In order to preserve “the small bookseller tradition,” the city of Paris has, through one of its redevelopment agencies, been buying property and commercial leases in the Latin Quarter and renting them to bookstores, the Globe and Mail reported.

“So far, the agency has spent about 3 million euros [about $4.2 million] to buy space in the Latin Quarter that it now rents to two bookshops and a small publishing company that specializes in hard-to-find literary classics. Four other property purchases are in the works.”

In 2000, the Latin Quarter had 300 independent bookstores; now there are 170. French bookstores are less affected by competition from the Internet and chains than their American counterparts. More crucial, especially in Paris, is rent.

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