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Canadian Booksellers Association says no to Amazon

In reaction to the news that Amazon is seeking government approval to establish operations in Canada, the Canadian Booksellers Association released a statement demanding that the government reject the online retailer’s application. From the press release:

CBA contends that allowing Amazon to operate a business within Canada would contravene the Investment Canada Act which requires that foreign investments in the book publishing and distribution sector be compatible with national cultural policies and be of net benefit to Canada and the Canadian-controlled sector.

CBA President Stephen Cribar argues that Amazon’s entry into Canada would detrimentally affect the country’s independent businesses and cultural industries: “Individual Canadian booksellers have traditionally played a key role in ensuring the promotion of Canadian authors and Canadian culture. These are values that no American retailer could ever purport to understand or promote.”

CBA urges the Canadian government and the Department of Canadian Heritage to continue its support of our unique cultural perspective by placing reasonable limits on American domination of our book market and rejecting’s current application.

The release urges Canadians to write letters to their MPs and to the ministers of industry and culture, and even to Stephen Harper himself, though we all know how he feels about books.

  • Michael

    As as an independent Canadian bookseller I support Amazon’s proposal to set-up a warehouse in Canada. I believe in the free market. But more importantly, I believe in the free exchange of culture and ideas.

    The Canadian Booksellers Association’s deluded and censoring protectionism would have you shut out Amazon. They don’t want the competition, but they would have you believe that Amazon does not support Canadian values. If Canadian values aren’t about international free speech, and the international sharing of ideas, books, media and culture, then what are Canadian values?

  • Robin

    Bravo to the CBA. Unless measures are put in place to restrict Amazon’s enormous greed, they will put most of the Canadian indie booksellers out of business, as they have here in the U.S.

    There should have been state taxation laws instituted prior to Amazon’s entree as ‘the world’s biggest bookstore’.

  • Von

    This is good. I hope the government approves Amazon’s request. That will give readers an option to Chapters/Indigo, which now has the biggest piece of the pie. That’s right! Give the people a choice. No one can object to that.

  • Cathy

    The US bookselling landscape has been decimated by big box and Amazon,is this what we wish for Canada.Think we would be headed down the same path as the American experience if the government gives in.There is no level playing field when dealing with this company.

  • Andy W

    Amazon has a useful role to play and does provide a marketplace for independent sellers. However like in most things diversity is best. Probably the best guarantee for independent sellers is to aim for a niche market and an enforced Net Book Agreement, which guarantees minimum prices for new books.

  • Sam

    Not sure what kind of “nightmare” in the US you mean, Cathy. Amazon is the most trusted brand there, so I assume it is well liked.

  • Chirs

    Here’s a thought, if CBA keeps Amazon out of Canada I will never buy from a CBA member in the future.


    I have several books with including GETTY and HITLER with dvds & cd soundtracks for my films … which are structured on a brilliant format. The pages open and the music plays with links to my movies. Amazon is comprised of genius minds like Jeff Bezos himself.

    A Proud Canadian author!

  • Angela West

    When is someone going to take these old media dinosaurs behind the shed. Seriously, the death cries are drowning out the “ding” of my “buy now” button. Silence them.

  • Chirs

    Why do Zoe Whitall and other Canadian authors constantly mention Yann Martel’s misguided book project? it has no relation at all to this issue. Get over yourselves; no one cares about how a bunch of indie-writer-zine snobs adore their hero-snob, son-of-a-diplomat snob Yann Martel and his sending books to Harper. I wish Harper would send them back to Martel unopened and COD.


    I support Amazon.

    I have several books with including GETTY and HITLER with dvds & cd soundtracks for my films … which are structured on a brilliant format. The pages open and the music plays with links to my movies. Amazon is comprised of genius minds like Jeff Bezos himself.

    A Proud Canadian author!

    Excerpt from GETTY and HITLER …

    Grant MacDonald, Chairman, MACDONALD BANK INC. ….

    I earned the Getty Oil Company shareholders A Billion Bucks On the Reserve acquisition; the way they treat me — it really sucks! As the Getty inheritors bask in glee; All I asked for was that they look after me. A billion dollars they earned on Reserve My fee I surely deserve. It turns out J.P. Getty may have been a Nazi; His family even goes back to Germany. With Hitler, Goring & Goebbels he did stand; While trying to undermine the American land! For paintings & artifacts he did receive With his oil he was able to deceive? Hoover & the FBI & Roosevelt they knew That J.P. Getty & espionage he drew! Many a young lad and Jew did die As planes dropped bombs from the sky. For years while Getty sat in Berlin He may have committed many a sin. The ashes and smoke from the chimneys it rose While old man Getty sat cozy; he chose. With artwork held tightly under his arm Still dripping in blood — as the real owner met harm. Into the ovens & on meat-hooks, bullets between the eyes Listen very carefully you can still hear their cries! While the Gettys sit in England; at their estate at Wormsley And Gordon sings in San Francisco With his 727 in tow. The Getty museum sits atop Malibu While the corpses of World War 2 scream — J.P. Getty — We know you!

  • Georgia Love

    would like to submit an article about Amazon with your newsletter I am an author who has been treated dishonestly with them In my opinion, an author only buries their book when it is submitted to this giant corp. contact me for further info that backs this claim
    Georgia Love

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