French Parliament Passes “Anti-Amazon Law” for Online Book Sales


On June 26th, French parliament members passed a law forbidding a combined 5% discount and free shipping on books. 

After a final unanimous vote by the senate, the Parliament adopted the so-called “Anti-Amazon Law,” that will abolish free shipping for books purchased online and shipped to France.  (Note: the 1981 Lang law established a prix unique du livre –“single book price”—allowing for a maximum discount of 5% on books under certain conditions.)

The “Anti-Amazon Law,” pushed for by the UMP, was created to prevent ecommerce sites like Amazon from stamping out the iconic network of independent French bookshops that currently struggle to compete. 

“As we have just seen again, laws pertaining to the book economy always generate consensus, if not unanimity,” said French Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti.  “This is a sign of our deep attachment to books in this nation, and it demonstrates the belief that France builds itself through its past and its future.”

Colette Mélot of the UMP added, “this law completes the 1981 law.”  “In 1981 the threat came from best sellers that were sold everywhere” reminded the Seine-et-Marne senator, “but the Lang law couldn’t have anticipated the development of the Internet and online sales” she continued, also emphasizing that Amazon monopolizes 70% of online sales.

With 3,500 bookshops in France–800 of which are single, independent ones–the Anti-Amazon Law protects a precious national industry.


The article is translated from

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Brian Taylor
Brian Taylor
I cannot see that harming the French public in order to pander to a relative handful of bookstore sellers is a logical or practical approach to the situation. Bookshop owners should find other ways to compete in ways that the online seller cannot match. For instance, if a bookshop owner creates a reading room with wi-fi, specialty coffees and pastries, etc., how could Amazon compete with that?
June 30, 2014
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