On 14 December, at the National Book Council, Frédéric Mitterrand announced several accompanying measures in favour of the bookshop and highlighted the decisive developments in book digitization projects as part of future investments.

As part of accompanying the increase in VAT on the printed book, Frédéric Mitterrand communicated the conclusions of the first part of the mission entrusted to Pierre-François Racine relating, in particular, to the deadline for the entry into force of the new reduced rate, which was extended to three months during the review of the amending finance bill. The Minister welcomes this development, which allows the industry to better cope with all the operations to be conducted in this framework, and hopes that the booksellers' margins will not be weakened.

The Minister has engaged the second part of the mission, which must specify the tax conditions of the returns, the methods of informing the consumer about the prices and the possible consequences of this increase on the remuneration of authors. An observatory will be created and placed with the State Councillor to monitor and analyse precisely the evolution of prices in bookshops during the first quarter of 2012.

The minister recalled the orientations he had drawn up during the National Meetings of the bookshop in Lyon and took stock of the measures implemented. In the next few days, he will designate a person responsible for deepening these orientations as part of a mission on the future of the bookshop. By the end of the first quarter, it will have to make innovative proposals in the area of bank financing for shops, improving their margins and allocating public aid. In the wake of the discussions already held on the creation of a mediation body for the book sector, responsible in particular for facilitating the implementation of the laws of 10 August 1981 on the price of books and 26 May 2011 on the single price of e-books, it will define, in agreement with the inter-trade, the tasks of such a body and its scope of intervention.

Frédéric Mitterrand also announced the launch of a specific study mission on the conditions for improving access of independent bookstores to book supply markets for public libraries.

Jacques Toubon, France’s Delegate for the Taxation of Cultural Goods and Services, presented Frédéric Mitterrand with the CGEFi’s report on the challenges of applying the reduced VAT rate to the digital book. The Minister of Culture has confirmed that VAT on e-books will be reduced from 19.6% to 7% on 1 January 2012. He recalled that he would be careful to see that this decrease translates into the development of a commercially attractive offer, as assured by the publishers.

The Minister welcomed the fact that France is responding to the challenge of mass digitisation with concerted, innovative and copyright-friendly solutions, as illustrated by the adoption at first reading by the Senate on Friday, December 9, of the law on unavailable books of the twentieth century. He praised the quality of the dialogue between authors and publishers in this ambitious project, a dialogue that also continues in a constructive way, within the CSPLA and under the aegis of Professor Pierre Sirinelli, regarding the publishing contract in the digital age.

Finally, Frédéric Mitterrand underlined the decisive role of the Commissariat général à l'Investissement in financing the project to digitise unavailable books, such as partnerships initiated by the BnF. In this regard, Bruno Racine, President of BnF, confirmed the creation of a wholly owned subsidiary of the institution, in order to ensure the valorization of its digitized collections and to receive the funding that the institution can mobilize in the framework of Investments for the Future.