The government decree confirms the authorization to sell books in all open spaces cultural policy

The decree regulating the new state of emergency, signed by the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic (PR) and published this Saturday morning, provides that the Minister of Economic Affairs can, by order, prohibit the rooms still for sale “goods that are normally in facilities are traded “that are forced to close,” excluding books and school supplies that must be available to students and citizens in general “.

António Costa had already stated at the press conference following the Council of Ministers this Thursday that the government must comply with the restrictions imposed by the presidential decree, and with regard to the exception now created for books, this diploma is transcribed ipsis verbis o that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa then wrote.

However, if the PR imposed the book as an exception for goods that the government did not consider essential and which until now could not be sold in so-called multi-product spaces to avoid market distortions – from hypermarkets to FNAC, including El Corte Inglés or words also created the conditions for bookstores to become some kind of ironic negative exception, as the only places exclusively dedicated to selling books are now precisely the only ones that cannot sell them.

António Costa seems to have accepted this presidential exception somewhat involuntarily. “The President of the Republic has banned us from banning the sale of books,” the prime minister told reporters and the country on Thursday in a somewhat ironic choice of words, although the allusion to the famous May 68 slogan did been involuntary. And the now published decree, dated Friday, seems to give bookstores no hope that they will be able to open their doors soon, stating right at the beginning that “it is not recommended (…) to reduce measures that do this have done was accepted ”.

Both the Portuguese Association of Publishers and Booksellers (APEL) and the Independent Bookstore Network (RELI) have defended the reopening of bookstores, and APEL has already shown itself to be available to work with the government in planning this move and allowing an intermediate product Period of time they could only sell at the door or the wicket. What distinguishes APEL’s position from RELI’s is that the first defends that the closure of bookstores should not be a reason to prevent other spaces from selling books, a scenario that the second “absolutely rejects” in the hope that “the state fulfills its functions of ensuring compliance with the competition law, particularly with a view to healthy competition. “

RELI sent a statement to the press this Friday stating that “if there is a permit to sell books, opening bookstores should be considered first” as they are “the place to be for selling” books and the only one in which all catalogs of all editions are represented, all authors, proofreaders and translators, from small, small, medium or large publishers as well as author editions, contrary to the offer that exists in other commercial areas. “.

Recognizing that the book is “an essential good” and therefore needs to be available to all, RELI defends “the full opening of bookstores to the public” so that it can “regain access to the physical book at your local Bookseller ”. The statement also emphasizes that “bookstores have never closed, they have merely reinvented the ways in which books are distributed” and that RELI has “sought greater dignity in the industry with fair, clear and enforced rules by all” and that “So this is the case, with great confusion”, “facing the possibility that books can be sold in all places except … in bookstores”.