France moves to curb book discounts, cites Amazon’s “predatory behavior”

French policeman, France

French lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill that will bar booksellers from offering five-percent discounts and free shipping at the same time — a move that appears aimed squarely at U.S. retail giant Amazon.

According to Le Monde, lawmakers from both the left and right have overwhelmingly passed an amendment to an 1981 law that regulates the book industry. The amendment would bar two-fold discounts (in the form of the five-percent markdown and free shipping), which Le Monde says are now offered only by Amazon and French retail giant Fnac.

The bill must also pass in the Senate and be signed by the president. It has the support of the governing party, which has said the purpose of the proposed law is to “limit predatory behavior.”

Online book sales reportedly make up 17 percent of the French market. Amazon has said it is more “complementary” than competition to retailers since the majority of its French sales are older books, not new releases.

The proposed law has drawn derision by some in the U.S. who regard it as evidence France is living in the past:

The BBC and France 24 have more details.

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