The second best that you can do

Nobody knows protectionism like the French, and they’re not afraid of wielding it:

This past October, French lawmakers decided it was time to show Amazon who’s boss. Frustrated by Amazon’s fast and cheap book-selling model, which poses a threat to France’s healthy ecosystem of indie bookstores, politicians banded together to approve a bill that prohibited Jeff Bezos’ company and other online retailers from shipping discounted books for free. The measure is designed to protect traditional booksellers who have complained that Amazon is hurting their businesses.

The new minimum shipping charge from €0.01.

“We are unfortunately not allowed to offer you free shipping for ordering books,” Amazon writes in the FAQ section of its website. “We have therefore set delivery fees at one euro-cent for each order that contains books and that is sent by Amazon in order to systematically guarantee you the lowest price for your book orders.”

The other part of the protectionist scheme will not so easily be eluded: France has rewritten its law allowing 5 percent off list price to include brick-and-mortar retailers only. Still, one does not bet against Amazon — not for long, anyway.


  1. canadienne »

    15 July 2014 · 9:47 pm

    Reading articles like this made me feel even less love for Amazon than I already had:

    &^%$ ’em. Why is it OK that big companies have that much power but it is so terrible when any country does anything to protect what they consider a valuable resource? Why do big companies have more rights than democratically elected governments?

    Also Paris bookstores are wonderful.

    Actually a long time ago, after Amazon removed 1984 from people’s kindles, I chucked the e-reader and started getting books from the library. If they are books I really want, I buy ’em, locally, where I can thumb through them first. This last article just confirms my decision.

  2. CGHill »

    15 July 2014 · 9:54 pm

    I remember that DRM incident. It was not endearing, and it surely is a contributing factor in the ongoing “Do I really want to buy one of these contraptions just to read a book?” dilemma.

  3. fillyjonk »

    16 July 2014 · 7:13 am

    And I remember a great deal was made of the irony that “1984” was the book wiped.

    I also don’t like flashy glowy screens, especially for reading close to bed. And I own probably 6000 books (a rough estimate), less than half of which I have read already, so, I don’t have the need for one any time soon. Possibly a tablet and the copyright-free stuff from Bartleby or where-ever, which would be nice for traveling, but a dedicated e-reader that uses a proprietary format and that can reach in and grab stuff I bought out of its memory: no.

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