Amazon prevented from undercutting book shops with new legislation


French lawmakers have introduced a new draft bill that would set a minimum price for book deliveries, in a bid to stop Amazon from offering free delivery, protecting local French bookshops from competition. 

Sophie Fornairon who owns an independent bookshop in central Paris hopes the legalisation, which has been adopted by parliament but not yet enacted, will reduce the ecommerce giant’s influence. 

“It’s just a return towards a level playing field,” Fornairon, who employs four workers, said. “We’re not at risk of closing down any time soon, but Amazon is a constant battle”.

However, Amazon said the legislation would punish and restrict people in rural areas who rely on delivery and are not able to easily visit bookstores. 

READ MORE: Amazon is falling behind on plans to open hundreds of Fresh stores

“Imposing a minimum shipping cost for books would weigh on the purchasing power of consumers,” Amazon told Reuters in a statement.

French law prohibits free book deliveries, but Amazon has circumvented this by charging a cent, while local stores typically charge about €5-7 euros for shipping a book.

“This law is necessary to regulate the distorted competition within online book sales and prevent the inevitable monopoly that will emerge if the status quo persists,” the ministry told Reuters.

The Ministry of Culture has declined to give a date for when the legislation will be enacted, saying it is too early to confirm. 

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