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Old 06-22-2013, 02:19 AM   #1
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French Government Thinks Amazon Is Too Customer Friendly

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The French government thinks Amazon has some nerve giving customers discounts and free shipping when they buy books.*

Aurelie Filippetti, France's culture minister, wants to stop this with a new law.*

"I'm in favor of ending the possibility of offering both free delivery and a 5% discount," Filippetti*told French news station BFMTV on Friday, as reported by Reuters. "We need a law, so we're going to find a legislative window to introduce one."
http://www.businessinsider.com/frenc...-amazon-2013-6
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Old 06-22-2013, 02:22 AM   #2
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All I can respond is....

And they wonder why people make jokes about the French.
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Old 06-22-2013, 02:49 AM   #3
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Yes, we do wonder why people make jokes about the French in general because the actual government does not, by far, represent the majority of us, and I will not even say what I think of Aurelie Filippetti.

Please do not generalize, I would never think bad of the Canadians in general solely based on my experience with Kobo, nor would I base my point of view on the Americans on their politics towards the banking sector...

Regarding Amazon, the problem has been the avoidance of taxes. They found some very legal tricks to do so, but they are not the only ones, and since the tricks are indeed legal, Ms Fillipetti is looking at ways to retaliate. Why and how she, out of every other contestant , some of them very competent in that matter indeed, managed to land the job of Ministre de la Culture, is indeed a mystery to me and many of my compatriots.
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:25 AM   #4
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Obviously it would be preferable to close the tax loopholes that enable Amazon to undercut its competitors. As that isn't as easily done it is acceptable to use other means.
It is quite remarkable that the US uses extremely aggressive methods to pursue their own citizens for tax payments globally, yet open the doors widely for corporate tax avoidance.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:31 AM   #5
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It seems all about antidumping/antitrust measures, a real preocupation. A strong competitor can reduce prices to dismantle the others so it turns out a de facto monopoly, capable of highening prices. As long as I like Amazon┤s discounts, it is not a non-profit corporation and, without laws in that matter, it could kill competitors.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
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It seems all about antidumping/antitrust measures, a real preocupation. A strong competitor can reduce prices to dismantle the others so it turns out a de facto monopoly, capable of highening prices. As long as I like Amazon┤s discounts, it is not a non-profit corporation and, without laws in that matter, it could kill competitors.
The independent bookstores protection is a long lasting thing. I don't like the idea of that kind of law, but I think its aim is to protect the b&m bookstores that can't have their headquarters in Luxembourg to avoid some taxes.
In 2007, Amazon had to stop free shipping of books. Obviously, it didn't last long.
This time, wait and see.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:45 PM   #7
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The independent bookstores protection is a long lasting thing. I don't like the idea of that kind of law, but I think its aim is to protect the b&m bookstores that can't have their headquarters in Luxembourg to avoid some taxes.
In 2007, Amazon had to stop free shipping of books. Obviously, it didn't last long.
This time, wait and see.
Yes, that is exactly the point.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:25 PM   #8
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Obviously it would be preferable to close the tax loopholes that enable Amazon to undercut its competitors. As that isn't as easily done it is acceptable to use other means.
It is quite remarkable that the US uses extremely aggressive methods to pursue their own citizens for tax payments globally, yet open the doors widely for corporate tax avoidance.
Does Amazon have tax loopholes that its competitors don't ?
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:43 PM   #9
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Does Amazon have tax loopholes that its competitors don't ?
I doubt it. They just have accountants and lawyers who know where to look.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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Doesn't this also bring matters of international law into play as well? I mean Amazon is headquartered here in the U.S. and the complaint is coming from the French government. And not all their books go via physical delivery routes as some of Amazon's book sales are totally via the internet.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:26 PM   #11
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Yes, we do wonder why people make jokes about the French in general because the actual government does not, by far, represent the majority of us, and I will not even say what I think of Aurelie Filippetti.

Please do not generalize, I would never think bad of the Canadians in general solely based on my experience with Kobo, nor would I base my point of view on the Americans on their politics towards the banking sector....
Not to worry. I was just pointing out how the average person who has no idea of French politics would take that news item, thinking that it represents general public feeling.

Heck, around here there are still places selling "Freedom Fries" instead of French fries just because the owners were ticked off by France's response to the first Gulf War! Those folks are incapable of seeing any separation between the public wishes of the French population and the politics of the government functionaries.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:29 AM   #12
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Well, I would just like to say:

Hooray for cheap books from Amazon!
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:08 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Edward_R View Post
Does Amazon have tax loopholes that its competitors don't ?
Yes, certainly. Some tax loopholes are only economically viable for companies of a certain size. A small bookshop can't operate a tax saving holding company in Luxembourg. Additionally, the US is notorious for its generous regulation that allows US companies to hide their foreign income in foreign tax havens.

BTW, it is quite simple to take swipes at any nationality. Foreign nationals may neither own a TV station nor an airline in the US. Yet that is obviously fair and just while the French are just fuddy-duddy, anti free-traders if they don't want to see all of their independent bookshops steamrolled by a US company.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:26 PM   #14
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I can understand being protectionist toward smaller booksellers, but how many small booksellers are there compared to the number of people who would benefit from discounted prices and free shipping? Where is the point where one need outweighs the other?

Are book sales taxed in France? Perhaps it might be better to give a tax exemption to independent book sellers of a certain size, to encourage purchases there.

Intellectually, I like the idea of the continued existence of small booksellers because they do serve a need by providing books that might not be available elsewhere and the staff can be a storehouse of knowledge. In reality, though, I never patronize them; I've only gone in them when I've been on vacation, looking for something to read. I've lived in this town for a couple of decades and I couldn't tell you if there was a small bookseller around here or not. The idea of searching through stacks and shelves of assorted books, trying to find something that might pique my interest to me is a chore rather than a pleasurable pursuit. I've never looked at it as some sort of treasure hunt. Some of this is due to physical and visual limitations on my part - when it's hard to read book titles on lower shelves, looking for books on them becomes work. For me, the online booksellers are a Godsend because I can easily find books and authors that interest me. I'm sure there are folks in France who are just like me and who would be hurt by the proposed new law.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:38 PM   #15
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I can understand being protectionist toward smaller booksellers, but how many small booksellers are there compared to the number of people who would benefit from discounted prices and free shipping? Where is the point where one need outweighs the other?
But the reason is not to be protective towards smaller booksellers. The reason is to be protective towards the book buyers and ensure that they do not get it worse in the long run. And one method to do that seems to be to protect smaller booksellers.
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