Bruno LE MAIRE, Minister of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, and Rima ABDUL MALAK, Minister of Culture, have decided to accept the proposal of the Electronic Communications Regulatory Authority, Postal and Press Distribution (ARCEP) concerning the minimum price for the cost of delivering books.

The law of 30 December 2021 aimed at strengthening the book economy and strengthening equity and trust between its actors, known as the Darcos law, provides in particular that the service of delivery of books cannot be offered free of charge, but must be invoiced in accordance with a minimum amount fixed by order.

This legislation preserves the balance inherent in the Lang Act of 10 August 1981 on the single price of the book by adapting the sector to the digital age and by restoring equity between some major e-commerce platforms - which practice an almost free of costs of shipping books regardless of the amount ordered - and a whole network of booksellers who can’t match these rates for small orders.

The legislator entrusted ARCEP with the task of formulating a proposal to that effect. After extensive public consultation, the regulatory authority proposed to the two ministers that the price of the defined delivery service be at least 3 euros all taxes included for any order where the purchase amount of books is less than 35 euros. This minimum price does not apply to orders withdrawn from a book, bookstore or other retail trade.

The ARCEP proposal strikes a balance between achieving the objective set by the legislator and preserving the book market. The tariff of 3 euro, commonly applied for the delivery of other products, does not appear to be a deterrent for buyers and the €35 threshold favours order grouping, a virtuous gesture in terms of ecological transition.

France will notify the European Commission of a draft decree for its opinion. Once it is issued, the minimum tariff will come into force within 6 months of its publication.