Reading the Riot Act. Romanian publishers sue ‘corporate library,’ culture ministry for unfair competition

Sursa: Pixabay

Reading books is a somewhat of a rarity in Romania according to studies, so it stands to reason that publishers have to push to sell books.

Add a middleman to the mix, and the situation becomes even more difficult for them.

But Romanian publishers are hitting back and together with the country’s main publishing association are suing a library and the culture ministry for unfair business practices, Ziarul Financiar reported Tuesday.

And it’s not a small operation. Bookster, which was established in 2013, works with almost 1,000 companies.

More than 76,000 readers have borrowed from a library of 100,000 books.

The publishers launched the lawsuit in 2019 over concerns that the library was hurting already low sales. The Association of Editors in Romania says just 1.3 million people buy at least one book a year, which is just 6.5% of the population.

Ziarul Financiar reported that Bookster buys books online, and not directly from the publishers themselves, cutting them out even more.

They are also suing the culture ministry on the grounds that it gave Bookster a permit to operate as a library.

The publishers include Polirom, Humanitas, Rao Distribuţie, Nemira Publishing House and the Romanian Publishers’ Association.

Romania’s book market is worth between 80-100 million euros a year, according to finance ministry figures, although Eurostat puts the figure lower.

Bookster was set up by a group of people including Bogdan Georgescu, the former manager of real estate company, Colliers International Romania.

Romania has one of the smallest book markets in the member European Union in terms of the number of readers and value.

Unfair competition is a term that applies to dishonest or fraudulent rivalry in commerce. It particularly relates to the practice of endeavoring to substitute one’s own goods or products in the market for those of another for the purpose of deceiving the public.


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