Jul 23, 2018
Economist Jean-Guy Boin is the former Director General of the International Bureau of French Publishing (www.bief.org), the international promotion organization of French books. He has held various positions in the book sector: teacher and trainer, researcher specializing in publishing economics, general administrator of a publishing house of literature and human sciences, head of the department "book economics" department at the Ministry of Culture and Communication. He is the author of two books on "small publishers" (La Documentation française) and has written numerous articles on the economics of publishing, the bookstore and the distribution of the book.
We met in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood of Paris, home to fames literary cafes including Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, and le Procope, bookstores and publishing houses. We talk about, among other things, the French publishing experience, the Fixed Book Price, competition in service not price, books as an industry of supply, droit d'auteur and moral right, literary agents, translation, marketing as king in the U.S., Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens, Hachette, Editions Grasset, Emmanuel Carrere, the Gilbert and Companie bookstores, Amazon, and reading publishers' catalogues.
During our conversation Jean-Guy suggests that Richard Charkin thinks that getting rid of the Net Book Agreement in England was a mistake. I spoke with Richard about this. His response: "Bollocks. Absolutely no regrets. The French love regulations! Also, their international horizons are much more restricted than ours. How could we have retail price maintenance in the UK when there is no such thing in USA? US publishers would be flooding our market. Je ne regrette rien!"