Dublin Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe has welcomed a new European Parliament report that calls for EU governments to provide more funding and other important support to bookshops and the book sector at large. In a near-unanimous result, MEPs backed measures that would recognise books as essential goods; provide more dedicated funds for the sector; and support the translation of books into regional languages.
Reacting to the result, MEP Cuffe said:
“The book sector is facing a lot of challenges, particularly with the rise of digital technologies and big online players like Amazon. Ten years ago, the growing popularity of e-books was a major concern. Today however, physical books are as big as ever and that’s a testament to the resilience of the industry, the quality of the books they are producing, and the thousands of workers that keep it going.
“There are a lot of ideas in this report that are worth exploring, including creating an independent bookshop label; supporting small and micropublishers to meet high costs; helping the translation of books into regional languages; and creating cultural book vouchers for young people and marginalised groups.
“Bookshops are cornerstones of our local communities and in Dublin, we are lucky to have so many to choose from. In the city centre, Books Upstairs, Chapters, and the Winding Stair are havens from the noise and rush of the city, creating much needed spaces to unwind, meet friends, and share ideas. Creating a label for independent bookshops would be a great start to help promote their visibility, but it should also come with more dedicated funding. Ireland’s small and micropublishers are also doing fantastic work in the face of high costs and strong competition. We need to do more to make sure they have resources they need to meet these costs, and continue their valuable work.”
The European book sector is one of the largest cultural and creative industries in the EU, employing more than half a million people and publishing around 600,000 titles every year. The European Parliament report, named Report on the Future of the European Book Sector, was adopted by a strong majority of MEPs, counting 513 votes in favour and 11 votes against.