Libraries are regulated by the 1985 Historical Heritage Act, which gives a brief definition of these bodies and the terms under which they are set up, administered and coordinated, together with indications on how people can use their services. The 1985 Historical Heritage Act is complemented by a series of nationwide regulations governing such matters as specialist arm’s length institutions, with specific details on, for example, state-owned libraries and how books are to be loaned. With the objective of providing the National Library of Spain with the financial autonomy and the capacity to generate revenues that other national institutions enjoyed, the 1/2015 Act which regulates its functioning was approved and later on, in December 2016, its new statute (640/2016 Royal Decree).
As far as regional legislation is concerned, the dominant trend is to approve individual laws for libraries independently of national heritage legislation. The Communities with their own library laws are: Andalusia (8/1983 Act repealed by the 16/2003 Act), the Valencian Community (10/1986 Act annulled by the 4/2011 Act), Aragon (8/1986 Act repealed by the 7/2015 Act), Castile-Leon (9/1989 Act), Castile-La Mancha (1/1989 Act repealed by the 3/2011 Act), Galicia (14/1989 Act repealed by the 5/2012 Act), Madrid (10/1989 Act), La Rioja (Act 4/1990 Act), Murcia (7/1990 Act), Catalonia (4/1993 Act), Extremadura (6/1997 Act), Cantabria (3/2001 Act), Navarre (32/2002), Balearic Islands (19/2006 Act) and Basque Country (11/2007 Act).
Book publishing had been the subject of a specific piece of legislation in 1975, the so-called Book Act. Among other things, it introduced the fixed book price. This was partly relaxed in 1998, when booksellers were entitled to offer a discount of as much as 12% on the official retail price of primary and secondary schoolbooks and related teaching aids. In 2000, all price controls on schoolbooks were lifted. This double system of fixing book prices and making schoolbooks free of charge was included in the Act for Reading, Books and Libraries, which passed in June 2007. Besides the establishment of this double system of prices, the Act, which replaced all previous regulations, created a Reading and Book Observatory and included royalties for library loans, following the rules of the European Union. The aims of the Act are threefold: to promote reading, to defend cultural diversity in order to provide mechanisms which guarantee a plural supply of publishing companies and bookshops, and to adapt the book concept to changes facilitated by new technological changes.
Subsequently, Royal Decree 2063/2008 adapted the ISBN rules to the new concept of books established in the 10/2007 Act. For the first time, this Decree enabled editors, through their associations and appropriate agreement with the Ministry of Culture, to make an ISBN allocation by adopting the management model used in almost all European countries. More recently, the government approved the 23/2011 Legal Deposit Act aimed to adapt the current legislation to the reality of the State of autonomies, the emergence of new media, as well as to the changes in the publishing sector.
Some Autonomous Communities also have their own laws for books and reading. This is the case in Madrid (5/1999 Act), Valencia (3/2002 Act), Galicia (17/2006 Act) and Castile-La Mancha (3/2011 Act).