a new law in France prohibits free shipping discount books. France is known to invent law against technical progress which is going as far as adopting a law under which private taxi providers are prohibited to let their customers wait less than 15 minutes at the airport. No, this is not a joke, that's true!
Now Paris wants to protect private run bookshops against competition from the Internet. France's Parliament adopted on Thursday by a vote in the Senate a law that prohibits mail-order companies to send already discounted books for free. The idea is is bookstores will be better protected against competition from on-line retailers like Amazon. But then I benefit from Amazon from selling my own work and most of all, living in the Provence where good bookstores are not really present. Amazon is the source of half of my purchases (Kindle not included) the other half comes from all these car-boot sales "brocante" markets because they are old French books you would not find on Amazon anyway..
So how is these protecting law going to work in our "free-market" inside the EU? Its not new and everybody knows that global retailers, such as Amazon, do what they want: hiring armies of lawyers to figure out every loophole to avoid paying taxes in the country where they make their profits. Fair wages are illusive if systematically the most cost-effective, legal solution is used to pay just the absolute minimum to employees and "business-partners" (e.g; in Germany Amazon states its a "transportation company" when it comes to pay employees because). These tricks the root of the problem because savings made with such practice allows global retailers to offer exorbitant discounts, a local bookstore could even dream of because he has to pay its employees a proper wage to ensure professional advices to costumers.
That's why traditional bookstores view discounted book sales as unfair competition. For a local bookshop the margin is so important because it has to cover the running monthly costs. Amazon does not even have to be on the high street and has become a global WalMart or Alibaba. Maybe because of Amazons random sales of all kind of products the Socialist government in Paris had particularly accused Amazon of price dumping: the on-line retailer combined admissible discounts of five percent to the conditions established by the book fixing prices with free shipping.
To underpin a useless regulation the French government needed to complain about the fact that the U.S. retail-group is hardly paying taxes in France, because Amazon has its European HQ in Luxembourg. EC's future president, Mr Junker, who has implemented during his presidency in Luxembourg a such cozy taxation regulations for foreign investors that David Cameron is actually jealous. I would not even be surprised when we will will see the birth the much anticipated "Free-Trade Union" between USA & EU during Junker's EU presidency. Given the EU's anarchistic fiscal system which is still under national jurisdiction of its member-states the global its cowboy style will find a bonanza with sleepy national politicians who will be chronically tricked through the back door by the EU lobbyists,- but it is not illegal.
Ironically the text of this law, known as the "anti-Amazon law", was already introduced by the conservative opposition to protect French publishing companies. The socialist government now has just adopted this law unanimously in the Senate. Amazon of course had the law criticized instantly as "discriminatory" and harmful to the purchasing power of the French. Hypocrisy pure!
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