Friday, November 29, 2013

No cheap books please, we're French

France has begun a new chapter in the saga of its online book wars, with French MPs unanimously backing a move that will curb the discounting power of Amazon in the country.

Warning that small independent bookstores were facing unfair competition from the US internet firm, MPs supported a bill that will prevent it combining free delivery with 5% discounts on books.

In a rare show of unity, parliamentarians on the right and left voted for the move to defend the French "cultural exception" against market forces and global digital powerhouses.

The bill, which must now be approved by the senate, is the latest round of French politicians taking on the might of the major US internet firms.

Since 1981 French law has fixed book-prices so that readers pay the same whether they buy online, from a big high street chain, or from a small bookseller. Extensive discounting is banned.
--Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, on government-enforced price fixing