A LAW just passed by the French parliament prohibits online bookshops, meaning Amazon, from shipping reduced books for free.
France's ruling saw the Socialist Party and the opposition UMP Party come together to approve a bill that prevents Amazon and other online booksellers from offering customers a free ride at the post office.
According to a report at France24, smaller bookshops have been concerned about the financial advantage that large players had over them.
They complained that discounted books and no shipping costs made it hard to compete with the giants and asked for the French parliament to provide a remedy.
This is what they now have. French MPs approved an update to a law from 1981, called the Lang Law, that now lets anyone add five percent reductions to the prices of books unless they want to ship them for free.
The rule does not apply to secondhand books, or other content that might be sold in secondhand stores, like music.
We have asked Amazon for comment. So far it has not responded, but we can assume that it will not be thrilled by the news.
In 2008 it found itself in a situation where, in order to resist attempts to encourage it to stop lowering prices, it was appealing and paying €1,000 per day in fines. That fine was applied for 30 days during the appeal process.
"As unbelievable as it appears, the free delivery of Amazon.fr is threatened," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in an email to its French customers. "France would be the only country in the world where the free delivery practiced by Amazon would be declared illegal." µ
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