Specifically in the case of books, the government priorities have been national and international promotion, as well as the promotion of reading and Spanish literature. In recent years, the government has supported the publishing industry in its adaptation to the digital environment. There are specific aids for the modernisation and digitisation of cultural industries and negotiations to achieve, within the framework of the European Community legislation, the same taxes for conventional books and digital books regardless of their form of commercialisation. In addition, the Ministry has continued supporting the internationalisation of the Spanish book industry through its presence in international book fairs and through the dissemination of Spanish books and literature). For this support, the Ministry collaborates with the network of the Cervantes Institute, cultural centres and universities in Latin America.
In the specific area of the promotion of reading, the Reader’s House opened in Madrid in November 2012 as a cultural centre aimed at facilitating the meeting of the public in general and the professional world. In 2017, a new Plan for the promotion of reading 2017-2020 was launched by the Spanish Ministry. Also at the central level, the Maria Moliner Campaign (which has been organised by the Ministry since 1998) seeks to promote reading in towns of under 50 000 inhabitants.
Various schemes for encouraging book reading have also been explored at the regional level, such as the plans implemented in Andalusia (2000-2004, 2005-2010, 2012-2013), Extremadura (2002), Castile-La Mancha (2005), Murcia (2005, 2017-2019), Madrid (2006-2017) and Catalonia (2008, 2012-2016, 2017-2020).
At legislative level, the Spanish book industry benefits from the Ministry’s “cultural exception” policy, with fixed book prices and the Reading, Books and Libraries Act, passed in 2007, which promoted the creation of a Reading and Book Observatory (see chapter 4.2.5).
The proposal of the Council of the European Union to reduce the VAT for electronic books and other electronic publication has not been incorporated to Spanish legislation, though the current government has included it in the Proposal for General Budget for the year 2019 (under negotiation).
A recent overview of the whole sector can be found in AC/E 2018 Yearbook which focuses on readers in the digital age.
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