Culture minister in cheap books row
10 September 2004, MADRID – Spain's culture minister was embroiled in an embarrassing row Friday after the director of libraries said the Socialists would fix the price of text books in a forthcoming law.
10 September 2004
MADRID – Spain's culture minister was embroiled in an embarrassing row Friday after the director of libraries said the Socialists would fix the price of text books in a forthcoming law.
Rogelio Blanco said the government's proposed Law of Books would fix the prices of books to save many small publishers from going out of business.
Blanco said an earlier agreement with the former Popular Party government to offer discounts on some books would mean only bigger booksellers would survive.
He added: "The bookshop is something linked to the life of the neighbourhood and its loss would not only affect jobs and business, but would effect the freedom of expression and creativity.
"It would contribute to the destruction of the small and medium-scale publishing companies."
Blanco's comments provoked anger from consumers groups which said people would have to pay more than they should, particularly for text books.
José María Múgica, director of the Spanish association of consumers, labelled the comments "reactionary".
But Carmen Calvo, minister of culture, was forced to put out a statement saying Blanco's comments were "mere reflections" and "in no way reflected any measure which was to be proposed by the government."
Beatriz Rodríguez-Salmones, Popular Party cultura spokesman, called for a "formal rectification" of the director general's comments from the government vice-president María Teresa Fernández de la Vega.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news