France has passed a measure intended to protect independent book retailers from the likes of Amazon. In essence, the reasoning behind the bill is that Amazon is capable of price dumps, combined with things like free shipping, that no other retailer is capable of matching. As such, the bill essentially prevents Amazon in France from offering combination deals like price reductions on combined orders and free shipping. From what I understand, they can still offer one or the other - but not both. Doing so, it is reasoned, will allow independent retailers to compete on a more even playing field.
Amazon, of course, is less than thrilled about this. They're biggest argument against this thus far is that the law reduces the spending power of French consumers by forcing them to pay artificially higher prices from Amazon.
There is a certain ring of truth to that, but that very much leads me to my zen koan of the day - what is ultimately more important: how much you can buy with your money, or whom the money that you are spending is ultimately going to?
In the case of your average French consumer, they may be able to buy the same book that is sold at a local, independent retailer from Amazon, and buy it for ten percent less. However, they know the owners of that local, independent retailer, and they like them. They know that the prices that they charge aren't out of a desire for more profit, but a need to pay the electrical bill.
If you were said French consumer, where would you choose to purchase the book?