• France edition
 
Amazon defies France with 1 centime deliveries
Amazon is offering deliveries for one centime to counter a French law that cracks down on free deliveries. Photo: Aurelijus Velaisa/Flickr

Amazon defies France with 1 centime deliveries

Published: 11 Jul 2014 09:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Jul 2014 09:31 GMT+02:00

Online retail giant Amazon has defied a French law banning free deliveries by charging customers just one centime to send out orders.

France's parliament last month voted a law aimed at supporting small bookshops that bans online giants such as Amazon from delivering books without charge, but allows them to set discounts of up to five percent, the maximum allowed under existing French legislation.

The new law came into force several days ago, and users now ordering books online are being charged one centime for delivery.

In its "Frequently asked questions" section, Amazon's French site says that since the July 8 law, "we are unfortunately no longer allowed to offer free deliveries for book orders.

"We have therefore fixed delivery costs at one centime per order containing books and dispatched by Amazon to systematically guarantee the lowest price for your book orders."

While the law is not specifically aimed at Amazon, Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti has singled out the US giant's practices in the past, attacking it 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 forecast last year.

Filippetti has made her feelings towards Amazon quite clear 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," she said.

France is proud of a network of bookstores it says is "unique in the world" and crucial for culture to reach small towns.

The country has about 3,500 such stores - including 600 to 800 so-called independent retailers that do not belong to a publishing house, a chain or a supermarket - compared to just 1,000 in Britain.

In 1981, the French 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.

The bill has been welcomed by independent bookstores like Shakespeare and Company, in Paris.

"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."

Don't miss stories about France, join us on Facebook and Twitter

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

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Air France strike to continue another week
Air France pilots have voted to continue their strike for another week. Photo: AFP

Air France strike to continue another week

Air France pilots voted on Friday to extend their strike for another week, while management has showed no signs of compromising, according to French media reports. Roughly half of the flagship carrier's flights have remained grounded due to the action. READ  

‘Red tape France’ tops UN e-efficiency list
France apparently isn't the world capital of red tape. Photo: Department for Communities and Local Government/Flickr

‘Red tape France’ tops UN e-efficiency list

France, notorious for its jungle of red-tape, has apparently been undersserving of some of that criticism. A new report ranks France as the best country in Europe when it comes to online government services. READ  

Sarkozy announces his return to French politics
Nicolas Sarkozy is back in French politics. Photo: AFP

Sarkozy announces his return to French politics

In a long-expected announcement, Nicolas Sarkozy said he will return to French politics with a bid for his party's presidency, which many believe is the first step toward a run at France's top elected office. READ  

Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
The days of the love locks craze in Paris may be numbered. Photo: AFP

Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze

'Love locks' have become such a problem in Paris the city has just installed panels intended to block couples from latching their passion to the town's infrastracture, leaving it straining under a dangerous load. READ  

Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
Photo: Heel: Shutterstock

Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack

A Paris taxi driver has died after angry passengers beat and stabbed him with stiletto high heel shoes during a drunken night out in the French capital. READ  

France launches first bombing runs on Isis
France got praise from US President Barack Obama for its decision to bomb Isis militants. Photo: Jean-Luc Brunet/AFP

France launches first bombing runs on Isis

France launched its first airstrikes on Friday against the Isis militants who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria. Word of the bombing came less than 24 hours after French President François Hollande promised military action. READ  

French crook fakes his funeral to escape cops
The reports of one French crook's death were, it turns out, greatly exaggerated. Photo: Graves: Shutterstock

French crook fakes his funeral to escape cops

A wanted French criminal crafted a detailed plan to fake his own death, but there was just one problem: the police turned up at his 'funeral'. READ  

French leaders relieved by Scotland's 'No' vote
French leaders heaved a sigh of relief over Scotland's 'no' vote. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP

French leaders relieved by Scotland's 'No' vote

There was plenty of relief in France's political classes on Friday after Scottish voters decisively rejected independence from the United Kingdom. One top minister said a 'yes ' vote would have hurt the European Union. READ  

'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
American expat Lenny Kravitz talks about Paris. Photo: Lenny Kravitz/a>: Shutterstock

'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'

American rocker Lenny Kravitz has spent the past nine years living on and off in Paris and in a recent interview talked about his passion for the City of Light and his latest projects. READ  

French nurse to get 'experimental' Ebola care
A French nurse is to receive 'experimental' treatments against the disease. Photo: AFP

French nurse to get 'experimental' Ebola care

The French nurse who contracted the Ebola virus while helping fight the historic outbreak in Africa is receiving 'experimental' treatments in a Paris hospital that doctors hope will save her life. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
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