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Amazon the Destroyer of Bookstores?

Last week (June 3), French Minister for Culture and Communication Aurelie Filippetti had some harsh statements for Amazon, which she labeled the “destroyer” of bookstores. She further stated, “Today, everyone has had enough of Amazon, which, by dumping, slashes prices to get a foothold in markets only to raise them once they have established a virtual monopoly.”

Filippetti made her comments in front of about 700 booksellers and publishers. On the political side, Amazon has started a company in Luxembourg, which enables them to benefit from a cheap tax rate. To combat this, Filippetti aims to fight some of the cheap prices and shipping deals Amazon offers.

With 40% of the book market in France made from independent booksellers, Filippetti is attempting to prevent what has happened in places such as the United States. Over the past decade, we have witnessed the end of Borders and the dwindling of Barnes & Noble. Yet, the disappearing ma-and-pa shops disappearing are making less press. Frankly, they cannot compete simply through a brick and mortar establishment, and many of them resell through Amazon, the very site that helped dwindle their ranks. Amazon even offers a mobile app to scan barcodes to check for a cheaper price on Amazon, a very useful tool.

We as consumers have to come to grips with the fact that this may not be a bad thing. Filippetti is convinced that Amazon will raise prices as soon as they “destroy” all other competition in France. Yet, Amazon still remains as cheap as ever in the United States. While small bookstores offer a nostalgic feel, Amazon has provided millions of people with access to book across the world, at a very reasonable rate.

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