There is no question that France thinks of itself as a literary country. When visiting, one can not help but notice how many people one sees reading... in parks, in cafés or on public transportation. One also finds so many beautiful bookstores in France. There is a least one if not more in every town & city across the country. Last July the French government created a law banning discounted books & free shipping for on line books. This law aimed directly at Amazon was formed specifically to protect these small independent book sellers. You can read more about the law here.
These measures were taken not only to protect small business but more importantly to protect French culture & the very way of French life as they know it. At the same time the government declared books to be 'essential good' ...like food & other necessities, which can be taxed at a lower rate. The NY Times had two very good pieces on this subject which can be read here.
Two things I found interesting in reading these articles were:
"On average, a Frenchman reads 25 percent more books per year than an American does."
"In 2008... 14 percent of books published in France were translations from other languages: a key indicator of a nation’s intellectual curiosity and awareness. In the United States, the figure scrapes along at 3 percent."
One thing that I have noticed on a personal level is that when I am in France I read far more than I do when I am in the states. There must be something in the air.
I am linking this discussion of literary France with Paulita's weekly meme
Happy reading everyone!