France sets minimum delivery charges for online book sales to help independent stores compete

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France plans to impose a minimum delivery charge of 3 euros ($2.93) for online book orders under 35 euros to level the playing field for independent bookstores struggling to compete with giants e-commerce, the government announced on Friday. From a report: A 2014 French law already prohibits free book deliveries, but Amazon and other sellers such as Fnac have circumvented this by charging a symbolic 1 cent per delivery. Local bookstores usually charge up to 7 euros for shipping a book.

Legislation was passed in December 2021 to close the one-cent loophole through minimum shipping charges, but the law could not come into force until the government decided on the amount of the charge. “It will adapt the book industry to the digital age by restoring a balance between the large e-commerce platforms, which offer almost free delivery of books regardless of order size, and bookstores which cannot match these delivery prices,” the Culture and Finance Ministries said. in a joint statement. They added that France will inform the European Commission of its plan and that the minimum delivery charge will take effect six months after EU approval.

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