Chastity Mansfield I'm a writer, an amateur designer, and a collector of trinkets that nobody else wants. You can find me on Noozeez, and Twitter.

France has passed an “anti-Amazon” bill to protect independent book stores

1 min read

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.

The cultural exception strikes again — France’s National Assembly will most probably pass the so-called ‘anti-Amazon’ law in the coming days. In a few months, Amazon won’t be able to offer free shipping for books in order to protect independent bookstores. It’s a logical evolution of the Lang Law. Book prices in France are hard to understand from a foreigner’s perspective. Back in 1981, French Minister of Culture Jack Lang established a fixed price for books sold in France. Since then, publishers have been fixing the price, printing it on the back of the book. Retailers from supermarkets to independent book sellers have had no choice but to sell those books at the official price. If you really wanted to compete on price, you could discount the book 5 percent below the publisher’s price — many bookstores chose to take advantage of this exception, but 5 percent was a reasonable price difference. When it was created in 1981, the government wanted to protect independent bookstores against supermarket chains. It worked really well, and independent bookstores are still around, for the most part. In fact, similar fixed book price laws started popping up in other European countries, such as Italy, Portugal, Spain or Germany.

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Chastity Mansfield I'm a writer, an amateur designer, and a collector of trinkets that nobody else wants. You can find me on Noozeez, and Twitter.

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