Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

TALKING EUROPE

Louis Michel: 'Europe is not guilty' of Africa's failings

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Italy's Europe minister: 'Bold measures' needed to dismantle human trafficking

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Blur, Martin Gore and Moriarty

Read more

FOCUS

France steps up cyber defence in wake of attacks

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

End of an era as Volkswagen's Piech resigns

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Police beat kids in Guinea, and militias dynamite homes in Iraq

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Nepal vows not to be crippled by deadly quake

Read more

ENCORE!

Armenia, 100 years on

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Togo: Will President Faure Gnassingbe win a third 5-year term?

Read more

France

French senators pass ‘anti-Amazon’ law to protect small retailers

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-09

In a bid to protect France’s independent bookshops, the French Senate on Wednesday night approved a bill that would ban online book retailers from offering free delivery.

France has long protected small booksellers. Since 1981, a law has banned discounts on new books of more than five percent of the cover price, which effectively stops large chains from engaging in aggressive price wars with their smaller rivals.

But with huge growth in online sales, especially from Amazon, the game has changed.

Traditional booksellers in France claim Amazon and other web-based retailers are subjecting them to unfair competition by offering new books with a five-percent discount as well as free shipping.

The bill passed by the Senate, which was approved by France’s lower house of parliament in 2013, will forbid companies like Amazon from shipping to France for free.

Put forward by the centre-right opposition UMP party, the bill tweaks one clause in the existing 1981 legislation, forbidding retailers from offering the discount and free shipping at the same time.

It has enjoyed rare near-universal support across the political spectrum, both in the National Assembly and in the Senate. With the additional amendment, the bill now goes back to the National Assembly for final approval.

France has one of the highest number of traditional book shops in the world – with a total of 3,500, of which around 800 are single independent businesses.

This compares with the United Kingdom – which has less than 2,000 bookshops – whose numbers are being steadily eroded by web competition.

In France, book sales have slumped, with a 4.5 percent drop in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to government figures.

Data also showed that 17 percent of all book purchases in France were now online, and that figure was growing. In 2003, it was just 3.2 percent.

The new legislation is also unlikely to be the last of Amazon’s woes in France. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti has blasted the online retail giant for dodging French taxes by basing its operations in Luxembourg, and has said the government is looking at new ways to tax online players such as Amazon and Google.
 

Date created : 2014-01-09

  • FRANCE - BUSINESS

    No late-night shopping please, we’re French

    Read more

  • USA-MEDIA

    Amazon founder to buy Washington Post for $250m

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France hits Amazon with $252 million tax claim

    Read more

COMMENT(S)