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In January 2015 a new Libraries Act was implemented, addressing core functions as well as digitisation in the sector.

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Netherlands/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

In January 2015, a new Libraries Act is implemented: the Wet stelsel openbare  bibliotheken (Wsob). This new act defines the five core functions of public libraries as to promote reading and a taste for literature; facilitate learning; make available knowledge and information; promote art and culture; and organise social encounters and debate. The act also addresses the digitisation of the sector, which started in the late 1990s. To streamline and co-ordinate this process the Dutch public libraries set up the foundation (2009). They build a digital infrastructure in order to create one Dutch national digital library by connecting all (digital systems of the) Dutch public libraries. The law finally defines the roles of the various players within the national network. The National Library of the Netherlands [Koninlijke Bibliotheek, KB] is coordinating the new system that will be more efficient, cost effective and user friendly.

The 2005 Act on Fixed Booked Prices [Wet op de Vaste Boekenprijs] regulates the pricing of books and music publications in the Dutch and Frisian languages. The act is installed to prevent price competition and so to enhance a varied offer of books, which is broadly available. The Act on Fixed Book Prizes will be re-evaluated in four years' time (2019). In the meantime players in the book industry need to innovate and join forces; the Koninklijke Vereniging van het Boekenvak (KVB) takes the lead. The Dutch Media Authority [Commissariaat voor de Media (CvdM)] upholds the rules which are formulated in the Act on Fixed Book Prices. The act only applies to books on paper: e-books are excluded.

At the request of the Minister, the book industry set up its own knowledge and innovation centre, KVB Boekwerk, in July 2016. Its objective is to combine all available data, thereby improving the sector’s ability to position itself quantitatively describe or economically, socially and culturally.

Chapter published: 19-03-2017

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