The Ministry of Culture ends its relationship with the Book Quality Seal. The general director of the book, Olvido García Valdés, has met with representatives of the chambers of commerce of the book and CEGAL to put an end to the crisis. The director had announced in August that she did not believe in this project that aims to improve the competitiveness of business, with a budget participation of 30,000 euros from the portfolio directed by José Guirao. "We have dissolved the agreement that joined us to the Ministry since 2015," says Javier López, representative of CEGAL, to this newspaper.
Book merchants and publishers had already found a substitute for the ministry to continue with an initiative whose purpose is to audit libraries to make them more competent, with just 130,000 euros of budget per year. This newspaper informed of the pre-agreement to which they had arrived with Acción Cultural Española (AC / E), directed by the secretary of culture of the PSOE, Iban García del Blanco. Once this crisis has been put to an end, the participation of AC / E in the seal remains as guarantor of its continuation.
"We can continue the development. It is a very strategic project and we will maximize it. After the meeting, the dialogue on the other projects in the sector was resumed. We will sit down with the director next January. It is good news because we have resumed the dialogue and there is a positive change from the direction of the Book ", says López.
In the same meeting, García Valdés has informed the booksellers of the creation of an extraordinary budget item for the purchase of copies to equip the libraries. The Ministry will contribute three and a half million in the purchase of books for libraries through bookstores. It will be an amount that will be delivered to the library. It will not be processed before the second semester of 2019. "It is something more than an intention, but it depends on the approval of the General Budgets of the State of 2019", López concludes.
"It is a crucial sector for the Ministry. The discrepancy does not have the dimension that has been given to it. In the agreement it is clear that they are not interested in anything other than directing the purchase and we can not channel the sales. That seal channels attention in a small group of bookstores, "explains Olvido García Valdés to this newspaper by telephone at the end of the meeting. And he wants to clarify that it is not a personal matter: "It is not a decision of mine, it is a decision also of the minister".
The general director explains that the promise of 3.5 million euros for libraries to buy books is good news, although the budget is closed and has not been able to clarify where it will come from. "It is a commitment of the minister with bookstores and libraries. Because they are spaces of vital importance for our personal life. We want to promote bookstores, which are a fragile part of the industry ", added Olvido García Valdés.