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MOC announces new initiatives to support publishing industry

  • Date:2023-09-06
MOC announces new initiatives to support publishing industry

With the goal of bolstering Taiwan's publishing industry, the Ministry of Culture’s new policies on enhancing digital reading and optimizing book procurement for public libraries were announced at a press conference on Sept. 5, which was attended by Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), Culture Minister Shih Che, cultural bureau directors from 21 counties/cities, as well as representatives from the publishing industry.

Starting in September, the new policies are implemented to guarantee equitable procurement contracts between publishers and public libraries; for instance, the price of the books acquired should not be subject to discounts exceeding 30%. Moreover, with MOC’s additional subsidy of NT$100 million, users of the e-book lending service can borrow digital copies without loan limits. Readers can read e-books without restrictions, and authors and publishers get paid when their e-books are borrowed each time. MOC hopes to contribute to the sustainability of the publishing industry and foster the development of digital publishing.

Vice Premier Cheng said that, by optimizing the book procurement process, publishers are ensured a reasonable book price. This approach helps to avoid price competition and ensures that poor-quality books do not dominate library acquisitions. The Vice Premier believes this move will benefit both physical and digital publications.

Culture Minister Shih said that, in response to the declining publishing industry, the industry must cease engaging in price wars and carry out digital transformation. Based on the sales figures of the publishing industry, Taiwan’s digital publishing production value only accounts for 4% of the overall publishing market by 2022, added Shih. A public library survey shows that, in 2022, the number of total borrowed books in the country reached 94.17 million, while the number of borrowed e-books was only 9.33 million, accounting for less than 10% of paper books, the Minister stated, remarking that the above figures may explain digital reading habits and the production value of digital publishing still have room for growth.

Minister Shih stressed that the new policies are not one-time incentives for digital reading. He hopes to revitalize the publishing industry through public libraries and promote the e-book lending service to cultivate readers’ digital reading habits. This will ensure that the publishers earn a fair profit.