France has passed a new law which prevents online booksellers from offering free shipping on discounted books.
The New York Times has the scoop: “The new measure is part of France’s effort to promote “biblio-diversity” and help independent bookstores compete. Here, there’s no big bookseller with the power to suddenly turn off the spigot. People in the industry estimate that Amazon has a 10 or 12 percent share of new book sales in France. Amazon reportedly handles 70 percent of the country’s online book sales, but just 18 percent of books are sold online.”
The law stems from the 1981 Lang law, which prevents any bookseller in France from pricing a new book for less than 5 percent off of the cover price. The idea is to keep book prices the same around the country, in order to keep publishers and booksellers in business.