Last month, the French parliament stood up for small book retailers and voted to ban major online book retailers, including Amazon and the French retailer FNAC, from offering free delivery on book orders.
The idea was that if customers had to pay for delivery for books they would be more inclined to shop at their local bookshop.
However it appears that they did not think the law through properly. Amazon did start charging for delivery, it was just that it charged a Euro cent.
It posted the following FAQ saying:
“We are unfortunately no longer allowed to offer free deliveries for book orders. We have therefore fixed delivery costs at one centime per order [0.01 Euros, or roughly a US penny] containing books and dispatched by Amazon to systematically guarantee the lowest price for your book orders.”
France has had a long running war on major US tech companies flogging books.
In 2011, the country updated an old law related to printed books that then allowed publishers to impose set e-book pricing. In 2012, there was a spat between French lawmakers and Google over the country’s desire to see French media outlets paid for having their content pop up in search results.
In most cases, the solution involved a quick and easy way to regain the upperhand. Google suggested it would sooner cut off French media sites than pay them for the snippets of content it features in search results. This would kill off the newspapers online efforts, or give a commercial advantage to those who did not insist Google paid up.