Measures related to reading and books
The books and reading sector is mainly under the responsibility of the Ministere de la Culture et des Communications (MCC), whose mandate is to ensure that Quebec's entire population has access to books and reading. To achieve this, the actions carried out by the MCC and its state-owned enterprises (notably the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec [CALQ], the Societe de developpement des entreprises culturelles [SODEC] and Bibliotheque et Archives nationales du Quebec [BAnQ]) are focused on public libraries, authors and commercial stakeholders in the book supply chain (publishers, distributors and bookstores) with accreditation within the meaning of the Act respecting the development of Quebec films in the book industry. Since 1998, the Politique de la lecture et du livre (available online in French only) policy on reading and books has guided the government's actions to reaffirm and promote reading as an essential cultural practice and improve access to books for all Quebeckers.
In recent years, the book industry has had to face significant challenges, notably because of the rise of digital technologies and changes to consumer habits. lt was therefore necessary to continue efforts to support a sector that plays a vital role in the health and development of Quebec culture. In April 2015, the government therefore adopted the Plan d'action sur le livre (action plan on books, available online in French only) to breathe new life into this sector. One of the purposes of this plan is to improve access to books and support Quebec publishing through five measures for authors, publishers, bookstores, public libraries and regions. Another goal of the plan is to optimize the performance of accredited bookstores in Quebec through seven measures targeting the various factors that make bookstores vulnerable. lt draws support from the principle that the success and vitality of Quebec's accredited bookstores and book industry in general are a shared responsibility of the government, stake holders in the book supply chain and consumers.
The MCC manages financial assistance programs (available online in French only) for independent public libraries and regional public library service centres.
The CALQ offers several creation award and grant programs to artists, writers and organizations.
For the book industry, the MCC administers the Act respecting the development of Quebec firms in the book industry and regulations concerning bookstores, distributors, publishers and institutional buyers. The purpose of the Act is to maintain a commercial balance between the sector's stakeholders and to ensure that books are available at a reasonable price throughout Quebec. Accredited companies under the Act are eligible for financial aid from the SODEC. Among other things, eligible Quebec publishers may take advantage of the publishing tax credit managed by the SODEC.
The Plan d'action sur le livre (action plan for books) includes 12 measures. The purpose of the first category of measures is to promote Quebec bookstores and writers, foster the implementation of regional projects promoting books and reading, facilitate access to tax assistance for book publishing, and to support public libraries in purchasing printed and digital books. The purpose of the second category is to optimize the performance of accredited bookstores, notably by supporting innovating digital developments, supplying bookstores with measurement tools to improve their performance and adjusting government assistance programs to the sector's new realities.
Internationally, the Quebec government is ensuring that Quebec books are promoted, notably through the Protocole d'entente au soutien des activites de promotion de la librairie du Quebec a Paris (protocol on the agreement in support of promotional activities for Quebec bookstores in Paris).
Through its programs, measures, legislation and policies on reading and books, the Government of Quebec hopes to improve Quebecker's access to books and reading, promote Quebec publishing and ensure the development of Quebec businesses in the book sector, including accredited bookstores, while adjusting to new consumer realities stemming from the rise of digital technologies. The main expected results, notably through the Plan d'action sur le livre, include:
- increased appreciation of Quebec bookstores and authors in traditional and social media;
- better representation of Quebec writers in accredited bookstores;
- increased support for book and reading promotion and activities through regional cultural development agreements;
- better availability of printed and digital books in public libraries;
- simplified management of publishing tax credits;
- better digital collection for Quebec's accredited bookstores;
- higher quality services in accredited libraries through their use of integrated management software, high-performing equipment and online presence;
- availability of financial assistance tailored to new realities that are consistent with the plan's objectives;
- an assessment of opportunities to adjust legislative and regulatory levers.
Plan d'action sur le livre: $CAD 12.7M$ for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 SODEC (2014-2015):
- $CAD 5.9M in financial assistance programs for the book and specialized publishing sector;
- $CAD 2.2M in funding for companies in the book sector;
- $CAD 818K in assistance programs for cultural promotion and export for the book and specialized publishing sector.
Data were taken from the SODEC's 2014-2015 annual report.
- $CAD 2.1 M in support for organizations in the book and reading sector;
- $CAD 1.3M in support for professional writers and artists in the book and reading sector.
Data were taken from the CALQ's 2014-2015 annual report.
Protocole d'entente au soutien des activites de promotion de la Librairie du Quebec a Paris 2014-2015: $CAD75K
Financial assistance programs for public libraries are subject to periodic assessments according to a set departmental schedule. The results of those assessments are used to periodically update and adjust these programs.
An assessment framework will also be used to measure the progress made towards the objectives in the Plan d'action sur le livre once the measures have been implemented.