the government will force Amazon and Fnac to charge more

The government has decided a minimum of 3 euros in shipping costs in books purchased online for less than 35 euros in purchases and 1 cent. Booksellers wanted a minimum of 4.50 euros.

The government has chosen a middle path between the giants of online commerce and the bookstores on the issue of minimum postage applicable to books, we learned this Thursday from the Ministry of Culture.

These shipping costs can no longer be zero since a 2014 law, but Amazon and Fnac systematically set them at 0.01 euros.

A law adopted in December 2021 aimed to increase the minimum price to encourage consumers to go to bookstores instead of ordering online. The legislator has left it up to the executive to set the amounts.

The postal regulator, Arcep, recommended 3 euros when launching a public consultation on the subject.

This is the amount withheld by the Ministry of Culture for orders of up to 35 euros, the minister’s office informed AFP. Beyond 35 euros, the ministry decided on the status quo, with a floor of 0.01 euros.

The booksellers wanted 4.50 euros

The government’s decision still needs to be sent to the European Commission, which will issue an opinion before the law comes into force.

Lors of the consultation publique de l’Arcep, Amazon is favorable to an amount of 1.49 euro, soit le tarif “books and brochures” for a book between 250 and 500 grams vers l’Union européenne, le Royaume-Uni ou Swiss.

Booksellers declared themselves against what they called “practically free”, advocating a minimum of 4.50 euros, or even more.

In the book market, France stands out for having been the first country in the world, in 1981, to pass a law that imposes a single price on new books, among other measures to guarantee the sustainability of bookshops.

According to the Syndicat de la Librairie Française, this has made it possible to maintain one of the densest networks of independent bookshops in the world, with 3,500 of them selling “almost one in two books”.

Frederic Bianchi

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