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July 11, 2014


Not Comics: Pamela Druckerman On State + Widespread Cultural Support For Bookstores In France

I imagine there's enough basic information in this New York Times article about France's protection of its independent bookstores to make it a worthwhile read. I would also imagine that the situation is a lot more complicated and nuanced than described, so maybe take the piece's thrust and aim with that in mind. I love independent bookstores, and I think a market in which they're viable is better in the long-term for a wider array of comics than a market absolutely dominated by a single bookseller, no matter the discounts and reach involved. As the article notes, protectionist thinking isn't exactly something people in the US take to with a great deal of passion, and might not even if they shared the same cultural disposition towards books claimed for the French in the article. I do think there might eventually be at least a chance for legislation that specifically curtailed elements of the aggressive pricing from a fairness standpoint -- like the no discounting if there's free shipping law described -- but even that would be a hard sell. Another throwaway line about Amazon's European tax situation seems to suggest an even more likely pathway for some reform: getting companies operating within the US to pay taxes there, although as far as I know that doesn't apply in this case and certainly Amazon has fought paying sales tax state by state.

I do think more people that consume goods, including comics, are finding it a bit more difficult to avoid seeing the consequences of their choices on where to shop and how. I'm not sure that it's enough to make a difference in the short- or long-term, but I'm not sure that's the standard that people need to apply.
 
posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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