Last month, France parliament voted on a law that would support local businesses and effectively ban online retailers from delivering books to customers for free. Of course, this new law would have an huge effect on large online retailers like Amazon, who gain an advantage by offering low prices and free shipping. Perhaps, the only caveat at this point would be the wait time of three to five working days for delivery. Luckily, for the French, Amazon has introduced its new shipping cost of just € 0.01.
According to French law, book retailers are not allowed to discount their books more than five percent; this is meant to level the playing field and prevent larger chains from heavily discounting their merchandise in order to drive a competitor out of business. This law has been in effect since 1981.
Since this law applies to Amazon as well, their only previous means of evening the odds was discounting their shipping, and making it free for all book purchases. But, with a new law preventing this, Amazon had to make a choice. A month later, Amazon has cleverly sidestepped the situation by offering customers shipping for a € 0.01. This complies with the new law passed nearly a month ago, and still offers its customers the best possible deal in regards to books.
While it’s anyone’s guess how long this will last, France has had a long history of protecting its bookstores. The country boasts 3,500 bookshops with roughly 600 to 800 of them that are not part of a chain. France’s concerns about Amazon and other larger chains business practices are justified, citing that once the competition has been crushed, they will increase prices to their normal rates.