BOOKS
06/04/2013 04:47 pm ET | Updated Jul 28, 2014

Amazon In France: French Culture Minister Calls Website 'Destructive For Booksellers'

It's no secret that France does not hold Amazon in high regard, but now the country's minister of culture has gone so far as to call the website, and other online retail giants, "destructive" for bookstores.

"Today, everyone has had enough of Amazon, which, through practices of dumping, cuts prices in order to enter markets and drive up rates once they have established a quasi-monopoly," Aurélie Filippetti said during a conference Monday, according to Le Monde.

"The book and reading industry is challenged by certain sites using every opportunity to break into the French and European book market," Filippetti continued, adding, "It's destructive for booksellers."

As Le Parisien notes, Filippetti expressed her concern that Amazon is practicing fiscal dumping the same day she announced the ministry's "unprecedented" plan of support for independent bookstores, whose sales have reportedly fallen by 8 percent in the past decade.

The culture minister also revealed her intent to examine other ways to inhibit Amazon's growth in the French market -- for example, by imposing restrictions on the site's discount offers.

Filippetti's remarks don't mark the first time Amazon has been targeted by France's Ministry of Culture. Last year, Filippetti's predecessor proposed a tax on book-selling sites that threaten independent retailers. While that proposal has not been passed, the ministry recently introduced a similar plan to tax the makers and distributors of digital devices, such as Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPhone.

Amazon currently faces a $252 million tax bill from France for back taxes and penalties in relation to "the allocation of income between foreign jurisdictions." However, the commerce giant is contesting the claim, which stems from taxes due during the period of 2006 to 2010.

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