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30-Day Payment Rule Could Shutter Indie Bookstores

by | Mar 13, 2024 | News

France’s independent booksellers face a new threat: not a change in policy at Amazon, but the European Union itself – and specifically the European Parliament’s Late Payment Directive.  The European Parliament is proposing a 30-day cap on the payment of invoices, regardless of sector.

The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and the European and International Booksellers Association (EIBF) have already said they are “deeply concerned” by the proposed revision, which would disrupt normal business practices in the book sector, where payment terms between publishers, distributors and bookshops vary across the EU. They stand at 60-180 days in Italy and 95-120 days in Spain, for example. Nowhere in the EU are invoices in the book sector set as low as 30 days, the bodies point out.

According to the French booksellers association (Syndicat de la Librairie Francaise), around 1,300 of France’s independent bookshops, about one third of the total number, would be threatened of the proposed revision goes through.  The chief reason that there are so many independent bookstores per head of the population is that France has a fixed price policy which means that the indies cannot be undercut by Amazon or the chains.  A similar policy operates in Germany.

 

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