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France Moves To Protect Independent Booksellers From Amazon

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the end-of-an-era dept.

Books 264

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Tourists often marvel at the number of rich and varied bookstores along Paris streets. Right across from Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the city's most famous independent bookstores, Shakespeare and Company. Inside, every inch of space is crammed with books and readers. The city buys buildings in high-rent districts and tries to keep a core of 300 independent bookstore by offering booksellers leases at an affordable price. 'We have to keep our identity,' says Lynn Cohen-Solal, 'because if we don't, all the shops are exactly the same in Paris, in London, in New York, in New Delhi, everywhere.' Now Eleanor Beardsley reports at NPR that the French government has accused Amazon of trying to push the price of physical books too low and is limiting discounts on books to ensure the survival of its independent booksellers. France's lower house of parliament has unanimously voted to add an amendment to a law from 1981, known in France as the Lang Law which sets the value of new books at fixed prices and only allows retailers to lower books' set price by 5%, in an effort to regulate competition between booksellers and to promote reading. Guillaume Husson, spokesman for the SLF book retailers' union, says Amazon's practice of bundling a 5 percent discount with free delivery amounted to selling books at a loss, which was impossible for traditional book sellers of any size. 'Today, the competition is unfair,' says Husson. 'No other book retailer, whether a small or large book or even a chain, can allow itself to lose that much money,' referring to Amazon's alleged losses on free delivery. Amazon spent $2.8 billion on free shipping worldwide last year to gain a competitive advantage. The bill limiting Amazon's price reductions in France still has to pass the Senate to become law. In a statement, Amazon said any effort to raise the price of books diminishes the cultural choices of French consumers and penalizes both Internet users and small publishers who rely on Internet sales."

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264 comments

Anonymous Coward moves to piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251101)

frosty piss, that is!

Not Fair (4, Insightful)

mrspoonsi (2955715) | about 6 months ago | (#45251103)

This does not fit into Amazons plans to take over the world by selling items at cost (or below cost as is the case with some Music, and I am sure some books).

Re:Not Fair (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#45251439)

...at which point they jack up the prices enough to make up for all those lost years.

Re:Not Fair (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 6 months ago | (#45251733)

...at which point they jack up the prices enough to make up for all those lost years.

...Except - They kinda don't.

Amazon crushes the local competition by offering a lower price, period.

TFA describes the situation as Amazon selling at a loss - Nothing more than cultural protectionist bullshit. Looking at the reality of the situation, Amazon has the buying power to make the publishers sell to them at a price where Amazon can sell below list and offer free shipping and still make a profit on the sale. Simple as that.


The sooner we get rid of all this regional protectionism, the better. If I can make the same product you can for less, you should go out of business. If some buyers irrationally choose to pay more solely for your name, hey, good for you, perhaps you can survive in the shadow of those doing your own job better than you. If not... Oh well, see ya.

Re:Not Fair (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#45251971)

If I can make the same product you can for less, you should go out of business.

Amazon doesn't make anything, they just force the publishers to sell wholesale for less than they do to other vendors. Supermarkets do this to food producers as well, which similarly has put most independent grocers out of business and made out food really low quality.

The system has failed us. We make the laws and we want diversity so that we have a choice of vendors, so it makes sense for us to fix the market. The French are merely acting to prevent Amazon becoming a monopoly.

Typical (4, Funny)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 6 months ago | (#45251109)

Just like the French to try and protect literature.

Re:Typical (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#45251313)

to protect literature retailers.

not literature.

just like the french though, or texans(or what state was it..) .... with wine-index their books are still stupidly expensive though(wine index is similar to bigmac index, the amount it costs to buy wine at your local supermarket complex to get totally shitfaced).

Re:Typical (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251655)

But if the number of literature retailers is reduced to Amazon, selection is affected. If Amazon refuses to sell a book nobody can buy it. By protecting literature retailers France is protecting the selection of books and therefore literature itself.

Re:Typical (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 6 months ago | (#45251687)

Remember that Amazon is a reseller in almost all cases. Direct sales of ebooks by publishers, and even authors, can easily bypass Amazon entirely.

Re:Typical (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251781)

Just like the French to try and protect literature.

By forcing people to pay more for books? Since there are many other ways to enjoy your spare time, consumer demand for books is very elastic, so they will certainly consume fewer books.

And since literature depends on people reading books and sharing their experiences, France is actually sabotaging literature.

Re: Typical (3, Insightful)

Orne (144925) | about 6 months ago | (#45251905)

Exactly ... as the price of books go down, the demand for books increase. This is basic Econ 101. By setting a price floor, you are limiting the ability to reach customers who would otherwise want to buy more books. If I have â100 in my pocket how many books am I going to walk out the store with?

France, the last survivor of the new economy (5, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | about 6 months ago | (#45251115)

The French seem to not be brainwashed by the propaganda machine enough to harm themselves as pro-WTO trade undermines careers in the global race to the bottom.

When the robots and software start to do significant damage worldwide to jobs (it's only just beginning and some are taking notice) the French will likely be the last holdout.

"Protectionism" is not viewed as bad everywhere; at least the marketing hasn't succeeded everywhere just yet.

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (1, Interesting)

udachny (2454394) | about 6 months ago | (#45251479)

Protectionism is protecting some uncompetitive businesses, not protecting the customers, clients, consumers. Not protecting customer's wallets, but protecting wallets of the uncompetitive, unsuccessful, those unwilling to adapt, restructure, change with the time. There is no virtue in that, do you know what happens with organisms that do not adapt to the changing environments?

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251663)

Protectionism is protecting some uncompetitive businesses, not protecting the customers, clients, consumers. Not protecting customer's wallets, but protecting wallets of the uncompetitive, unsuccessful, those unwilling to adapt, restructure, change with the time. There is no virtue in that, do you know what happens with organisms that do not adapt to the changing environments?

So what happens when one organism becomes so dominant that it is threatening to exterminate all other life in the ecosystem. Case study: sea lampreys in the Great Lakes. In the business world we call that a monopoly. I have seen this 'Amazon effect' happen before. In Germany for example there was and still is a huge supermarket chain that set up shop in the district where I lived and started to underbid smaller competing businesses (i.e. lots of special discounts, bonus offers, etc...). They had tons of money and could afford to sell at a loss. They also got better prices on merchandise because they bought inventory in huge quantities. These were advantages which the smaller businesses in the region did not enjoy. This underbidding would go on for a while until the smaller supermarkets, hardware and electronics stores had gone bankrupt. Then the special offers stopped. Amazon, whether purposefully or not, is doing the same thing and I'm not sure how we are better off in a marketplace where the only big players are Amazon.com and a handful of others. Free market fundamentalists keep telling me that abusive monopolies are not a problem because they will eventually be brought down by the invisible hand of the free market. Unfortunately the invisible hand of the free market often seems to take it's own sweet time before it trips monopolists up so personally I am not particularly bothered if external forces sometimes do the invisible hand's work for it to speed things along.

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251975)

Protectionism is protecting some uncompetitive businesses, not protecting the customers, clients, consumers. Not protecting customer's wallets, but protecting wallets of the uncompetitive, unsuccessful, those unwilling to adapt, restructure, change with the time. There is no virtue in that, do you know what happens with organisms that do not adapt to the changing environments?

Let's examine Wal-Mart in the US as another example. They move into a small town, price everything sold by the competition far lower than cost, and make up for the losses through their other stores. The other businesses close down, the employees have to beg Wal-Mart for jobs at reduced pay, local suppliers and support businesses close down. Then when the competition is eliminated, Wal-Mart jacks their prices up to offset the earlier losses. Now you have a single-supplier ecosystem, fewer jobs, and to add further insult Wally-World then offshores their bank accounts and uses accounting trickery to dodge local and state taxes.

Honestly I don't know what the answer is, protectionism kills innovation and free market results in monopoly.

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (0)

Valtor (34080) | about 6 months ago | (#45251561)

...When the robots and software start to do significant damage worldwide to jobs...

Do you want a job or do you want a life ? I want a life, so I say bring in full automation ! :)

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251567)

Protectionism is justifiable when there is national interest at stake, and there are a lot of those cases. For example, you can argue that steel production and aircraft manufacturing are critical to national defense and needs to be protected. Maintaining some degree of independence in energy production is pretty critical. In France, you could reasonably argue that wine production is a critical national identity industry and deserves protection, however I believe that should be a pretty high bar to get over, and I don't see local independent bookstores being that critically important.

This is just a subsidy to local bookstore owners, just like the government walking in and handing them a big fat check. Meanwhile customers get higher prices and fewer choices.

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251711)

Protectionism is needed in some cases. Look at the US where solar companies complained about hack attempts. Six months later, China was selling panels for less than the cost of the rare earths, completely destroying the market. Congress eventually got round to adding a tariff, but this was years late, and it killed the solar industry utterly. Had Congress protected the solar industry as well as it did a maker of motorcycles, our economy would be a bit stronger. Europe also had this problem as well, forcing the big companies like Siemens to exit the industry.

Unlike the US where a yogurt dish has more culture than most of the nation (and I can say that being in the US), France has a way of life to protect. Other people may rant and call it favoritism, but that is what governments are for -- protect their own interests versus other people. I'd love it if the US government would lift a finger to protect the interests of the average American. Europe still actually looks out for the common prole, and not is just bought and sold.

Amazon is nice, but having a level playing field is important. Living in Texas, I've seen a similar thing. In small towns, most of the general stores and such end up shuttered because a Wally World opened up down the road and can sell stuff using economies of scale unavailable to the local shops. So, it is understandable that France doesn't want a company from a country virtually all French hate with a seething passion causing their native shops to close their doors.

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (1)

mounthood (993037) | about 6 months ago | (#45251673)

The French seem to not be brainwashed by the propaganda machine enough to harm themselves as pro-WTO trade undermines careers in the global race to the bottom.

Wouldn't Amazon, or a "global race to the bottom" as you call them, make these book sellers more unique? They're independent, quirky, historical, experiential, and stylish ... all of which should make them more valuable in a prefab world. More generally, won't all artisan can craft endeavors become more popular if there's a "global race to the bottom"?

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251723)

The race to the bottom means more and more people will use the tax dodging online outfits rather than the dearer local options which cannot compete seeing as their taxes are higher to support those like Amazon that play multi-country games to avoid it. Small outfits simply can't use the same dodgy maneuvers due to the overheads required in each market.
 

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251731)

Racing to the bottom is *the entire point* of capitalism. Once some job field has been mastered, there is not nearly as much time investment required to perform that job, thus its products become cheaper. Amazon is a perfect example of this, they have mastered distribution and sales to the point that it costs them very little. If you want to make money, move on to a field that actually has some challenge remaining.

Re:France, the last survivor of the new economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251737)

"Protectionism" is not viewed as bad everywhere

Yes, we have a long way to go towards universal literacy in micro-economics.

Race to bottom paid for the computer you typed on (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 6 months ago | (#45251755)

People love to selectively pick 'n choose which benefits of free market capitalism they allow themselves to enjoy and which they wag their fingers at with disdain and want eliminated. Problem is, other people may have an exact opposite set of priorities as you and push to have your luxuries eliminated instead. It can't work both ways. This is why free markets have done more to support personal liberties and choice than all the other failed 'personalized' ideologies combined. Don't tell me what I can buy and enjoy and at what price and I'll return the favor to you.

Will the French government be providing Amazon.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251117)

with subsidised leases too?

Re:Will the French government be providing Amazon. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251205)

The French government already has agreements with Amazon to subsidize it each time it creates a new job (between 3400 and 5000 euros per job)...
http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/2012/11/27/amazon-aide-publique-subvention-fisc-impots-france_n_2197220.html

Oh, and Amazon doesn't pay taxes in France, but in Luxemburg, contrary to the bookshops.

Actually, instead of adding yet another layer of regulation that will soon be circumvented, the governement should just:
1) stop subsidizing Amazon (they would open the logistics platform anyway, given their market share).
2) come up with a credible scheme for multinational Internet companies to pay their taxes.

Re:Will the French government be providing Amazon. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#45251913)

The EU is moving to ensure multinationals pay tax based on where they do business, not where they are incorporated or based. The rule will pretty much be this: If you make money in an EU country you pay a an equivalent proportion of corporation tax in that country, regardless of any clever licensing set ups or tax dodging arrangements you have in place. It's a kind of "no bullshit, referee's word is final" law.

#BadBIOS - BIOS Malware 1/2 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251157)

#BadBIOS - BIOS Malware

#

- Copernicus: Question Your Assumptions about BIOS Security

http://www.mitre.org/capabilities/cybersecurity/overview/cybersecurity-blog/copernicus-question-your-assumptions-about [mitre.org]

- "Seems to have a BIOS hypervisor, SDR functionality that bridges air gaps, wifi card removed."

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388512915742937089 [twitter.com]

=

- #BadBIOS

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BadBIOS [twitter.com]

=

- "More on my ongoing chase of #badBIOS malware."

https://plus.google.com/103470457057356043365/posts/9fyh5R9v2Ga [google.com]
https://plus.google.com/103470457057356043365 [google.com]

=

- Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care: Government & Stealth Malware

http://slexy.org/view/s2otvoDuKW [slexy.org]

=

- Gpu based paravirtualization rootkit, all os vulne

http://forum.sysinternals.com/gpu-based-paravirtualization-rootkit-all-os-vulne_topic26706.html [sysinternals.com]

=

- #badBIOS (and lotsa paranoia, plus fireworks)

https://kabelmast.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/badbios-and-lotsa-paranoia-plus-fireworks/ [wordpress.com]

=

- Air-Gap-Breaching BIOS Rootkits with SDRs Inside (and smartphones, Snowden, NSA, Wikileaks)

"A little while back I covered a paper on FPGAs that could turn themselves into SDRs. I suspected this would be one way to breach an air gap.

It seems I was right on the money. If a little behind the times.

Researchers have found an incredibly persistent BIOS rootkit in the wild that includes SDR functionality⦠literally turning your computer into a radio transmitter to exfiltrate data even if youâ(TM)re not connected to the Internet." [..]

"The researchers were using a new tool, Copernicus, which sadly seems to be Windows-only. Nevertheless a number of you might be interested in checking it out.

There is one enduring mystery of this rootkit⦠how does it survive BIOS reflashes?" [..]

https://kabelmast.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/air-gap-breaching-bios-rootkits-with-sdrs-inside-and-smartphones-snowden-nsa-wikileaks/ [wordpress.com]

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388511686744764416 [twitter.com]

- IMHO Copernicus is the most important security tool in recent history. Already found persistent BIOS malware (survives reflashing) here.

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388512915742937089 [twitter.com]

- and thatâ(TM)s not even interesting part. Seems to have a BIOS hypervisor, SDR functionality that bridges air gaps, wifi card removed.

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388521551693217792 [twitter.com]

- Copernicus BIOS verification. Also if tool is mysteriously failing or weird output full of FFs you may have problem. http://goo.gl/AHLwbD [goo.gl]

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388534580493287424 [twitter.com]

- This particular BIOS persistent malware sample seems use TLS encrypted DHCP HostOptions as a command and control.

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388535672828485632 [twitter.com]

- this sample was on a Dell Alienware, but we have verified infected Thinkpads and Sonys too. Potentially MacBooks, unverified.

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388632113496350721 [twitter.com]

- Infected BIOS really dislikes to boot from external devices, almost always goes to internal disk, regardless of settings.

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388702180590354433 [twitter.com]

- Infected BIOS: back channel is via odd fixed length NetBIOS DNS lookups & blocks of IPv6 DNS lookups, even on machines with V6 sw disabled.

https://twitter.com/dragosr/status/388695497134731265 [twitter.com]

- Infected BIOS: can rule out disk drive firmware, using new drives fresh from foilpack, @ioerror â" expensive tests to run, ouch.

http://www.mitre.org/capabilities/cybersecurity/overview/cybersecurity-blog/copernicus-question-your-assumptions-about [mitre.org]

"Copernicus dumps the BIOS so inspection (such as comparing against a clean copy) is possible, and also checks the status of the configuration to determine if the BIOS can be modified.

How does it work? The tool is implemented as a kernel driver that creates a file containing the BIOS dump and a file containing the raw configuration information. When deployed in enterprise environments, scripts can send the raw BIOS dump and configuration information to a server for post-processing. This processing can indicate whether a given BIOS differs from an expected baseline, and it can also indicate whether the BIOS or the computerâ(TM)s System Management RAM (where some code loaded by BIOS continues running after boot)."

=

#BadBIOS - BIOS Malware 2/2 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251197)

- Persistent BIOS malware with hypervisor and SDR found

http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=354463 [wilderssecurity.com]

=

- [Cryptography] programable computers inside our computers

Quoting Viktor Dukhovni (2013-10-22 06:50:38)
> I am much more concerned about the proliferation of miniature programmable
> computers inside our computers (CPUs and programmable firmware in disk
> controllers, battery controllers, BMC controllers, with opaque binary firmware
> update blobs, and complex supply chains) that about secp256r1 vs secp521r1.
>
> We thought embedded devices were for physical infrastructure
> engineers to worry about, but now they are proliferating inside
> our general purpose computers. The next Stuxnet will run on one
> of the invisible computers inside your computer.

http://www.metzdowd.com/pipermail/cryptography/2013-October/018380.html [metzdowd.com]

=

Researcher discovers mysterious BIOS malware [Translated]

Friday, October 11th, 2013, 14:53 by Editorial

"A security researcher has discovered several laptops mysterious malware hiding in the BIOS of computers. The BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) is a set of basic instructions for communication between the operating system and the hardware.

It is essential for the operation of the computer, and also the first major software running at the start-up. An attack on the BIOS may have far-reaching consequences and is difficult to detect. Example by a virus on the desktop

Researcher Dragos Ruiu, creator of the famous Pwn2Own hacker competitions, reports via Twitter that he has discovered that flashing the BIOS can survive. Persistent BIOS malware In addition, the malware on a BIOS hypervisor, also called a virtual machine monitor (VMM) in which a virtual machine is running, and Software Defined Radio (SDR) functionality to 'air gaps to bridge.

SDR is a radio communication system in which components that are normally part of the hardware (for example, mixers, filters and amplifiers) are carried out by means of software on a computer. A-SDR basic system can consist of a computer with a sound card or other analog-to-digital converter preceded by a form of RF front end.

Air gap

An air gap is a computer that is not connected on the internet. Recently left security guru Bruce Schneier even know that he uses an air gap for the documents whistleblower Edward Snowden, he also examines, with a computer that has never been connected on the internet. By means of the SDR attackers would also be able to communicate in this way. With the machine

The malware was discovered by the Copernicus tool that dumps the contents of the BIOS and then to examine them. Dump Ruiu states that Copernicus seen the discovery of the BIOS malware already the main tool of the recent times.
Laptops

The researcher reports that the BIOS malware on a Dell Alienware, Thinkpads and Sony laptops is found. Would have become infected MacBooks also possible but has not been confirmed. The malware uses DHCP options for encrypted communication. Using their skill On the basis of the tweets that the investigation into the malware is still in progress. Security.NL Ruiu has asked for more information. As soon as more details are known, we will let you know."

https://www.security.nl/posting/366329/Onderzoeker+ontdekt+mysterieuze+BIOS-malware [security.nl]

=

- New Bios Malware

http://www.kernelmode.info/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2998 [kernelmode.info]

=

eof

I see plenty of people reading (0)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 6 months ago | (#45251163)

in cafes and parks here in the US. What is disappearing are paper books. people are reading on tablets, ebook readers, computers, even phones. I'd be concerned if there were some unique paper books that would never be put into electronic form, but even those books are being converted to electronic readable formats. Yeah, there are some antiques that have especially great artwork that loses something in translation to electronic form, but those books are kept in special collections in libraries and rarely open to public viewing/handling.

Meh. Paper books are heavy and take up a lot of space. Good riddance. Protecting paper book sellers is like protecting buggy whip makers when everyone is buying automobiles. How long can you try to hold off progress?

Re:I see plenty of people reading (4, Interesting)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 6 months ago | (#45251225)

Electronic books are extremely resource intensive and require a massive amount of well-maintained centralised infrastructure. It's a huge price to pay for the convenience of "being slightly lighter". I have no problem with people choosing to use an e-reader, but it'll be a dark day in civilisation when the written word is only recorded digitally.

What I'm most happy to see here is France understanding that the country is really a geographical area owned by a government on behalf of the people, with various rights and responsibilities assigned to inhabitants in a way which suits the people. I am required to respect private law merely as a result of being born, and there is even better reason to require me to respect public law.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (1)

darkHanzz (2579493) | about 6 months ago | (#45251329)

The way most pocket books are printed is at least as wastefull as an E-book. Those pocketbooks will only last a few decades at best, given the cheap paper they're made of.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251503)

I've got a 1940's science book in my jacket pocket. Will the Ereader book be usable in 5 years?

Re:I see plenty of people reading (2)

Shompol (1690084) | about 6 months ago | (#45251803)

I've got a 1940's science book in my jacket pocket. Will the Ereader book be usable in 5 years?

I currently have my metric ton of paper books dumped in a storage somewhere I cannot easily reach. Most of them are obsolete textbooks and some are priceless physics and calculus books in a language my children will not be able to read. On a rare occasion I need one of them but it is now too difficult to fetch them at will.

To avoid repeating this situation I only buy ebooks now, and unlike their dead wood counterparts, yes, I will have all of them in 5 years, taking up 0 living space, in a searchable format.

On a side note, I only buy non-DRM or books where I can rip DRM. Don't feel like renting books disguised as buying.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (4, Insightful)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about 6 months ago | (#45251351)

Electronic books are extremely resource intensive and require a massive amount of well-maintained centralised infrastructure. It's a huge price to pay for the convenience of "being slightly lighter".

It is not just slightly lighter, you can hold thousand kilograms worth of books in your pocket. The resource intensive and massive centralized infrastructure is only due to digital restriction management. DRM free book do not have this problem. Essentially, what you are saying is that electronic book are defective by design, but we can fix this and save paper in the process. Don't dismiss new technologies because of a few political glitch.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (2, Insightful)

c-reus (852386) | about 6 months ago | (#45251639)

Can I expect to be able to access my collection of e-books in 40 years? I highly doubt that; it's more likely that I'd have to pay multiple times to shift the books from one format to another in order to access them with the e-readers available at that time. The popupar format is epub/mobi today, it's likely to be something else as technology progresses.

Will we witness a planned obsolescence as has happened multiple times with console games? PS1 games can nowadays only be played using an emulator (if you can't find a real PS1 console, that is). The PS1 games people had are naught but frisbees.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (4, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | about 6 months ago | (#45251713)

Can I expect to be able to access my collection of e-books in 40 years?

Unless you're foolish enough to lock yourself into DRM, I don't see why not. Nearly 30 years on (well, 28) and Amiga software can be run in emulators from discs that have been format-shifted. And Amiga-specific files can and have easily been converted to new formats. Except for regular old text, because that still works fine. Or HTML, because that still works fine. Or BMP, because that still worms fine.
If a format works and does it's job, it'll stick around after many hardware and software changes. Calibre already makes it trivial to move between epub and mobipocket (and go to and from RTF, PDF, etc) so I don't see you suddenly being unable to read your library even in 40 years.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (1)

mounthood (993037) | about 6 months ago | (#45251701)

The resource intensive and massive centralized infrastructure is only due to digital restriction management. ... Don't dismiss new technologies because of a few political glitch.

Why should we assume DRM can be fixed at the political level when all experience points to the powerful successfully abusing government? Put another way, if we live in a DRM free world one day it wont' be because of the US, but because of India, China, Brazil, et al.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251353)

Electronic books are extremely resource intensive and require a massive amount of well-maintained centralised infrastructure.

What? Such nonsense.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (1)

lxs (131946) | about 6 months ago | (#45251641)

DRM laden books do need all that. Uncrippled books do fine without.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 6 months ago | (#45251611)

"slightly lighter" to a SINGLE book. Plenty of people have to carry many books to, for example, the university. I walk about 2.5km and back every day to uni. Carrying a bunch of books with me is out of the question - it's just not good for my back.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251721)

Sorry, but in the USA, our country is not a "geographic area owned by a government ..."

Re:I see plenty of people reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251295)

We've always been at war with Eurasia.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 months ago | (#45251315)

I see plenty of people reading in cafes and parks here in the US. What is disappearing are paper books. people are reading on tablets, ebook readers, computers, even phones.

Sure, people still read, but they read less serious literature than they used to. The entire West is becoming a post-literary culture. France, with its intelligentsia's concern with protecting high culture, is trying to resist that. Paris bookshops tend to stock genres like poetry and drama which are not making the transition to e-books like mass-market novels.

. I'd be concerned if there were some unique paper books that would never be put into electronic form, but even those books are being converted to electronic readable formats.

No, they aren't. If a book is out of print but under copyright (perhaps it is unclear who the rights belong to), it is not being digitized and made widely available to those with e-readers. A huge amount of publications, which would have its audience if it were brought back out of print, is being lost to the digital generation. I participate in the ebook filesharing scene, and for a lot of 20th-century literature, we the community have to undertake the digitization process by ourselves because no publisher wants to deal with the rights situation.

Re: I see plenty of people reading (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251461)

You sir... are an idiot. I'd counterpoint all your arguments but I'm much too busy reading old out of print books on my Nexus 7.

Re: I see plenty of people reading (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 months ago | (#45251513)

You sir... are an idiot. I'd counterpoint all your arguments but I'm much too busy reading old out of print books on my Nexus 7.

20th-century out-of-print books still under copyright where it is unclear who the rights holder is? If you are reading them on your Nexus, it's because you got them from a filesharing site.

Re: I see plenty of people reading (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#45251947)

Copyrights are not as long as the US in many parts of the world. In the EU there are many 20th century books out of copyright now.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about 6 months ago | (#45251607)

There was never a golden age of literature when everyone read authors that meet your approval. If people are reading more breezy escapism and genre fiction today than they were before, I'd look at why they feel they need that escapism. Anyway, even a hack can write a pretty good book every once in a while -- especially given that most hacks are unnaturally prolific.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (5, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | about 6 months ago | (#45251333)

"in cafes and parks here in the US. What is disappearing are paper books."

On one hand, losing the ability to read without a hugh tad of supporting technology may be a problem on itself.

On the other, the problem exposed here is not paper versus electronic books but the risk of Amazon trying to become a de facto monopoly as the dumping practice, if it's true, would suggest.

Do you remember that one of the short list of things a government should do, even on the most liberalist wet dreams, is to put an eye on monopolies, right?

Re:I see plenty of people reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251637)

Umm, libertarians are fine with monopolies as long as they are not obtained by government grant and/or illegal means. Amazon isn't dumping, it is simply making up thin margins via volume and efficiencies of scale.

Re:I see plenty of people reading (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 6 months ago | (#45251843)

E-Books are nice, and yes, I have more than one e-book reader. However, paper books have their place for a few ways:

First, if there is a power issue, paper books are still legible in daylight. If the battery runs out on by e-book reader while I'm camping, either I use an external charger or I'm not reading books until I come back to my vehicle or civilization.

Second, DRM. There is nothing stopping book publishers from denying access to one's title list unless a monthly fee was paid, charging by the page or adding additional fees. Think a lawsuit might help? Nope, that EULA was auto-accepted when the app was ran after the update. Of course, books can disappear from readers, just like 1984 did for a period of time. And if done, there is nobody to stay otherwise.

Third, incompatible formats. Kobo, Scribd, Kindle, iBooks, Google Books, Nook, Sony. The formats might be similar, but the DRM is different. The closest thing to a "rosetta stone" is probably an iPad because it can read all those formats. Of course, one should get their books from one e-book store, but sometimes one place may have books another one doesn't.

Fourth, backups. With DRM-ed copies, it might be a backup and restore will not be an option due to the app phoning home for authorization.

e-books are great, as I can carry one device with thousands of titles on it. However, it won't replace paper books.

Of course, it would be nice for Amazon or the big names to sell the e-book and the paper book at one price. That way, I can go download all the relevant stuff I need, and in a few days, have the paper books for the library bookshelf. Best of both worlds.

Not all bad (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 months ago | (#45251179)

While I don't think that Amazon is the be all and end all of books, big stores like Amazon and Chapters/Indigo (here in Canada) have sure done a lot to bring reading back to the masses. Maybe in a large city there's plenty of market for lots of small independant book stores, but it doesn't work everywhere. I don't even think the small town I grew up in had a real book store. And it had somewhere around 12000-30000 people depending on how the mines were doing. At best we had the popular mass market paperbacks at the pharmacy or news stand. Even in the city, it's nice to go to one store and be able to browse thousands of books from all kinds of genres. The ability to order basically any book you want and have it at your front door in well under a week has helped immensely. They have also helped bring down prices quite a bit. With a bunch of independant book stores, nobody had the clout to push publishers for lower prices, so the price on the cover was basically the price you paid. No it's not uncommon to see hardcover books for less than half their cover price. The price of a paperback hasn't risen that much, even though many items have gone up in price. Looking at old books from the thrift store, I find it kind of interesting that prices have only gone up by a couple of bucks in the past 20 years.

In other news... (0, Redundant)

Lordfly (590616) | about 6 months ago | (#45251195)

...Congress has passed legislation to protect buggy whip manufacturers from the likes of Ford and Chrysler.

There's also laws in France which prohibit deep discounts on books, so while you do get a million bookstores per square mile, they all essentially have the same inflated prices (no more than 5% discount). This is protectionism to the extreme. I don't really think this will work long term.

Re:In other news... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#45251307)

I guess if Amazon had paid some taxes in France they might be a little more amenable to keeping the status quo, but as we know they make absolutely no profit, oh no, honest, then France couldn't really care less if they were regulated out of existence.

It has little to do with progress.

Re:In other news... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251309)

Bullshit.

-Book prices are not higher in France than in the US. Of course, there are all sort of books, with very different prices.
-Prices are not "inflated". They are fixed by the editors, not by the government, not by Amazon. If an editor wants to sell its books, I guess that it must have competitive prices.

Re:In other news... (2)

damienl451 (841528) | about 6 months ago | (#45251757)

But prices are higher in France for best-sellers, which is what really matters for most people. Take Plonger, the latest recipient of the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française. It's a 448-page hardcover book that retails for EUR19.95. Now take Eleanor Catton's "The Luminaries", which received the 2013 Man Booker Prize. It retails for GBP9.49 in the UK (EUR11.12) or USD16.74 (EUR12.12) in the US. That's almost twice as much, for half the number of pages.

But perhaps the difference is due to them being two different books, and very recent ones.

So you can also compare translations of the same book: let's have a look at 1Q84. In the US, you can get the paperback version for USD13.10 (EUR9.49). In France, you can get it for EUR9.12. So it's about the same price. Except that the French version only has Book 1, and Book 2 and 3 cost the same price. Which means that the book is three times as expensive.

Obviously, you can find other, less popular books that are cheaper in France than abroad. So there's no across the board increase in prices, you're right. However, there are distributive effects that should be taken into account. If niche (read: more intellectually rigorous) books are more affordable, this primarily benefits higher-educated, wealthier consumers. In practice, the French model asks the masses to subsidize the consumption habits of the educated rich.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251395)

In other news, "the US has again accused China of dumping, essentially selling below market prices, hurting American business".

You got to living in a cave if you haven't heard that line before. Now that the table is turned, surprise, surprise, Americans scream "Protectionism!".

Yeah, yeah, the world shouldn't expect anything other than extreme childish hypocrisy from Americans, right?

Economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251275)

Its about the tourist experience. All of Paris is an anachronism, a big open air museum. Why not the book stores too?

This is backwards (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251325)

I'm French, and I can tell you this defense of the "paper books" is horrible. In France, e-books are typically MORE expansive than paper versions. How could that be possible? How can you argue that you make literature more accessible by imposing a minimal price?! I'm not a very "the free market will take care of you" kind of guy, but in that instance, it's just the wrong solution to the wrong problem.

Re:This is backwards (5, Interesting)

hjf (703092) | about 6 months ago | (#45251423)

How can you argue that you make literature more accessible by imposing a minimal price?!

Because, like the FUCKING SUMMARY said, Amazon has very, VERY deep pockets. They are so big, they will do anything they can, legally, to capture the market (which is a nice way of saying "destroying competition").
Amazon can put a kiosk in the sidewalk in front of a physical store and give away the same books in the store. And keep doing that until the store goes out of business. This is basically what they do when they sell books at 90% discount with free shipping. No other bookstore can do that. This is what's called "unfairness".

But let's suppose you don't care for that. There's also the issue of amazon wanting to go all digital. Amazon is all for efficiency and they would just love to sell just kindle books, not physical ones. What will happen to all those paper books, which are too old, or are in a grey area of copyright? They will never scan and sell those. They will be lost forever, ending up with just a handful of copies scattered in a few libraries around the world. Very accesible, right?

And of course, let's not forget about all those "banned" books. Are there any banned books in France? I don't know. Will there be? With the growing muslim population there, YES.

Re:This is backwards (1)

cHiphead (17854) | about 6 months ago | (#45251533)

With the growing muslim population there, YES.

Ah, there it is. The penultimate argument you can make. Post-modern racism.

Re:This is backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251587)

So what is the ultimate argument?

Re:This is backwards (1)

radish (98371) | about 6 months ago | (#45251679)

What will happen to all those paper books, which are too old, or are in a grey area of copyright? They will never scan and sell those. They will be lost forever, ending up with just a handful of copies scattered in a few libraries around the world.

And what would happen to them without Amazon? If they're in a "grey area of copyright" no-one's going to reprint them either. The copies which exist today are all the copies that will ever exist, scattered in a few libraries until they run out of shelf space and the librarian dumps them in a landfill. If someone does own the copyright and have access to the manuscript it's a LOT cheaper to give that to Amazon/whoever as an ebook than do a small run of physical copies. The likelihood that the content would be preserved in electronic form is MUCH higher than in physical form.

You seem to believe that because people like to consume new books electronically they're somehow suddenly incapable of reading paper - that if an hold book only exists physically it's "lost". I don't understand that at all. Old books are no worse off, new books are much better off (because the cost of duplication is now zero, there will be more copies).

Re:This is backwards (1)

damienl451 (841528) | about 6 months ago | (#45251799)

How is this any different from the present situation? Do you think that Amazon will print books that have gone out of print because they were too old and are being kept in copyright limbo by the publisher? Do you think that independent booksellers carry those in their inventory? Obviously not since no publisher will want to reprint a book whose copyright status is not clear. That leaves used copies, which Amazon also sells. Your argument makes no sense whatsoever: if a publisher wants to keep a book in print, they can do so whether they go all digital or not. But if a book turns out to be unprofitable, which version is more likely to remain available: the print version that must be kept in a controlled environment and will take up valuable shelf space, or the electronic version that can be sold at near zero marginal cost?

Your last sentence is also fact-less bigoted drivel.

Re:This is backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251599)

Could be they are trying to maintain the whole experience of the area. So this isn't just about the price of books.

Re:This is backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45252071)

In France, e-books are typically MORE expansive than paper versions.

This is not just France and probably has nothing to do with regulation, this is publishers not adjusting to the times and trying to squeeze as much money out of you as possible.

I love to read (1, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#45251347)

When I was young teen I used to ride my bike to a used bookstore and buy cheap used paperbacks for 50 cents. Loved it. As I got older I moved to an area that had only regular bookstores, and the books were 10-50 times more costly. So I couldn't read as much.

Now though with eBay and Amazon I can get cheap books again. So I can afford to read again.

I guess if I want to be able to keep reading I'll have to stay out of France.

Re:I love to read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251429)

Pfft. Nice attempt to troll. If you wanted to read more, you could use the library.

Re:I love to read (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#45251469)

> Pfft. Nice attempt to troll. If you wanted to read more, you could use the library.

I guess you never were a serious reader.

The fact is I read the entire contents of several sections of my Public Library. That was exhausted by the time I was 13.

Re:I love to read (1)

Aboroth (1841308) | about 6 months ago | (#45251613)

Every library I've ever known is a member of an inter-library loan program, giving you access to the collections of many other libraries. All you need to do is ask for it. This has been very widespread and common for a few decades now. Even if they didn't have that, you can always ask them to purchase the book for their collection, so you can read it. They have a portion of their yearly budget dedicated to buying new books, and librarians are happy to help you get what you want if you ask. It even makes part of their job a little easier since they have to figure out new books to buy anyway. You could see a good book in a bookstore, then ask your library to get it for their collection.

Re:I love to read (3, Interesting)

Zironic (1112127) | about 6 months ago | (#45251553)

Have you heard about this newfangled institution called a library?

Re:I love to read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251653)

Have you heard of this newfangled invention called en e-reader?

Re:I love to read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251603)

Actually, France is protecting the price of new books, not used books. Considering that on amazon you (often) have to pay for the shipment of used books, then the disparition of little book stores actually increase the price of the used books.
So you could argue that on the contrary, to get cheap books, you may want to go to France.
(However, there is still that tendancy to not read a lot of books in english in that country).

Re:I love to read (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#45251865)

eBay and Amazon are not always cheap for used books though. People have discovered that they don't need to compete with the lowest priced sellers because there is a finite supply of used books. They can price their books at a level which makes them a reasonable profit and simply wait months, maybe years for supply to run out and someone to be willing to pay. The only caveat is you need a large and extremely cheap warehouse to keep all those books.

Re:I love to read (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#45251897)

Replying twice because I noticed something else about your post. What appears to have happened is that the new bookshops squeezed out the used book shops in the are you now live. Well, not just the new book shops, it is more of a general trend where popular shops push up rents in some areas, so that only other popular shops can afford to be near them, and in the end every town is just a clone with the same chain stores dominating.

At least there is more than one bookstore near you. In the UK the only major high street book seller is Waterstones now. It sounds like the French are trying to stop Amazon being the only place to buy books, period.

no, books are dirt cheap (2)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 6 months ago | (#45251937)

If it takes me 24 hours to read a book, and I pay full price, let's say 8 euro, that's 33 cents per hour. The price could be doubled and it would still be one of the cheapest pass times around. Your investment of time is always bigger than your cash investment for reading a book, so I reckon most people who complain about high book prices actually need to look at their overall spending. ...and you can sell the book 2nd hand afterward, and you can swap it and get a book for nothing.

George Orwell wrote a good piece about this:

http://theorwellprize.co.uk/george-orwell/by-orwell/essays-and-other-works/books-vs-cigarettes/ [theorwellprize.co.uk]

Bravo, France!

Re:I love to read (2)

BorisSkratchunkov (642046) | about 6 months ago | (#45251985)

Parisian book stores (Gibert Jeune, Shakespeare and Co) are not ridiculously expensive. When I was a student at Paris 3 I was able to buy all of my textbooks for under 100 euros (compare to prices paid for American textbooks; also note that some of those textbooks were unnecessary supplements that I bought out of curiosity). Most individual books range between 5-10 euros, and, scaled for the cost of living, most bouquinistes (you know, the people who sell used books) had decent prices (especially considering that some of the books in their selection were rare and/or out of print). The used bookstores that you speak of very much have an analogue in the bouquinistes.

If you want to stay out of France, France will not miss you.

Parent is misinformed (1)

DavidMZ (3411229) | about 6 months ago | (#45252067)

Fixed price on books apply only to new books. Walk along the Seine and you will find plenty of cheap second-hand books. And it is a lovely promenade.

Some French booksellers are big businesses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251369)

Some of France's wealthiest citizens are in retail. François Pinault, estimated net worth of US$15 billion, owns FNAC, one of France's largest booksellers. I imagine that FNAC benefits from the price setting more than most of the small booksellers.

Look at all the hate (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 6 months ago | (#45251383)

/. has 2 stories almost in a sequence, one is complaining that Amazon is reinvesting its profits to improve customer service, the other one (this one) shows that the only way that some others found to 'compete' with Amazon is to use government power to raise prices artificially and reduce quality of customer service. What's more, many here are actually cheering against currently the best in the field (Amazon) and want to see them stopped!

I guess as time goes nothing really changes. People still don't learn from history, people are still jealous little creatures and they are still acting against their own best interest just to try and push somebody down that does things better than they do. Of-course governments are still oppressing the freedoms of people, be it the individuals that try and build the best thing they can or be it others, who benefit from that work. Just like the case of Standard Oil, which was lowering prices and increasing product quality, speed of delivery over 4 decades, before it was broken down by a government, that acted that way to protect many smaller uncompetitive interests, that combined forces with the government to destroy the most successful and to hurt the consumers. Same with Alcoa Aluminium, same attempted with the IBM, same attempted with Microsoft, by the way, same with Amazon.

That's right, all of these cases have nothing to do with damage to customers, all of these cases have to do with damage to the uncompetitive businesses and corrupt politicians and the stupid mob that cheers for this destruction of excellence against their own real interests.

In a free market, free from gov't doing this on behest of somebody standing on a background with a bribe in his hand, there are no monopolies, but there may be economies of scale that serve customers the best while at least temporarily winning in the market. The moment they stop competing and stop innovating, stop pushing prices down and quality up, that's the moment somebody else can start doing that. But this hurts egos and bottom lines of the uncompetitive and this does not put money in the pockets of the politicians and this does not give the mob a reason to vandalise something.

Real history and real economics - something they don't teach in public schools for a reason.

Re: Look at all the hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251471)

We'll said!

Re:Look at all the hate (2)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | about 6 months ago | (#45252035)

A market captured by a monopoly is not a free market. That is why Standard Oil (88% of the market), etc. Had to be broken up. It has nothing to do with "jealous little creatures".

Free Market Economics (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#45251413)

Not allowed there.

Re:Free Market Economics (2)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 6 months ago | (#45251661)

You're upside-down on this, aren't you? They already have a free market for books, and your implied criticism is that they don't want it replaced with a monopoly (and a foreign one at that).

And here we arrive at the central contradiction of what you call "free" markets. They will always tend toward monopoly (or collusion among oligopolies, which is essentially the same thing), because monopoly profits are always higher than the sum of profits in a competitive market. It's always worthwhile for the big fish to buy out the little fish, and it's equally worthwhile for the little fish to sell.

Is there a libertarian answer to this? How is an economy of free markets to be preserved when they naturally tend toward monopoly, and the society as a whole is ideologically barred from interfering with that process? Or is economic libertarianism really a crypto-philosophy promoting the interests of those few who benefit from monopoly?

internet is top free market, has billions of pages (1, Flamebait)

raymorris (2726007) | about 6 months ago | (#45251785)

The most free market of all markets is the internet, where anyone can readily access any site, anywhere in the world. (Save a very few totalitarian countries with national firewalls.)

You claim free markets lead to monopoly. Therefore, the most free market system, the internet, has only one web page, correct?

Choice leads to differentiation, my friend. In a free market, I can choose Walmart pants and you can choose Abercrombie. Both serve a section of the market and both thrive. A government controlled market is the market for a driver's license. Government control is monopoly (and the DMV serves it's customers SO well).

In some areas of the US, the government enforces a monopoly on internet access, and you get 5-10 Mbps for $55. In Texas, it's mostly free market and we get Google's gigabit fiber, two cable providers, DSL, wireless, satellite, all kinds of choices.

Re:internet is top free market, has billions of pa (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251997)

> Therefore, the most free market system, the internet, has only one web page, correct?

Yes, it's Google. The concept is not about physical availability. It's about perception.

Re:Free Market Economics (-1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#45251807)

I see you are a socialist, so we have nothing more to discuss. Have a nice time in line for your cheese.

Re:Free Market Economics (1)

BorisSkratchunkov (642046) | about 6 months ago | (#45252017)

But what Amazon is doing is not free market economics- they are using their previously accumulated profits to artificially distort the market by selling at a loss and not taking a profit. This doesn't encourage competition, it stifles it. The French government is essentially reacting to ensure that some semblance of a well-regulated free market is preserved by compensating for Amazon's chicanery.

"promote reading" banning cheap books. Obama "no" (-1, Flamebait)

raymorris (2726007) | about 6 months ago | (#45251421)

Obama was right about one thing and the French missed it. "If you want people to stop doing something as much, make it more expensive."

More expensive books = fewer people can buy fewer books.
I realize you liberals aren't that smart, but this isn't complicated principles that actually require thought, this is basic shit any third grader should understand.

Re:"promote reading" banning cheap books. Obama "n (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251705)

Obama can read? Someone needs to give him a copy of the constitution!

A large enough company (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251481)

Can operate on several markets, and chose one to work at a loss for years.

In the end, all operators on that "at loss market" will go bankrupt apart from that large company (because it can keep subsidizing that market with the profits of all the other markets it is on).

That will make the company become a de-fact monopolist by the way it uses it's size to steamroll all competitors to oblivium.

And that has nothing to do with "free market".

This act is CRIMINAL in the EU (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251831)

France has no legal right to pass such laws, under the rules of the EU- rules that OVERRIDE all national Laws, unless said country withdraws from the Treat of Rome.

However, when Tony Blair rose to power, on of the first things he did was to meet with the leaders of senior EU nations, and state that they should, collectively, accept that they were above the EU rules, and ignore them when it suited. He pointed out that this is how the UN works (Britain, France, USA, Russia and China are effectively lawless nations at an International level, because each of the five is SOLE judge as to their own possibility illegality).

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy jumped at Blair's suggestion, and the EU began a VERY different course.

Many sheeple get VERY confused at the adherence of many countries to the EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS, being so thick that they thing the ECHR is part of the EU. It is not. Countries sign up to Human Rights Treaties in a completely DISTINCT act from signing to the Treaties of Rome. However, it is a general expectation that EU members are also nations that place themselves in the jurisdiction of the Human Rights court, although Blair is moving heaven and Earth to change this situation. Blair's problem is that even senior legal figures that are Blair's loyalists CANNOT understand how withdrawing from Human Rights courts could be sold to the sheeple.

Meantime, Blair simply advises each nation to ignore their responsibilities, and pass national laws that break the higher rules and laws, DARING those responsible for upholding these International Laws to do anything about it, given that they are ALL political appointees by the member nations, and can be individually ruined if they cause 'trouble' (see that senior French figure falsely accused of rape in NY, to punish and ruin him for not playing ball with France's zionist leadership).

Ireland illegally ignores the conventions that protect the Rights of children and families, and allows the extremely abusive Catholic Church to run ALL schools in Ireland, and directly interfere with the operation of the Irish parliament. France and Italy have passed many Laws intended to directly persecute ordinary, Law abiding Muslims (laws, ironically, that could NEVER be passed in the UK or USA, because English-speaking nations recognise FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE, whereas, despite the principles of the ECHR, non-English EU nations do not).

The protectionist laws are against the founding principles of the EU. The EU, first and foremost, sets up a unified trading zone, where no nation may act against any partner nation, in such a way that limits that partner more than their own nations, or interferes with free trade principles amongst partners. Price-fixing (in the internal market) is illegal. Blair's acts ensured it might as well be legal.

Blair's tactic was to use the stupidity of the sheeple against them. So politicians price-fix under the "we've got an excuse" mechanism. The 'excuse' doesn't make it lawful, but the sheeple have NO CONCEPT of EU law, only what the mainstream media convinces them seems right and reasonable. So Scotland (which Blair has arranged to TEAR from the Union shortly) fixes the price of booze (the PRICE not the tax, which is a separate issue). France fixes the price of books. And every nasty extremist racist nation that is now being added to the EU is taught, by example, that joining the EU is NOT an act of making nations more civilised and reasonable, but a game of pure power.

The EU is just another war-mongering gang, lawless and murderous like the USA. Blair wants to ensure that the direction he has taken the EU gives the Russian bloc and the China bloc no choice but to fully prepare to carve out their part of the planet with the upmost ruthlessness themselves. The EU is being crafted into a global wartime entity- the very opposite to why it was first founded out of the ashes of WW2.

Good for the French ! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251861)

Amazon will abuse its power once it has attained monopoly status as
a supplier.

I have never once bought anything via Amazon and I never will.

Actually, I'd like to see Jeff Bezos get terminal cancer. He is a despicable
little parasite and the world would be better off without him.

good job! (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 6 months ago | (#45251879)

So a bunch of wealthy Parisians get to shop in pretty bookstores, while the rest of France pays inflated prices to Amazon, increasing their profit margins. This is win-win for special interests and the wealthy.

Amazon want a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251921)

and is prepared to spend to get it.

Protection vs special privilege (0)

dumky2 (2610695) | about 6 months ago | (#45251949)

The rhetoric of politics can get pretty confusing. Usually, protection means protection from force, trespass and other forms of violation of property rights.
In this case, Amazon did not use any such force against independent booksellers. It is actually those booksellers who are using force against Amazon through government.
So it is more accurate to say that the French government moves to grant French independent booksellers special privileges. Stopping your competitors from doing a better job than you isn't protection, it's aggression.

Taxes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45251967)

"Amazon said any effort to raise the price of books diminishes the cultural choices of French consumers and penalizes both Internet users and small publishers who rely on Internet sales."
If Amazon would pay the taxes they should this would not be problem. But since the American government is allowing this illegal behavior, since no management have gone to prison for tax fraud, people, culture and society will suffer.

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