“We are held hostage by these price increases”

It was in the presence of a heritage specialist that the ceremony took place, returning after two years away. Stéphane Bern, in his element at the Hôtel de Massa, even tries a bit of humour: “ I wondered if it was not the cap”Mr Heritage” which was attributed to me this evening, when I saw the nets under the frieze to be restored “.

The journalist and presenter, happy president of the jury for this 53rd edition, also gives us a word about his private library project on his property. ” The cabinetmaker is building the furniture, but it takes him a little time. “A pretty piece of furniture, it would seem, to slip in nearly 15,000 works: biographies, archives, novels…” It will be a historic library, in the heart of Perche “, he explains to ActuaLitté. A little aside, before rejoicing at the good news of the day: Sophie de Baer is the new winner of the Maison de la Presse Prize for The Glued Wings (JC Lattes).

I admit it: it was my favorite. I arrived tonight thinking “I hope others will like it“. […] What pleased me, as president, is the meeting with the booksellers: I did not measure to what extent they read the books with their guts: they put all their heart into it, they live through them. he admits.

As for the winner, in heaven, it was time to celebrate. After Olivier Norek, Valérie Perrin or Agnès Ledig, Sophie de Baer is delighted to succeed ” real shoess”. And to add: With the JC Lattès editions, we are delighted to be able to take this book where it could not have been taken. This is the strength of the Maisons de la presse. As the novelist remarks“sometimes they are one of the only places of culture in a village “. The opportunity, therefore, to reach a large part of the population, and to bring very current themes – homophobia, harassment – everywhere in France.

Facing the crisis

The strength of the Maisons de la Presse is indeed, at this time, a welcome help. For more than a year, a priori for publishing, a paper crisis, sometimes described as a shortage. In parallel with the strike by the Finnish papermaker UPM, which lasted 112 days, at the end of March the closure of some factories of the Finnish-Swedish Stora Enso took place, raising serious fears for the industry.

According to BFM-TV, the price of ink would also have increased by 12 to 15%. A next price increase will be effective from July 1st. ” We can absorb part of the increase, but not all. Explained the production manager of Bragelonne editions, Julie Alinquant. The rise in the price of raw materials makes professionals fear a gradual reduction in margins.

The period is not very encouraging from this point of view. This is why a price is all the more important commented Constance Trapenard, publisher at JC Lattès. ” We are in a context of declining bookstore traffic, so this is excellent news. »

The trend for the first quarter is downward in book sales, periodically during the election period. But it is now coupled with a rise in energy prices linked to the war in Ukraine and imports of Russian oil and gas. And here, implicitly, the rise in the price of paper, linked to logistical problems of routing and supplies, puts the whole publishing industry in trouble.

Right now, creativity is even more expensive “, underlines to BFM the commercial director of the papermaker Fedrigoni. ” On lambda paper, for manga, where we are at 70 or 80 grams, we are around a 20% increase. On low weights, when approaching Bible paper, for dictionaries, the increases are around 40%. »

For the director of the Maisons de la Presse, Olivier Pascal, the concern is more about consumers. ” As a bookseller, we are on a book market with a fixed price – inflation on the price of paper is therefore passed on to buyers. We end up selling more expensive books. he explains to us.

Good, the question is: what is the limit? Can we go up indefinitely? Or should we stop this increase? We are held hostage by these price increases. We are asking publishing houses, publishers and distributors to keep selling prices as high as possible, in order to continue to sell books on a massive scale – since we prefer to have a large clientele. »

The objective for the group: preserve the DNA of the house, with accessible books. We are very dynamic on the pocket, for example. »

Did the publishing house JC Lattès anticipate this price increase? ” No, we live with it, unfortunately. Constance Trapenard laments. ” We work day by day, but with perpetual adaptation and collaboration with distributors, offering to anticipate as much as possible. »

The difficulty, today, for certain professionals: to combine the repayment of the PGE (Loan Guaranteed by the State) with this price increase, profitable for the market. ” We are concerned, but to a lesser extent », concedes Olivier Pascal. “We are a press house – so, with the sale of newspapers, we were considered essential businesses. Our stores have all remained open during the confinements. Some traders [des maisons de la presse, NdR] were able to subscribe to the PGE, but there are no overly alarmist signals. »

While waiting to see the future progress of the market in the face of this crisis, the winner Sophie de Baer took advantage of her awards evening. Ready for this signing tour of France? ” No problem for me, I’m a teacher! she laughs. Before inviting everyone to dive into The Glued Wingsand, perhaps, in his words, to live “a torrent of emotions “.

Article co-written by Clémence Leboucher and Barbara Fasseur

Photo credits: ActuaLitté (CC BY SA 2.0)