We know from this 2016 survey that, with over 90 libraries per 100,000 residents, the Czech Republic is among the best nations in the world for book lovers; an inspiring new initiative by the Association of Czech Book Publishers and Sellers drives the point home.
The association recently put a proposal in motion that would give Czech employers the option of offering a job perk sure to please book-loving 9-to-5ers: a voucher system that would subsidize employee reading habits the way “stravenky” tickets are used for meals.
The amendment to the Income Tax Act was supported by politicians across the political spectrum; from July 1, employers may contribute toward the purchase of books in the form of a tax-deductible corporate benefit.
“Especially for employees with lower incomes and for families with children who cannot afford books, this is an important opportunity to invest in reading and learning,” association chairman Martin Vopěnka said in a statement.
He added that another aim of the amendement is to support smaller bookstores, many of which are struggling to survive.
A booklet of vouchers, similar to meal coupons, may be issued to employees who could apply them toward the purchase of books in stores.
The average price of a book on the Czech market is around 240 CZK. Czechs spend seven billion CZK annually on books; about a quarter of sales take place via the Internet. Publishers and booksellers hope the issuing of book vouchers will bring readers back into bookshops.
A list of English-friendly bookstores in the Czech Republic can be found here.