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Amazon approved for Canadian expansion

Despite the objections of booksellers and many Canadian-owned publishers, Amazon’s application to open a physical distribution facility in Canada has been approved by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Under Canadian ownership laws, Amazon’s expansion has to be of net benefit to Canadians to receive government approval. According to a government press release sent out this afternoon, the decision is based on a number of commitments made by Amazon, including an investment of over $20-million, $1.5-million of which will go toward “cultural events and awards in Canada and the promotion of Canadian-authored books internationally.” The move will also lead to the creation of new jobs for Canadians, the release said, as well as the establishment of “dedicated staff to assist Canadian publishers” and the creation of a summer internship program for university students.

“Our Government is committed to strengthening Canada’s economy through all its sectors, especially arts and culture,” Heritage Minister James Moore said in the release. “Amazon has shown its willingness to promote Canadian cultural products, and we are pleased it is continuing to demonstrate this through this new investment.”

The rationale behind the government’s decision, as given in the release, is as follows:

  • new jobs for Canadians and improved service for Canadian consumers;
  • increased visibility for Canadian books on the Amazon.ca Web page;
  • an investment of over $20 million, including $1.5 million in cultural events and awards in Canada and the promotion of Canadian-authored books internationally;
  • increased availability of French-language Canadian cultural products;
  • the establishment of dedicated staff to assist Canadian publishers and other suppliers of cultural products;
  • making more Canadian content available on the Kindle e-reader; and
  • creating a summer internship program for Canadian post-secondary students.
  • Cathy

    Sad day for all Canadian booksellers.The fact we never had a face to face with the minister is the worst cut.Next watch for Barnes and Noble or Borders in your neighbourhood.All gloves are off now.I am a glass half full person but this is just too much.

  • Anon

    I think this is great. There should be competition in the bookstore arena. One big chain shouldn’t have a monopoly. Promoting Canadian authors is a good thing too. And helping Canadian publishers out their doldrums can’t hurt. We’ll see more diversity! Not the same old group of …

  • http://www.vestige.org August

    Yes, because Amazon has clearly been great for competition in other jurisdictions (by which I mean it’s been about as good for competition as WalMart, with more or less just as good a reputation).

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