British Booksellers Asks Government Funding to Curb

British Booksellers Asks Government Funding to Curb
Bernadine Racoma

France has recently pledged nine million Euros to fund its French booksellers. A portion of the funding will be used to usher traditional bookshops online and modernize them. Now, British bookshop owners are asking the UK government for funding as well in order to help booksellers in Britain stand up against

Threat to bookshops

British booksellers have referred to as “the destroyer of bookshops” and “the main threat to their business.” Tim Godfray, the Booksellers Association Chief Executive, said that more and more bookshops will be closing in Britain as Amazon pushes for expansion, and then agents and publishers will follow suit. The Booksellers Association in Britain has a membership of around 1,000 shop owners.

Currently, bookshops are being driven out of business at the rate of more than one a week. Last year, more than 73 independent booksellers in the United Kingdom closed down. Now the total number of bookshops in Britain is 1,028. In 2005, it was 1,535.

Protect independent bookshops

The owner of Broadway Bookshop in east London, Jane Howe said that independent bookshops are “at the heart of the community.” She stressed the urgent need for the British government to support small businesses such as independent bookshops. Howe added that it would be great if Britain would notice what France is trying to do.

Editor Philip Jones calls on the UK government to “wake up” and seriously consider following in the footsteps of the French. He added that the government needs to see the impact of the damage that has been causing retailers and the book trade in general. The government needs to be proactive in protecting “the whole high street,” he insisted. According to Jones, it would be “lovely” if the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller would speak openly about how important books are in their culture. He lamented that the British do not think of books as high culture as they do in Germany and France.

Virtual monopoly

Culture Minister of France Aurélie Filippetti has accused of instituting a “virtual monopoly” by undercutting its traditional rivals. In a speech delivered to booksellers in Bordeaux, the Minister says that Amazon has been dumping practices. It cuts down prizes in order to get a foothold on the market and then raise the prizes again soon after creating a monopoly. “Everyone has had enough of Amazon,” she said. “It is destroying the bookshops,” she added.

Minister Filippetti is a published novelist. Even before she has been heard to complain about Amazon and other companies for “disloyal competition” as they are not subject to the same tax laws as booksellers that have physical stores in France. She recently said that she is also considering banning Amazon’s free postage offers and end the 5% system discount on books.

Fixed book prices in France

In 1981, a law was passed in France that fixed book priced regardless of where they are sold. Today, customers can buy from a high street shop, a small bookseller, or an online retailer and the price for the books would be the same. The law also allows for a 5% maximum discount on books which Amazon takes advantage of so that it acts within the provisions of French law. But with Amazon’s offers of fast delivery and free postage on top of the 5% discount, local booksellers are having a difficult time competing.

Photo Credit: Bookstore in UK

Comment Below

More in Books


The Pavement Bookworm; Homeless Man is Now a Book Author

Bernadine RacomaOctober 2, 2015
Vintage Russian Books

English-Translated Russian Literature to be Published in the U.S. Soon

Day NewsJuly 2, 2015
Reading Books

Demand for Translated Foreign Books Increases in the UK

Bernadine RacomaAugust 28, 2014

Hugo Science Fiction Awards: American Author’s Book Hailed as the Best Novel

Bernadine RacomaAugust 18, 2014
librería en Francia

Francia: Ley Prohíbe A Librerías Virtuales No Cobrar Los Gastos De Envío

Mariana SarcedaJanuary 17, 2014
World’s Oldest Book

Oldest Book in the World Printed in America, Auctioned at $14.2 Million

Bernadine RacomaNovember 27, 2013

MySchool and Biblionef Work Together to Provide Storybooks to Children in South Africa

Bernadine RacomaJune 8, 2013

Google Boss Book Launching Attracts Royalty, Celebrities and More

Bernadine RacomaMay 30, 2013

Dan Brown’s “Inferno” Translated by 11 People in a Secret Bunker

Bernadine RacomaMay 5, 2013