by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 13th 2007 2:06am
I've never quite understood European laws that bans the discounting of books. It's one of those protectionist laws that ends up harming everyone. While economically-challenged folks will say that it helps save independent bookstores, they are unwilling to admit at what cost: less innovation in the way books are sold, fewer books purchased and higher prices for everyone. And, there's actually evidence to suggest that it really doesn't do much to protect those independent booksellers after all. The UK ditched such price fixing over a decade ago and didn't see the expected demise of independent booksellers. However, France is still a big believer in the concept and has now told Amazon.com it can no longer offer its famed "free shipping," since that effectively is an excessive discount. Amazon now has ten days to start charging shipping fees, or face daily fines. In other words, ordering books online just got a lot more expensive. It's difficult to see how that helps anyone.
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