The government favors a price of 3 euros for the delivery of books


In the book market, France stands out by having been the first country in the world, in 1981, to pass a law imposing a single price on new books.

The government has chosen a middle way between the giants of online commerce and booksellers on the issue of minimum postage applicable to books, the Ministry of Culture announced on Thursday (September 22nd). These shipping costs can no longer be zero since a law of 2014, but Amazon and Fnac systematically set them at 0.01 euro.

A law adopted in December 2021 aimed to raise the floor price, in order to encourage consumers to go to bookstores rather than order online. The legislator has left it to the executive to set the amounts.

The postal regulator, the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications, Posts and Press Distribution (Arcep), recommended 3 euros when launching a public consultation on the subject. This is the amount retained by the Ministry of Culture for orders of up to 35 euros, said the minister's office. Beyond 35 euros, the ministry has decided to maintain the status quo, with a floor of 0.01 euro. The government's decision still has to be sent to the European Commission, which will issue an opinion before the law can come into force.

Advocacy of booksellers against “virtually free”

During Arcep's public consultation, Amazon said it was in favor of an amount of 1.49 euros, i.e. the price "books and pamphlets" for a book between 250 and 500 grams to the European Union, the United Kingdom or Switzerland.

The booksellers argued against what they called “virtually free”, advocating a minimum of 4.50 euros, or even more. On the book market, France stands out by having been the first country in the world, in 1981, to pass a law imposing a single price on new books, among other measures to ensure the sustainability of bookstores.

According to the Syndicat de la Librairie Française, this has enabled the maintenance of one of the densest networks of independent bookstores in the world, with 3,500 of them selling "nearly one in two books".

The World with AFP



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