Technology

France protects book industry from Amazon

As much as I like bookstores, this feels to me like too much protectionism.

Sophie Fornairon’s independent bookshop has survived the rise of Amazon thanks to a French law that prohibits price discounting on new books, but she says the e-commerce giant’s ability to undercut on shipping still skews the market against stores like hers.

Fornairon, who owns the Canal Bookstore in central Paris, now hopes that new legislation that would set a minimum price for book deliveries will even the contest further in the battle of neighbourhood stores against Amazon (AMZN.O).

French law prohibits free book deliveries but Amazon has circumvented this by charging a single centime (cent). Local book stores typically charge about 5-7 euros ($5.82-8.15) for shipping a book.

Amazon had lobbied hard against the legislation, worried the French move might set a precedent, the senator said.

Reuters

Amazon has used its scale to get ahead of independent bookstores in France. This is seen as unfair to the bookstores in France however Amazon also made a good argument that they advanced consumer welfare by having lower prices and convenience.

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