French Senate Votes for Fixed E-book Prices

In Global Trade Talk by Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije

France has been looking for ways to protect smaller booksellers and publishers from giants such as Amazon, Apple and Google, and last night the French Senate unanimously voted approval for the proposition of a law that would fix prices for e-books. Until now, e-books were not included under the famous 1981 Lang law that prohibits the sale of books for less than 5% below the cover price.

The Minister of Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand, expressed his pleasure at the outcome of the vote however the French publishing website Actualitté called it a “catastrophe” citing protectionism but also the fact that libraries will not be able to offer e-books as soon as they are released due to an article in the proposed law.

ADDENDUM (added October 28, 2010):
According to Nicolas Gary of Actualitté, the story cited above does not say the law “forbids” libraries from acquiring e-books when they are released. Actualitte´was referring to an older proposition of the law which stated that libraries could only buy grouped offers for e-books from companies after a certain amount of time. It has apparently been modified in the newer proposition.

About the Author

Olivia Snaije

Olivia Snaije is a journalist and editor based in Paris who writes about translation, literature, graphic novels, the Middle East, and multiculturalism. She is the author of three books and has contributed to newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Global Post, and The New York Times.