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Buying a book: online, in a store or in a bookstore, does it cost the same price?

2023-06-08T07:22:04.283Z

Highlights: The law of August 10, 1981, known as the Lang Law, on the single price of books, will soon celebrate its 42nd anniversary. The rule of the single retail price applies all year round, throughout the country and to all retailers: hypermarket, press house, wholesaler, traditional or online bookstore. On 9 June 2021, the Senate adopted a bill to improve the book economy and strengthen fairness between its actors (setting a floor price for book delivery costs in order to reduce distortion of competition)


For historian Patricia Sorel (Petite histoire de la librairie française, January 2021), the 1981 law on the single price of books


What is the single price of the book?

The law of August 10, 1981, known as the Lang Law, on the single price of books, will soon celebrate its 42nd anniversary! Before that date, the sale of books was subject to free competition. The rule of the single retail price applies all year round, throughout the country and to all retailers: hypermarket, press house, wholesaler, traditional or online bookstore. Objectives: to promote equality for all readers; maintain a very dense decentralized distribution network, particularly in disadvantaged areas; and supporting pluralism in creation and publishing.

The Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ) validated the Lang Law in a judgment of 10 January 1985. An equally important step for proper compliance with the law. On 9 June 2021, the Senate adopted a bill to improve the book economy and strengthen fairness between its actors (setting a floor price for book delivery costs in order to reduce distortion of competition).

The selling price of the book in euros and including VAT must be indicated on the 4th cover of the book, either by printing or by labeling. Check the next time you go to your bookseller!

Buying a used book: the trick to pay less for your book

There are many sites selling used books or bookstores, which allows you to save money on the purchase of the book. This is the only solution to pay less for a book given the legislation in force.

La Bourse aux Livres, la Fnac, Amazon, Momox, Ebay, Rakuten... You can find beautiful references at low prices on these sites. Also note that more and more bookstores are specializing in second-hand, for the price of the book, but also for ecological reasons.

Exceptions to the single price of the book?

The law of 10 August 1981 on the single price of the book authorizes a reduction limited to 5% of the price, via loyalty cards for example. It is also possible to offer a price lower than the retail price in the case of a book published or imported for more than two years, and whose last supply dates back more than six months (Article 5 of the Lang Law).

A reduction of 9% has also been allowed since 2003 for the sale of books to local authorities, educational and research institutions, trade unions and libraries.

For books sold by subscription or mail order (this is the case of a book club in particular), the law provides that their own editions may display different prices if the works have been published for more than nine months.

How much does a book bought online cost?

The law "regulating the distance selling of books" was published in the Official Journal on 9 July 2014. The fourth paragraph of Article 1 of Law No. 81-766 of 10 August 1981 on the price of books has been supplemented by these two sentences: "When the book is shipped to the buyer and is not collected in a book retail business, the selling price is that set by the publisher or importer. The retailer may charge a discount of 5% of that price on the rate of the delivery service it establishes, without being able to offer that service free of charge. ». The law therefore prohibits combining the discount of 5% maximum and the shipping costs offered. Delivery can only be free if the customer is delivered to a bookseller.

And the price of the digital book?

The conditions for fair competition regarding the price of digital books were introduced in the law of 26 May 2011, indicating that the publisher may set, for digital books, the same selling price for all resellers, whether they operate from France or from abroad. The price may differ depending on the content of the offer and its terms of access or use, which avoids hindering the commercial innovations that digital technology inherently fosters.

Are there sales for books?

Retailers may charge prices below the price set by the publisher only on books published or imported for more than 2 years (from the month following the legal deposit) and whose last supply was more than 6 months ago.

Source: leparis

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