Monday, November 16, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be A French Bookstore

The Washington Post has a great article today about a small town's revival of a very small local bookstore. You can read the article here.  (The above photo is by Edward Cody of the W.P.)

It raises questions about French identity, government subsidies, local preservation, and small town survival.

In my limited European travels, one thing that truly makes an impression is the existence of small local independent bookstores. Of course, I seek them out. Every city, town, and village seems to have one, such as Roscommon, Ireland.

Many countries in Europe operate by different rules and customs. Germany, as an example, requires that books be sold at a fixed price. No discounts. Paperbacks are far more common everywhere -- even for new releases. The bottom line is that while bookselling is more highly regulated, competition appears to be greater. European consolidation in the publishing industry has not come close to the extent that has been reached in the U.S. Independents are far more likely to thrive.

- Dave

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