A survey by the Bulgarian Book Association found that the reduced VAT rate for books was the best help for the book business amid the pandemic. The sectoral organization of book publishers and traders said on Monday that the survey among its members was intended to register the state of play and trends in 2020.
The VAT rate for books was reduced from 20 per cent to 9 per cent as of July 1, 2020.
Campaigns for replenishing library stocks and programmes of the Culture National Fund were recognized as being effective by 20 per cent and nearly 8 per cent of respondents respectively.
Book publishers and traders said their business was impacted worst by shopping centre closures (52.4 per cent), the customers' lower spending power (47.6 per cent), and the cancellation of the country's largest book fair, the Sofia International Book Fair (44.4 per cent). These and other factors led to a drop in the titles published in 2020, according to 54 per cent of respondents.
Increased online sales are a notable trend, with nearly 70 per cent of respondents reporting a rise in their own online shops in contrast to in-store sales. Still, nearly half of respondents said sales from their own online shop accounted for a mere 10 per cent of their total revenues last year.