Subsidies for the creation of French bookshops or the implantation of a French-language stock

To encourage the availability of books in the French language abroad by facilitating the creation and renewal of a network of approved bookshops, ‘Reference French Bookshops’, and the availability of books in French in international bookshops.

Eligibility criteria

All bookshops whose head office and branches concerned by the application are located outside French territory and who wish to develop an offer of books in the French language.

Relevant projects:

  • creation of French-language bookshops
  • development of an offer of books in French in international bookshops

The following costs are taken into consideration:

  • acquisition of initial stock followed by its diversification
  • computerization of the French stock
  • bibliographical selection tools to constitute the French stock
  • professional training of French-speaking personnel

A bookshop or a French-language stock is eligible for a subsidy for a period of three years after the date of its creation; after this date, recipient bookshops are invited to apply for official recognition as a ‘Reference French Bookshop’. If they obtain recognition, they will be eligible to receive the CNL’s general support programmes for French bookshops abroad (for the diversification and promotion of the French-language offer).

Admissibility of the application dossier

Applications can be presented each session for 3 years, the maximum amount of assistance being limited annually for the acquisition of books. However, when a second or third request is made, the previous subsidy must be seen to be entirely implemented at the time when the dossier is examined by the commission.

Applications motivated by the computerization of the bookshop, of bibliographical selection tools and training must:

  • include a description of the expected impact
  • describe the choice of material and/or the service provider

Applications motivated by the constitution of stock must:

  • represent the diversity of French editorial production (no more than 25% from the same publisher)
  • propose a varied selection of titles (1 - 3 copies per title)
  • not include works already acquired
  • be intended for retail sale in the shop

Applications concerning the acquisition of the following items of stock are not admissible:

  • titles in the catalogue of the “PLUS” programme (Programme de Livres Universitaires et Scientifiques, for the countries of French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and Haiti)
  • school books, FLE methods and academic manuals

The application dossier:

The bookseller must supply:

  • the appropriate application form duly completed
  • all administrative documents deemed necessary by the President of the CNL

For the constitution of stock:

  • details of all the books the bookseller wishes to acquire, presented in the form of a list of works with the retail price in France inc. VAT, or in the form of pro forma invoices established by distributers, with prices not inc. VAT, and discounts not inc. VAT. These detailed lists must mention the publisher’s imprint, the author, title and quantity of each work.

For the computerization of the bookshop, bibliographical selection tools and training:

  • a description of existing tools or training sessions already completed
  • detailed estimates
  • reasons for the choice and the expected impact from the development of new tools

In the case of a first application, for the creation of a French bookshop abroad:

  • the bookshop project: presentation of the firm, its competitive environment, expected development, the schedule of realization
  • photos and a plan of the shop
  • planned date of inauguration of the bookshop (4 months at the latest after the decision to grant a subsidy)
  • the curriculum vitae of the bookshop manager
  • the organisation chart and qualifications of the personnel
  • the financial plan
  • forecast annual income statements for 2 years

In the case of a first application, for the development of an offer of works in French in an international bookshop:

  • presentation of the bookshop and its general activity
  • the motives for implanting a French-language offer, the expected results
  • photos of the bookshop and a schema showing the setup of the offer of books in French
  • the curriculum vitae and job descriptions of those in charge of the stock of French books

Attribution criteria

Application dossiers are examined by the commission ‘French bookshops abroad’ which is made up of representatives of the administrations concerned, professional booksellers and other qualified members.

In view of the opinions given by the commission, decisions of attribution, refusal or adjournment are taken by the President of the CNL.

Assessment criteria

  • the economic viability of the bookshop project
  • the quality and coherence of the project
  • suitability of the selection of works (quality, diversity, adaptation to the target readership)
  • fair sales prices adapted to the market
  • suitability of the software and bibliographical tools chosen
  • suitability of the training chosen in relation to the activity of the bookshop
  • economic context
  • opinion of the French Embassy in the country concerned
  • qualifications of the bookseller, especially concerning French book commercialisation networks
  • skills and training of the teams: those receiving subsidies must be trained booksellers or be partnered in their project by a bookseller; the French stock must be selected and managed by French-speaking personnel.

Potential award amount

Awards are calculated in the following manner:

For the constitution of a stock

The subsidy takes the form of purchasing credits.

It cannot exceed 50% of the total provisional order.

The basis of the subsidy is calculated in the following manner:

  • If the bookseller submits pro forma invoices, the subsidy will be equal to the total of the invoices presented, the prices taking into account the discount granted to the bookseller by the distributer
  • If the bookseller submits lists of books, the price of the books being estimated at the retail price in France inc. VAT, a reduction of 33,33% is made on all the titles presented (average discount given by distributers to bookshops)

The minimum subsidy for the acquisition of books is 3 000€ for the initial stock and 1 500€ for following requests.

The maximum annual subsidy is determined according to how many books in French the bookshop purchases (a forecast for the first request, then real purchases for the two following years):

  • 5 000€: purchases less than 50 000€
  • 10 000€: purchases between 50 000€ and 100 000€
  • 15 000€: purchases between 100 000€ and 300 000€

Other costs

The award takes the form of a subsidy.

The amount cannot exceed 50% of the total of estimates submitted.

The maximum annual subsidy is 15 000€.

Payment details

Subsidies are paid on presentation of invoices (for completed projects).

The CNL reserves the right to withhold the subsidy if it transpires that the project has received another form of public financial support since the decision of the commission.

The CNL may entrust the management of subsidies to an external operator who will make payments on its behalf:

For the constitution of stock, potential amount:

  • directly to the distributers or publishers, after presentation of a copy of the invoices, the amount not exceeding 50% of the total.

The external operator will also be responsible for verifying that the invoices represent the lists of selected works and that they respect admissibility criteria (not more than 25% from any one publisher, maximum 3 copies per title).

For other expenditure, the subsidy will be transferred in one single payment, after presentation of a copy of the invoices, the amount not exceeding 50% of the total.

  • either directly to the supplier if they hold an account in France
  • or to the bookseller’s account

The CNL reserves the right to effect, or to cause to be effected by a partner, missions of expert inspection and control. The recipient bookseller undertakes to facilitate their task by providing access to all information which will assist the CNL or its representatives to assess how the criteria of admissibility have been respected and the accuracy of information given in the application dossier.

In application of the rules of public sector accounting, the amount of the subsidy may be reduced if the invoices are significantly inferior to the estimate upon which the amount was based.

All expenses related to the project must be settled within 12 months of the date of the commission.