The French government plans to impose a minimum delivery fee of €3 for online book orders of less than €35, in a move to help independent bookstores struggling to compete against ecommerce giants like Amazon.
Currently, free book delivery is prohibited in France but Amazon and other vendors, such as Fnac, have circumvented this by charging 1¢. Local bookstores typically charge up to €7 for shipping, The Guardian reported.
Late last year legislation was passed to close the 1¢ loophole through a minimum shipping fee but could not take effect until the government had decided on the size of that fee.
“The three euro rate, commonly applied for the delivery of other products, does not appear to be a deterrent for buyers, and the €35 threshold encourages the grouping of orders, a virtuous gesture in terms of ecological transition,” the ministers of economy and culture said in a statement.
“This will adapt the book industry to the digital era by restoring an equilibrium between large ecommerce platforms, which offer virtually free delivery for books whatever the order size, and bookstores that cannot match these delivery prices.”
France will now notify the European Commission of its plan and the minimum delivery fee would take effect six months after EU approval.