The vibrant French children's publishing scene owes something to the country's independent booksellers. In France it is illegal to cut the price of a book below 5%. I know, it sounds incredible, but that was life in Australia and the UK until the removal of the net book price. While it chews up publishers and bookshops elsewhere, in France Amazon cannot undercut domestic bookshops. Some might say that this means 'the consumer' gets a bad deal or is getting ripped off by the publishers and bookstores. More likely is that smaller publishers and start-ups can compete in the market, rather than surrender their margins to the big guy(s).
Independent bookshops, which are often best at hand-selling the interesting, unusual and unique titles, aren't crushed under the wheels. Chain stores (or supermarkets), can't undercut small businesses on price.
Sounds awfully sensible, don't you think?
You can help keep a healthy book ecology by supporting your independent bookseller.
In Australia, I recommend:
The Little Bookroom - children's book specialist who do mail order, and are passionate and know up-to-the-minute. Also do mail order.
The Kids' Bookshop - online only, so mail order is not a problem.
Readings Books & Music - comprehensive and a good mail order service, too. (Disclosure: this website's editor currently works at Readings as a bookseller.)
Wherever you are, please consider your local independents.