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27/10/2021 14:36:48  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Sophie Fornairon's independent bookshop has survived the rise of Amazon thanks to a French law that prohibits price discounting on new books, but she says the e-commerce giant's ability to undercut on shipping still skews the market against stores like hers. Fornairon, who owns the Canal Bookstore in central Paris, now hopes that new legislation that would set a minimum price for book deliveries will even the contest further in the battle of neighborhood stores against Amazon. "It's a just return towards a level playing field," Fornairon, who employs four workers, said. "We're not at risk of closing down any time soon, but Amazon is a constant battle". French law prohibits free book deliveries but Amazon has circumvented this by charging a single centime (cent). Local book stores typically charge about 5-7 euros ($5.82-8.15) for shipping a book. Amazon's pricing strategy had resulted in the growing market share of a single operator, the Ministry of Culture said. "This law is necessary to regulate the distorted competition within online book sales and prevent the inevitable monopoly that will emerge if the status quo persists," the ministry told Reuters. Centre-right Senator Laure Darcos, who drafted the law, decided upon the minimum delivery charge when she observed how bookstores maintained 70% of their business despite being forced to shut during early COVID lockdowns, because the government reimbursed the shipping fees. "It showed what a brake on business the postage costs are for local bookstores," Darcos said. Asked when the legislation would be enacted, the Ministry of Culture declined to give a date, saying it was too early to say.

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