France moves to shield its guide marketplace from Amazon

Sophie Fornairon, proprietor of “La Librairie du Canal” bookstore, poses for the duration of an job interview with Reuters in her bookshop in Paris, as French lawmakers voted a draft invoice aiming at halting Amazon from presenting totally free supply for books and at preserving standard bookshops from competitors, France, October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

  • New legislation would impose minimum amount shipping and delivery charge for new textbooks
  • Amazon delivers textbooks for 1 centime in France
  • Suggests legislation would punish individuals in rural regions
  • Paris states law essential to regulate ‘distorted competition’

PARIS, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Sophie Fornairon’s unbiased bookshop has survived the rise of Amazon thanks to a French legislation that prohibits cost discounting on new textbooks, but she says the e-commerce giant’s skill to undercut on delivery however skews the current market towards outlets like hers.

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

“It’s a just return in direction of a stage participating in area,” Fornairon, who employs 4 workers, reported. “We are not at threat of closing down any time shortly, but Amazon is a regular struggle”.

Amazon said the legislation, adopted by parliament but not but enacted, would punish people in rural regions who simply cannot conveniently pay a visit to a bookstore and depend on supply.

“Imposing a least shipping value for textbooks would weigh on the buying energy of customers,” Amazon told Reuters in a assertion.

That is an undesirable consequence authorities officials are cautious of at a time President Emmanuel Macron administration is scrambling to head off rising discontent more than climbing electrical power charges 6 months from an election.

In the country of Victor Hugo and Simone de Beauvoir, exactly where community bookshops are held with exclusive passion — they had been considered ‘essential businesses’ for the duration of latter COVID lockdowns — the move is the hottest by the state to protect national society versus significant tech firms.

More than 20% of the 435 million textbooks sold in France in 2019 were being acquired on line and the market place share of France’s 3,300 independent bookstores has been little by little declining simply because of competitiveness from on line shops like Amazon, Fnac (FNAC.PA) and Leclerc.

Aid from Macron aided press the laws, which does not concentrate on Amazon by title, above the line. The minimum amount rate even now has to be negotiated with the regulator.


French legislation prohibits cost-free e book deliveries but Amazon has circumvented this by charging a single centime (cent). Neighborhood e book suppliers typically demand about 5-7 euros ($5.82-8.15) for shipping and delivery a e book.

Amazon’s pricing method experienced resulted in the expanding industry share of a one operator, the Ministry of Society claimed.

“This regulation is needed to regulate the distorted opposition in on the net reserve product sales and avert the unavoidable monopoly that will arise if the status quo persists,” the ministry informed Reuters.

Centre-ideal Senator Laure Darcos, who drafted the regulation, made a decision upon the minimal shipping and delivery cost when she noticed how bookstores preserved 70% of their small business even with currently being compelled to shut in the course of early COVID lockdowns, due to the fact the govt reimbursed the shipping and delivery service fees.

“It confirmed what a brake on business the postage charges are for community bookstores,” Darcos said.

Amazon had lobbied tricky in opposition to the laws, concerned the French go could possibly set a precedent, the senator claimed.

France’s bookstores are concentrated in cities and towns. Amazon said on-line profits of guides experienced enabled consumers to have equal obtain, regardless of wherever they lived.

Just about-absolutely free shipping and delivery permitted e-book lovers in rural places to obtain guides at the very same price tag as somebody who could stroll into a bookstore — exactly the spirit of the 1981 legislation, it said.

Questioned when the laws would be enacted, the Ministry of Society declined to give a day, indicating it was as well early to say.

For Fornairon, the bookshop owner, the regular stream of U.S. holidaymakers via her doorway ended up a frequent reminder of the protect French laws experienced currently wrapped all-around merchants likes hers.

“They say to me ‘we did not even know independent bookstores however existed’,” she explained.

($1 = .8593 euros)

Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau, Producing by Richard Lough Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.