their reading experience. Some blockages must be removed: proprietary formats and high VAT on e-books are among the most important ones and we need consumers’ support on these issues, in their own interest.”
Dreher said: “Monopolies are not good as they eventually lead to less competition and less choice for consumers who must be guaranteed that they can buy their books at the bookshop of their choice: the more bookshops there are, of all kinds, the richer is the offer to consumers, who have the benefit of a variety of shopping opportunities and styles: 'My next read' campaign will allow consumers to express their support for a diversified cultural offer.”
She added: “In the next phase of this project, to come soon, we will be inviting not only readers but also the entire book community to make their voices heard and actively join the campaign.”