French lawmakers adopt 'anti-Amazon' bill

June 26, 2014
Employees work at the site of the online retailer Amazon on December 13, 2012 in Chalon-sur-Saone, France

French lawmakers adopted a bill on Thursday that will prevent Amazon and other online giants from offering free deliveries of discounted books, in a bid to support the country's small bookshops.

The Senate gave its approval for the bill, which had already been unanimously backed in the lower house National Assembly, and it is expected to be signed into law by President Francois Hollande within the next two weeks.

The bill bans online giants such as Amazon from delivering books without charge, but still allows them to set discounts of up to five percent, the maximum allowed under existing French legislation.

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

Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti welcomed the parliamentary approval, saying it showed "the nation's deep attachment to books."

While the measure adopted on Thursday is not specifically aimed at Amazon, Filippetti has singled out the US giant's practices in the past, attacking both free deliveries and the firm's tax arrangements.

The online retailer reports its European sales through a Luxembourg-based holding company, taking advantage of the duchy's relatively low corporate tax rates for earnings outside its borders.

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

Filippetti has also attacked Amazon for its "dumping strategy" and for selling 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 last year.

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.

Explore further: French lawmakers vote to curb Amazon free deliveries

Related Stories

France opens new front in war with Internet giants

June 4, 2013

France's culture minister has branded online retailer Amazon a "destroyer" of bookshops in the latest confrontation between the Socialist government in Paris and America's giants of the digital economy.

German publishers file complaint against Amazon

June 24, 2014

Germany's book industry said Tuesday it had complained to the country's competition watchdog about Internet giant Amazon, accusing it of using "blackmail" to gain discounts from publishers.

Recommended for you

Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

December 7, 2016

Just months after two Swiss pilots completed a historic round-the-world trip in a Sun-powered plane, another Swiss adventurer on Wednesday unveiled a solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere.

Solar panels repay their energy 'debt': study

December 6, 2016

The climate-friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

zaxxon451
not rated yet Jun 27, 2014
I wish American independent bookstores had this protection.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.