TIME Retail

Amazon Charges a Penny After France Bans Free Shipping

Booksellers On The Banks Of The Seine Opposite The Ile De La Cite In Paris, France In February, 2006 -
Booksellers on the banks of the Seine opposite the Ile de la Cite in Paris, France in February, 2006. Elise Hardy—Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images

'Okay, we'll charge one cent'

Amazon thumbed its nose at a French ban on free shipping of book orders, agreeing to raise the shipping price to exactly $0.01 Euros, or a single penny.

France24 reports that Amazon’s move comes one month after the ban sailed through France’s National Assembly. Lawmakers argued that the nation’s roughly 3,500 bookstores needed protection from online competitors, whom they accused of “dumping” books on the market at a loss.

“We are unfortunately no longer allowed to offer free deliveries for book orders,” Amazon explained in an FAQ to shoppers, who might reasonably wonder why the company would bother to charge one cent. “We have therefore fixed delivery costs at one centime per order containing books and dispatched by Amazon to systematically guarantee the lowest price for your book orders.”

The free shipping ban was passed as an amendment to a 1981 law that also attempted to curb competition between booksellers by capping discounts on new books at 5%.

[France24]

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