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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Non merci to eBooks

eReaders are failing to catch on in France where readers prefer paperbacks and show no interest in following the eReading trend.

eading habits were back on the political agenda in France this week when Hollande's government, vowing to protect the printed word and France's bookish reputation, announced it would roll back Nicolas Sarkozy's controversial VAT rise on books.

In contrast to the UK's famous three-for-two deals, the French state fixes the prices of books and readers pay the same whether they buy online, at a high-street giant or a small bookseller. Discounting is banned. The government boasts that price controls have saved small independent bookshops from the ravages of free-market capitalism that were unleashed in the UK when it abandoned fixed prices in the 1990s. France has more than 3,000 independent local bookshops and 400 in Paris, compared with around 1,000 in the UK and only 130 in London. But online book giants are still eating into small bookshops, many of which struggle to stay afloat.

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