France Ends Ban on TV Ads for Books

31 December 2003

Under pressure from the European Union, France is lifting a 30-year ban on TV advertising for books.

Culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon has told publishers they can promote their books on television after the EU threatened the government with sanctions over its protectionism.

The first book ad -- a 30-second spot for the French version of the memoirs of Paul Burrell, a former royal butler in the UK -- will appear on January 1.

Small publishers are worried that the lifting of the ban will threaten their livelihood. They claim that expensive TV campaigns by larger rivals will swamp their launches and make it harder to introduce new authors.

However, publishers' union Syndicat National de l'Édition has agreed to limit TV advertising to cable and satellite channels, claiming a shift onto the big networks would be "disastrous" for smaller operators.

France has also been told to lift a ban on television ads for supermarkets, originally introduced to protect owners of small stores.

And the government is easing restrictions on promotion of the press as well. Advertising for newspapers will be permitted, but only if ads for alcohol, cigarettes and patented drugs are not visible on images of a title's front page. French broadcasting regulators must also decide whether the advertising of a newspaper story breaches the strict code governing political propaganda.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff