France passes “anti-Amazon” bill aimed at helping small bookstores



**France passes “anti-Amazon” bill aimed at helping small bookstores **

French lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday with the goal of helping small bookstores.The bill prohibits large online companies — including Amazon — from offering free delivery on discounted books. The law has been unofficially deemed the “anti-Amazon” law, though it does not specifically target the tech giant.

This new law has roots in the “Lang Law,” which was passed back in 1981. As part of that law the French minister of culture established a fixed price on books in order to aid independent bookstores competing with giant retailers, reports TechCruch. Similar laws then cropped up all over Europe — including in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Germany.
A discount of up to 5 percent on books was allowed in the 1981 law. Online retailers have jumped on this discount, doling it out more consistently, and adding additional free shipping to sweeten the deal. Other tactics also gave Amazon an edge.

TechCrunch also reports: “As Amazon bills from Luxemburg where sales tax is very low, this model was sustainable and allowed the company to gain market share.”
To level the playing field and help France’s 3,500 bookstores — 600 to 800 of which are independently owned — France’s Parliament added the additional amendment to the “Lang Law.”
According to Raw Story, France is particularly proud of its network of bookstores, calling them “unique in the world.”



Rather interesting


What about e-books? Those are all essentially free delivery.


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


Meh. Try that in America. Can you imagine the protests?!


Yes, prohibiting free delivery or discounting would surely raise a fuss here. Still, I’m paying for that free delivery with Amazon Prime membership. And it’s also true that Amazon has driven a lot of bookstores out of business. We lost the big Barnes and Noble near me. (On the other hand there are a huge number of small booksellers that sell on Amazon–but Amazon takes a cut.)

Why does this whole thing remind me of the encyclopedia salesman on “Pearls Before Swine” today?


I don’t know…if you search the used books on Amazon, they are almost ALL small book dealers.
Amazon prime book: $12.99 with free shipping.
Small book seller: $9.00 with $3.99 shipping.
End result? The same.


The problem is that online marketing does drive physical businesses under.

We have seen that here in NA with the end of the Borders chain.

And to real book types, there is no substitute for browsing real books in a real store.

I can empathize with the French desire to preserve that part of culture.



Uh oh . .


Well… I love bookstores so I’m kind of glad. I’m worried they’ll go out of business here, though. There’s a used bookstore down the street with so many awesome and old books that I’ve bought from a few times.



As a librarian, I think this is great, even if I find France radical in most of its decisions.

As far as I know, libraries are obligated to have some kind of partnership with the local book stores, to promote local cultural development and collaboration, so to say.

Nevertheless, Amazon is sometimes the only way to get certain books. Therefore a radical anti-amazonism :rolleyes: is not entirely good.


Yes, I am quite certain that such a law would never get passed in the US. The situation is very similar to attempts to preserve small businesses by curbing Wal-Mart’s expansion. Can you imagine if a national law were passed which required Wal-Mart to raise its prices to the level of small, local businesses? How about requiring Home Depot to sells its products at a price which was no different than Bob’s corner hardware store? Granted, the big retailers would be allowed to offer a 5% discount. But a very large section of the American public would loudly complain an attack on free enterprise.


I am ambivalent about this.

On one hand, I agree that we need to preserve small, locally-owned businesses.

On the other hand, in my little corner of the world, even before Amazon (& co), I would have to drive 20 miles to get to a decent sized bookstore (and bear in mind that I live in the DC metro…I would have to go to the other side of the DC metro to go to a good-sized store).

Prior to online bookstores,if I wanted a resource that was not available, I would have to KNOW the title I wanted, order it, and wait for a bunch of days to get it. If I didn’t KNOW the title I wanted, I would be out of luck, as the microfiche with the titles on it didn’t have detailed descriptions, “look inside” features, and so on.

As for the selection of books in the local bookstore, again, I might be out of luck unless I was really into the pop culture…as that was, in essence, the choice available to me for browsing.

I can say the same thing in regards to other items, such as car parts. (For example, I paid $28 for a module for my bug that would have cost over $200 had I gotten it from the local dealership parts department…and none of the local parts stores carried the item…and, yes, what I got was an OEM part, by the way, not an aftermarket replacement).

While I do believe that it is important to keep brick-and-mortar stores around…and small businesses are important to the economy…the availability of online shopping (not JUST Amazon) is something that I don’t think should be totally brushed off.


there are still books which are NOT on Kindle…why would they have to pass a bill banning They DO sell MORE than books! I have a lot of books on my kindle and the amount of books I have equivalency to weight in a backpack or suitcase…that would take a lot of room.


I feel like essentially it’s hurting the consumers - especially the ones that cannot afford expensive books, like students - much more than the big corporations.


I find that any books I need in relation to studies are either the same or more expensive on amazon than what I get at my university. Including when I am wanting to buy just a digital copy.

closed #17

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