March 21, 2012

Turnabout is fair play: France proposes taxing Amazon for indie bookstore fund


After innumerable stories about Amazon simply refusing to obey the law and collect sales taxes, along comes perhaps the most delicious bit of news since that bit of belligerence whereby Amazon offered people actual cash to commit corporate espionage: the country known as France has oranized a proposal “to tax large booksellers to help French independent bookstores impacted by the rise of online giants like Amazon.”

According to a report from TechCrunch by Ingrid Lundgren, the tax “would be applied not only to books sold online by companies like Amazon, but also those sold in larger physical stores, with the proceeds then going into a fund for smaller booksellers.”

The tax was suggested by the Minister for Culture, Frederic Mitterand. According to Techcrunch, the report …

… comes also at a time when President Nicholas Sarkozy has also started to raise the issue of taxing large Internet companies that profit from online advertising, as a way of getting more corporate taxes from them. Although companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook collectively make more than €3 billion annually in the country, they typically only pay about €4 million in taxes, according to one report from the Digital Economy Commission.


Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.