France

Postage on books: the government favors a rate of €3 – Economy



Will buying a book soon be more expensive on the Internet? The Ministry of Culture has decided to retain an amount of 3 € for shipping costs, for any order of a book below 35 €. Beyond this rate, it will always be €0.01. This decision still needs to be validated by the European Commission, which will soon issue an opinion before the law is promulgated.

Since 2014, shipping costs could no longer be zero, due to a law. Fnac and Amazon then chose to set them at €0.01. But the Darcos law, promulgated in December 2021, this time forced players in the sector to revise shipping costs upwards, in order to “improve the book economy and strengthen equity between players in the sector”.

Amazon was asking €1.49, bookstores €4.50

During the public consultation of Arcep (Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications, Posts and Press Distribution), Amazon said it was in favor of an amount of €1.49, i.e. the “books and brochures » for a book between 250 and 500 g to the European Union, the United Kingdom or Switzerland. Booksellers pleaded, for their part, against what they called “virtually free”, advocating a minimum of €4.50, or even more.

The €3 withheld by the government did not satisfy bookstores. “Once again, the law will not achieve its objectives, since the level of loss of margins for bookstores which deliver, or would like to convert to delivery, remains too high”, explains Guillaume Husson, general delegate of the Syndicat de la French bookstore (SLF), which represents 600 bookstores of all sizes in the country, with our colleagues from Figaro.

In a press release, the SLF also pleads “for the government to henceforth support its requests from La Poste, in order to obtain, for booksellers, a more advantageous shipping rate allowing them – finally – to be competitive with regard to major online platforms.

One of the densest networks of independent bookstores in the world

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, to ensure the sustainability of bookstores. According to the SLF, this has made it possible to maintain one of the densest networks of independent bookstores in the world, with 3,500 of them selling “almost one in two books”.

If the Darcos law is validated by the European Commission, will the e-commerce giants play the game? Nothing is still less certain.



letelegramme Fr Trans

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