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Funding for Publishers May Lead to Drop in Book Prices

Minister of Education Lilja Alfreðsdóttir says she expects that the price of books in Iceland will decrease as publishers receive more grant funding from the government, RÚV reports. Grant funding for publishers is part of the ministry’s comprehensive action plan to promote the Icelandic language.

The minister presented this plan at the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute on Thursday. The plan is divided into several main areas of focus, including strengthening the book publishing industry, media, and Icelandic in the digital realm. The minister set forth 22 resolutions to help put this plan into action, including the promotion of Icelandic language education, as well as an increase in Icelandic-language cultural materials.

Starting in 2019, an annual amount of ISK 400 million will be invested in grants for Icelandic book publishers. It is the first time that funds of this magnitude have been invested in the local publishing industry.

Last year, the Ministry of Education submitted a proposal to parliament to abolish VAT on books, but this initiative failed to pass. She hopes, however, that the grant funding will encourage publishers to drop book prices on their own, even though they are not required to drop their prices in order to receive state funding. “It is in their hands but I think it’s imperative that they honor these measures [the ministry’s action plan] into account and take them into account.”

“I just trust that they will make sensible decisions where [prices] are concerned.”

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