Amazon is one of the primary forces to disrupt the digital book ecosystem and they tend to sell them at a 3:1 ratio compared to tangible ones. It is the physical books now that has France all up in arms because Amazon discounts them compared to the brick and motor stores and often mails them out for free. France’s ruling Socialist Party and the opposition UMP Party approved a new bill banning the company and other online retailers from shipping discounted books for free.
Traditional book sellers in France, including small independent shops, have complained that Amazon’s combined practices of offering books at a 5% discount and dispatching them to customers at no additional charge undermine their already struggling business.
The new amendment now bars retailers from offering free shipping on a new book sold at a discounted price. It remains to be seen how Amazon will respond to this as it already dodges paying taxes in France because they have their center of business operations in Luxemburg.
Book sales dropped by 4.5% in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to the latest government figures. Data also showed that 17% of all book purchases in France were now online, and that figure was growing.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.