• France edition
 
France targets Amazon in bid to protect bookstores
French lawmakers to target Amazon in bid to protect independent book stores. Photo: Aurelijus Valeisa/flickr

France targets Amazon in bid to protect bookstores

Published: 03 Oct 2013 12:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Oct 2013 12:40 GMT+02:00

The bill, which was crafted by the main opposition right-wing UMP party but also has the support of lawmakers on the left, aims to put an end to what some criticise as unfair competition for traditional bookstores.

It will seek to restrict the likes of Amazon from combining offers of free deliveries with discounts of up to five percent on books, which is allowed under existing French legislation.

Amazon was scathing in its response. "Any measure aimed at raising the price of books will only reduce French people's spending power and introduce discrimination against online consumers," the company said in a statement to AFP.

The bill was unanimously adopted by France's lower house National Assembly on Thursday and was welcomed by independent bookstores like Shakespeare and Company, in Paris.

In 1981, the government ruled that editors must set a unique selling price for their books in a bid to protect small retailers, and set a limit of five percent on any discount.

"We greatly appreciate the efforts France makes in trying to protect bookstores," Shakespeare and Company's Terry Craven told The Local. "The fixed price law has helped keep us alive, which has not been the case for independent bookstores in other countries, like Britain.

"The interesting thing is that the growth of huge companies like Amazon actually creates new niches for people who look for the exact opposite, like a bookshop that is like a community where people can come in and talk to a human."

Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti has criticised Amazon's practices in the past, blasting free deliveries or the firm's policy of "tax optimisation." Filippetti made her feelings towards Amazon quite clear earlier this summer when she said the online retailer "destroys" bookshops.

"Today, everyone has had enough of Amazon, which, by dumping, slashes prices to get a foothold in markets only to raise them once they have established a virtual monopoly," Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said.

"It is destructive for bookshops," the minister told a conference of booksellers on Monday in the southwestern city of Bordeaux.The American giant reports its European sales through a Luxembourg-based holding company, taking advantage of the tiny Duchy's relatively low corporation tax rates for earnings outside its borders.

SEE ALSO: The 10 best books about France

Amazon insists the arrangement, which has been criticised by politicians across Europe, is legal under the European Union's single market rules.

During the parliamentary debate preceding the vote Thursday, Filippetti blasted Amazon for its "dumping strategy" and for selling books at a loss.

"Once they are in a dominant position and will have crushed our network of bookshops, they will bring prices back up," she said. 

Christian Kert, a lawmaker from the main opposition right-wing UMP who tabled the bill, said online retailing was the only sector in the book market that was on the rise.

"It's hard for independent bookstores to find their place as their return on investment is very low," he said.

The French government has recently been at loggerheads with a number of American companies including Google, Yahoo! and Apple.

Last week, for instance, the country's data protection watchdog announced it would take action against Google for failing to comply with national privacy guidelines - a process that could see the US giant fined €150,000 ($204,000).

The French are not just protective over independent bookshops. They are also very protective about their language against the influence of English. The move to protect French is an ongoing battle for the language police.

Check out this list of Ten of the latest English Terms the language police want barred from French.

 

Don't miss a story about France - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France may ban violent Jewish fringe group
An violent Jewish 'self-defense' group may be banned in France. Photo: Screengrab/LDJ

France may ban violent Jewish fringe group

The French government is considering banning a violent, extremist Jewish ‘self-defense’ group that has been involved in recent violence against pro-Palestinian demonstrators. Similar groups have already been banned in Israel and targeted by the FBI in the United States. READ  

Paying ransoms
France 'world’s top payer' of ransoms for hostages
Did France pay a ransom to free four hostages who spent three years in captivity. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

France 'world’s top payer' of ransoms for hostages

France has paid out $58 million to free hostages since 2008, putting it top of the world rankings for ransom payments, according to a media report. Although the French government has angrily denied the claims, critics says the policy is creating a lucrative hostage industry. READ  

Tired French burglar falls asleep during break-in
A sleeping French burglar woke up to the police. Photo: Quinn.anya/Flickr

Tired French burglar falls asleep during break-in

A suspected burglar took a nap while robbing a house in France this week and when he woke up the police were waiting for him. It’s just the latest case of criminals choosing an inopportune time to nod off. READ  

Nudity on the beaches of France: Dos and don'ts
Here's what you need to know about getting naked on French beaches. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Nudity on the beaches of France: Dos and don'ts

France is world famous for its topless and nudist beaches, even if French ladies are increasingly keeping their swim suits on. Here’s what you need to know about dropping your top (or bottoms) on French beaches. READ  

Peeing man drowns after being pushed into Seine
Police are looking for whoever pushed a man from behind into the River Seine, leading to him drowning. Photo: Dany13/Flickr

Peeing man drowns after being pushed into Seine

A man drowned in the River Seine early on Wednesday in Paris after he was pushed into the water from behind while he was peeing, French media reported. Police aren’t sure if it was a prank gone wrong or a violent reprisal. READ  

France pulls French and British out of Libya
Libyan security services and civilians gather across the street after a car bomb attack on the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya on April 23rd, 2013. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

France pulls French and British out of Libya

The French government announced on Wednesday that it had pulled around 50 French and British nationals out of Libya. Paris's decision to evacuate its nationals comes amid a rise in violence in the strife-torn North African country. READ  

'Museum shooter' faces terrorism murder charge
Terror-related murder charges have been filed against a Frenchman for the Belgian museum killings. Photo: AFP

'Museum shooter' faces terrorism murder charge

Prosecutors have charged a Frenchman with "murder in a terrorist context" for the attack on a Jewish museum in Belgium that left four people dead. The suspect spent a year fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria before returning to Europe. READ  

French sites pillaged by wannabe archaeologist
A Frenchman is in a big trouble for using his metal detector to 'pillage' archaeological sites. Photo: Jesshg/Flickr

French sites pillaged by wannabe archaeologist

A wannabe archaeologist is on trial in France accused of looting some of the country’s best historical sites after being caught with thousands of ancient artifacts. Experts say France is facing an epidemic of archaeological pillaging. READ  

French celebrate freedom from hungry tax man
French workers are now free from the tax man until the end of the year, according to an economic study. Photo: AFP

French celebrate freedom from hungry tax man

French workers can now celebrate being free from the burden of the tax man because for the rest of the year, they won’t pay another cent in taxes, an economic study claims. The Belgians however still have a bit of work to do. READ  

Gaza crisis
Jewish groups call for Pro-Israel march in Paris
Up to 6,000 pro-Israel protesters march through Marseille. Paris will see its own pro-Israel march take place on Thursday. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP.

Jewish groups call for Pro-Israel march in Paris

France’s main Jewish organisation has appealed to all the “friends of Israel” to turn out for a rally outside the Israeli embassy in Paris on Thursday. It comes as Muslim groups call for a right-wing Jewish militant organisation to be banned in France. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Culture
Why are the days of going topless in France coming to an end?
Travel
Reckless or adventurous? US dad takes his two children up Mont Blanc
National
From manure to money: Ten bizarre facts about the French Parliament
Culture
Tourists picnic with rats in Louvre gardens
International
Is France really Europe's biggest public spenders?
National
Could your job in France soon be done by a robot?
National
Why you should think twice about feeding stray cats in France
National
And the new redrawn map of France will look like...?
Politics
Is French President François Hollande about to tie the knot?
International
Want a long-term visa? You may soon have to take a French test
International
Votes for foreigners: 'France would be giving up its sovereignty'
National
VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto a moving Paris metro... and survives
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se