After a telephone meeting with the book unions (SLF, SNE, etc.), the retail chains (Système U, Carrefour, Leclerc, Auchan Casino, etc.) and Fnac, the ministers of the economy Bruno The Mayor and Culture Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin have decided, ” for the sake of fairness between supermarkets and independent bookstores, that the book and culture departments of large food and specialized supermarkets would be temporarily closed ».
This decision takes effect this Friday evening, October 30. She ” aims to restore a more equitable competitive situation between bookstores and retailers », Also explained the French Bookstore Union (SLF) in a press release. The Union, however, continued to alert, recalling that “ the closure of the book departments of all physical stores, if it partially re-establishes competition, offers Amazon “a boulevard” to the detriment of physical commerce ».
“Bookstores are not currently one of the open shops. But they will be able, like record stores elsewhere, to organize delivery and order pick-up activities, that is to say the click and collect », had specified the minister during the statement Thursday, October 29 of the modalities of confinement for businesses. The booksellers, who pleaded at the beginning of the week for maintaining the opening of bookstores, had Friday, October 30, expressed their anger and denounced the distortion of competition in the sale of books in hypermarkets, Fnac and press houses, while that independent bookstores were forced to close.
The wrath of independent booksellers
Fnac-Darty had indeed announced to keep its stores open during the reconfiguration, including its book departments, relying on the exemption granted to certain businesses to meet the needs of teleworking employees. “As a multi-specialist brand, we will be able to open our stores to meet the significant demands for IT / multimedia equipment for teleworking, as well as for the repair of electrical and electronic products”, had underlined the sign in a press release.
→ CONTEXT. Bookstores closed by confinement: Goncourt solidarity, Fnac opens despite everything
The bookseller Olivier Rouard, vice-president of the SLF, who directs the Charlemagne bookstores (in Toulon, Hyères, La Seyne, Fréjus and La Valette), interviewed by The cross Friday morning, had ruled inadmissible that the books are on sale in these places and on Amazon, while those whose core business is prevented from selling them. ” There is a manifest distortion of competition. The booksellers are the only ones who cannot sell books. Above all: booksellers have the will to open! »
“The book is a positive element”
The bookseller insisted on a situation very different from that of the first confinement: ” We have learned, we have equipped ourselves, and we are able to welcome our customers in strict compliance with health precautions. In the name of cultural diversity and the survival of independent bookstores, let us work! To ensure the sustainability of our businesses, and to allow the public to continue reading. In this complicated period, the book is a positive element. »
At the end of the morning, the general delegate of the SLF Guillaume Husson had indicated the determination of the union to challenge the government and President Emmanuel Macron. Throughout the day, many mobilizations have emerged, some elected officials calling for the reopening, such as Anne Hidalgo in Paris or François Rebsamen in Dijon.
Bookstores therefore remain closed for the moment, but a review of the situation will take place in two weeks concerning the opening of shops, in view of the evolution of the health situation. In this perspective, Bruno Le Maire and Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin announced that they would soon bring together all the players in the book industry to study with them the modalities of a possible reopening. In the meantime, all booksellers will practice withdrawal sales « click and collect », with possible orders on their respective websites, on the portals of independent bookstores and by telephone.