A new law went into effect Thursday in France that prohibits online booksellers from applying government-regulated discounts to the purchase price of books. The legislation, designed to protect local brick and mortar booksellers from what they believe is unfair competition from Amazon, has forced the US online retailer to alter its delivery fees and pricing structure in the country.
As per the new legislation, Amazon can no longer offer a five percent discount on books nor can it offer free shipping on such orders for regular shoppers (Prime members are still eligible for free shipping on books). The law does, however, state that Amazon can offer a discount on book shipments which is exactly what they're doing.
Instead, Amazon is offering to ship books to standard customers at a price of just one penny (0.01 euro). That way, the US-based company is still legally conforming to the new law but charging as little as possible for shipping. It's unlikely that a penny for shipping is going to change anyone's mind on an order but the five percent discount might.
Brick and mortar stores are exempt from the law so they can still offer the government-issued discount in addition to free shipping. It's worth pointing out that this also applies to physical stores that have an online presence in the country.
Amazon still has time to appeal the decision although a spokesperson declined to comment on the matter when asked by The Wall Street Journal.