French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti says she is considering putting a stop to free shipping offers and 5% discounts on books to combat Amazon’s dominant status with respect to independent book stores. CNBC quotes the minister as saying, “Today, everyone has had enough of Amazon which, through dumping practices, smashes prices to penetrate markets to then raise prices again once they are in a situation of quasi-monopoly,” and calling the online retailer a “destroyer of bookshops.” In March, Filippetti made clear she doesn’t want French bookstores to suffer the same fate as many beleaguered US bookshops, independent and chain.
Indie booksellers in the UK have also expressed outrage at Amazon‘s squeeze on their business. In April, bookstore owners Frances and Keith Smith delivered a petition with over 160,000 signatures to Prime Minister David Cameron demanding he “make Amazon pay its fair share of UK corporation tax”. Amazon reportedly “[avoids] UK taxes by reporting its European sales through a Luxembourg-based unit” according to a piece in The Guardian.
Meanwhile, in the US, Barnes and Noble continues to battle Amazon’s encroachment by refusing to carry titles published by Amazon.
CNBC points out that Filippetti’s “attack on Amazon came despite the establishment in France by the company of several big distribution centres. …the most recent [centre] in Chalon-sur-Saône in eastern France… employs 500 people.”