The “Anti-Amazon” Law finally voted
In a few months, Amazon won’t be able to offer free shipping for books in order to protect independent bookstores.
After an unanimous vote at the Senate, the French Parliament has finally adopted of June, the law project on the price of books on the Internet, called “anti-Amazon”, prohibiting the combination of free shipping and a discount 5%. This text on the 26th intends to prevent online operators such as Amazon, to stifle the network of booksellers, who struggle to compete.
Despite the law’s informal name, the French Minister of Culture, Aurélie Filippetti said that “she has nothing against Amazon, but free shipping has to stop. This is a sign of the deep commitment of the French nation’s to the book, the idea that France can make it by itself, by its history and for its future.”
So, in a few months, online retailers will have to choose between free shipping and the 5 percent discount. If they choose the 5 percent discount, it won’t deduct 5 percent from the book price, but from shipping. For example, a $10 book with $2 of shipping costs can be priced at $9.50 and consumers will still have to pay $1.50 of shipping costs.
However, European laws provide that such texts, that constitute technical regulations have to be notified to the European Commission three months before final adoption, so that it wouldn’t be considered as creating “unjustified barriers between Member States”.
But the French government had not notified this text in Brussels on the 16th January after its adoption at the Senate. Under the jurisprudence of the European Court, the non-observance of this period known as the status quo would lead to the inapplicability of this text. Therefore, the government has to vote an amendment at the Assembly that changes slightly the text, meaning a second reading at the Senate.
…Let’s just hope that this will be enough to save 2,500 independent bookstores in France…
Étudiante en M2 Droit de l’économie numérique à l’UdS, avocate en Grèce et membre du barreau d’Athènes.