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French Pass “Anti-Amazon” Law Ending Discounts and Free Shipping

By Edward Nawotka

FranceOn Wednesday, the French parliament passed a long-debated law that will end Amazon.com’s ability to offer a combined 5% discount and free shipping on books shipped to France, according to Livres Hebdo (as translated on Frenchculture.org).

France’s fixed book price law, dubbed “The Lang Law,” was passed in 1981 and allows for a maximum 5% discount under varied positions.

“The ‘Anti-Amazon Law,’ was created to prevent ecommerce sites like [the American giant] Amazon from stamping out the iconic network of independent French bookshops that currently struggle to compete,” wrote Livres Hebdo.

French Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti commented: “As we have just seen again, laws pertaining to the book economy always generate consensus, if not unanimity. This is a sign of our deep attachment to books in this nation, and it demonstrates the belief that France builds itself through its past and its future.”

France has some 3,500 bookshops in France, including 800 independent stores.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Well done France. A major role of any government is to govern: in the engineering sense of keeping excesses in check (machinery going too fast, too slow) and the French Government have well understood this in relation to their book industry. This is interventionism in the right place, at the right time: government. A pity that we do not have such an understanding and empathy for the public need expressed by the UK’s present Conservative Administration.

  2. Posted June 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I expect that Amazon will push back by delaying delivery and suspending the sales of French books, the same way they have done with individual publishers. The best way to deal with Amazon is to not deal with Amazon, and look to smaller retailers with a better grasp of business sense and the law. This measure is no surprise to me, and may serve as a wake up call to Amazon that it must play fairly in the business sandbox.

    • Henry Mensch
      Posted July 5, 2014 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      I think this proposed reaction by Amazon may matter less to the French market (in part because of this new law) and may create problems for Amazon in its other EU operations. Amazon will have to offer as much value as the local brick-and-mortar stores do, and I think that will be difficult.

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