France has initiated plans to impose a minimum delivery fee of 3 euros for orders placed for books on Amazon, Reuters reported. The fee will apply to only orders less than 35 euros. France already has a law that makes it illegal for retailers to deliver books for free. However, retailers like Amazon have so far evaded the law by charging one cent as a token delivery fee. The law that dates back to 2014 was backed up by another legislation passed in December 2021 that sought to bring to an end the one-cent delivery fee loophole. However, the law still lacked teeth as it does not specify what the delivery fee should amount to, something that the present legislation aims to redress.
However, while this is being done to help traditional bookstore have better chances of surviving the onslaught brought about by the online retail majors, they don’t seem too impressed with the new law claiming the fees is still too low compared to the around 7 euros they charge for delivering books. The French ministry of culture further added the three euro fee is inclusive of all taxes and cannot be evaded via loyalty programs or by clubbing the book orders with other purchases. The ministry however stated the one-cent delivery fee can still be applied for orders over 35 euros.
“The three euro delivery fee… is not dissuasive for book buyers and the 35 euro threshold will favor grouped orders, which is virtuous in environmental terms,” the ministries said.
Amazon didn’t immediately respond to the development but said a company spokesperson said this could turn out to be a major inflation driver and could also impact readers located in far-flung areas. The bookstores however still have another factor working to their advantage – a 1981 law that makes it illegal to provide discounts on new books. However, e-commerce giants have been using discounted delivery fees as a means to undercut the bookstore on the price front. French bookstores association SLF called upon the government to lower postal charges for shipping books.
There are around 3,300 bookstores in France that have been finding it increasingly hard to compete against large e-commerce firms like Amazon, Fnac, and Leclerc. Of the around 435 million books that were sold in the country in 2019, around 20 percent of it has been bought via online sources. The bookstore fears the trend to buy books online will only increase in the future and could put their business in jeopardy.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in the world of technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles as well, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. Motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot and maybe I’ll make a film sometime in the future.