Bookshops in Europe come out fighting
by FFE EU News staff
Bookshops all over Europe are fighting for their life as they face a huge threat against the Internet. The traditional book market has been seeing a slump as internet book sales increase, but bookshop owners and enthusiasts are not willing to give up the fight.
The figure for independent bookshops is not dropping, said the national trade union of French bookshops. Despite seeing local bookstore owners experience a difficult climate due to competition from the internet, Mathieu de Montchalin, president of the French union of bookshops, said that ‘France is one of the only countries in Europe, with Germany, which is succeeding in stemming the fall in the book market.’
Campaigns and events like the UK’s ‘Books are my Bag, France’s Fete de la Librairie festival and Germany’s Frankfurt Book Fair keep the sector alive. According to German Publishers and Booksellers Association, German bookstores have seen a slight increase in sales, showing seller ‘self-confidence.’
President Gottfried Honnefelder of the German books association said that it is important for the fixed price agreement on new books to remain as this will sustain independent shops in the long run. Internet giants like Apple, Amazon and Google have put pressure on the EU Commission to change this policy, a move that Honnefelder said will ‘[aid the] manipulative power of money [to] gain ascendancy over the intellect.’
Policy-making bodies, however, are siding with bookshops. In France, lawmakers have restricted Amazon from changing their pricing discounts. Bookstore owners, meanwhile, have also used the internet to their advantage. 100 French independent bookshops, for example, have formed the site Leslibraires.fr to make their stocks more visible to customers.