Reference French Bookshops: subsidy for the diversification and promotion of the French-language offer

To foster the availability of books in the French language abroad by facilitating the development of a network of approved bookshops (Reference French Bookshops) offering a rich and varied selection of works in the French language and actively engaged in their promotion.

Eligibility criteria

All bookshops whose head office and establishments concerned by the application are outside French territory, who have been in business for at least three years and who have obtained official recognition as a ‘Reference French Bookshop’

This subsidy is intended for projects to diversify the stock by including more categories and for the promotion of the French-language offer:

The diversification of the French-language offer:

Applications are eligible if the project:

  • represents the diversity of French editorial production (no more than 25% from the same publisher)
  • proposes a varied selection of titles (1 - 3 copies per title)
  • does not include works already acquired
  • concerns books exclusively for retail sale in the shop

Events designed to promote French literary creation in the presence or in association with publishing professionals (authors, translators, publishers).

Clearly identified and limited in time, these events can take many forms such as literary discussions, readings in the presence of the author, presentations of a Francophone author’s work by their translator, readings and interpretations by actors, operations specifically designed for children… They must take place within 6 months after the date of the commission and not be terminated when the application is submitted.

A maximum of three events can be submitted each session.

Ineligible: Expo-sales of books for specific professional categories and/or academics, signing or dedication sessions.

The creation or development of Internet sites designed to promote French literary creations.

The creation or development of thematic catalogues or newsletters designed to promote French literary creations.

For all projects, the following editorial categories are eligible: literature, children’s books, comic books, humanities and social sciences, quality illustrated books, practical books, scientific and technical works.

Ineligible: school books, FFL methods, academic manuals and titles in the catalogue of the ‘PLUS’ programme.

Admissibility and submission of the application dossier

Application dossiers can be submitted at each of the three sessions; the maximum subsidy awarded is set each year. However, when consecutive requests are made, the previous subsidy must be seen to be entirely implemented when the next dossier is examined by the commission.

The bookseller must supply:

  • the appropriate application form duly completed
  • an opinion from the cultural department of the French Embassy (optional)
  • a letter explaining the motives for the request (objective of the project, contents, target public, expected impact, nature of the diversification in relation to existing stock …) and, if relevant, description of the impact of the previous project subsidized
  • all administrative documents deemed necessary by the President of the CNL

For the diversification of the French-language offer

The selection of books concerned by the request. This list must mention the publisher’s imprint, the author, the title, the price and the quantity of each book and must be presented as follows:

  • lists of works established by the bookseller. They must indicate – for each publishing house – the author, title, unit retail price in France inc. VAT, quantities, total per title, total per publisher, total of the entire order. The application of the export price and the negotiation of discounts will take place when the order becomes firm and definitive;
  • or pro forma invoices established by distributers at the bookshop’s request. They must mention the publisher’s imprint, the author, title, unit export price, discount, quantities, total per title and per distributer, total of the entire order...

For projects concerning promotional events

  • date(s) location(s) of the projected event, description (theme, contents, name of participants, target public)
  • expected benefits in terms of sales
  • estimates for the main budget items
  • preliminary budget with details of costs (revenue and spending), financial partners and subsidies applied for, and, if relevant, the list of partners involved

For an Internet site project

  • detailed description of the content and site template
  • estimate for conception and maintenance

For thematic catalogue projects and/or newsletters

  • detailed description of the content and proposed lay-out
  • provisional print run and target public
  • provisional sales price and means deployed for distribution
  • production estimates (design, lay-out, printing)

Attribution criteria

Application dossiers are examined by the ‘French bookshops abroad’ commission 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

For the diversification of the offer

  • the economic viability of the bookshop’s project
  • quality and coherence of the bookshop’s project
  • suitability of the selection of works (quality, diversity, adaptation to the target clientele);
  • economic context
  • fair sales prices adapted to the market
  • bookshops having obtained credit insurance for publishers
  • opinion of the French Embassy in the country concerned

For the promotion of the offer

  • quality, diversity and continuity of promotional events focusing on French-language books and their authors
  • target public
  • aptness of the preliminary budget in relation to the nature and the scope of the planned event, the target public and the expected results in terms of sales
  • means deployed to promote the selection of books (backlists and new titles) and to strengthen the bookshop’s cultural role locally (diversity of the selection, presence of qualified personnel specifically for the event) in consideration of the size of the bookshop and its location
  • opinion of the French Embassy in the country concerned

Potential award amount

Diversification of the French-language offer

The subsidy is in the form of purchasing credits, not exceeding 50% of the total provisional purchases.

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

  • If the bookseller submits pro forma invoices, 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 with their estimated 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 1 500€.

The maximum annual subsidy is determined according to how many books in French the bookshop has purchased (average of purchases over the last 2 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€
  • 20 000€: purchases superior to 300 000€

Promotion of the French language offer (events, Internet sites, thematic catalogues and newsletters)

The amount of the subsidy is calculated on the basis of the preliminary budget; it cannot exceed 50% of the total cost of the project.

The minimum subsidy is 1 000€.

Payment details

Payment is made on reception of invoices (for completed projects).

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

  • for the diversification of the French-language offer: directly to distributers or publishers, the subsidy amounting to 50% of the sum invoiced. This operator will also be responsible for verifying that the invoices represent the lists of works presented and the respect of admissibility criteria.
  • for the promotion of the French language offer: directly to the supplier if they hold an account in France. If not, to the bookseller’s account. The subsidy will not exceed 50% of the sum invoiced.

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.

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 reserves the right to effect, or to cause to be effected by a partner, inspections by experts. The bookseller beneficiary undertakes to facilitate their task by providing access to all information which will assist the CNL, or its representatives, in assessing the respect of admissibility criteria and the accuracy of information given in the application dossier.

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

However, when consecutive requests are made, the previous subsidy must be shown to be entirely implemented when a new dossier is examined by the commission.