Unwilling To Compete, Canadian Booksellers Association Tries To Block Amazon Distribution Center

from the competition-north-of-the-border dept

jprlk was the first of a few of you to send in the news that the Canadian Booksellers’ Association is apparently so afraid of competition from Amazon, that it’s asking the government to block the company from building a distribution center north of the border. Apparently, they’re relying on some ridiculous rules about “foreign ownership,” which is really an excuse to screw Canadian citizens by making things more expensive by limiting competition. The “moral” claim (one we’ve heard before in other contexts) is that Amazon shouldn’t be allowed in Canada because it “won’t promote Canadian authors” enough. Of course, the real reason they’re afraid is that Amazon will likely be cheaper, which would actually benefit Canadian citizens and authors, by making it easier and cheaper to buy the books of those Canadian authors.

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Companies: amazon, canadian booksellers association

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Comments on “Unwilling To Compete, Canadian Booksellers Association Tries To Block Amazon Distribution Center”

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Bob says:

Re: Amazon

They were only allowed to sell into Canada because the government ruled that legislation was not being broken because they had no bricks and mortar presence here.

They got around the legislation by striking a deal with Canada Post to do their distribution. Canada Post established a subsidiary that, as far as I know, does nothing but acts as Amazons distribution centre in Canada. Under this deal shipping a book that would cost an ordinary bookseller in the region of $6 was costing Amazon a matter of cents. This little arrangement could have been subsidised by the taxpayer for all anyone knows for I certainly have never understood the economics of it.

Amazon now wants to walk away from Canada Post and run their own distribution centre. They seem to think that they can do it even cheaper. I do not understand how but it is clear that no net new jobs will be created in distribution.

By the way, people should consider the carbon footprint of Amazon’s business model. Enormous!

NotFromToronto (profile) says:

I believe this move is primarily to prevent a perceived weakening of the existing ownership laws.

The battle with Amazon is already over, it was fought in 2002, and booksellers (read: Chapters/Indigo/Quebecor) lost. Amazon is already considerably undercutting the prices you pay in the brick & mortar stores in Canada. A distribution center in no way changes things.

What it does do if it’s allowed to proceed, is give Barnes & Noble a place to point and say: Well what about Amazon? They have a brick & mortar presence, so why can’t we?

The Canadian book stores are only alive because of the lingering brick & mortar loyalty. They wouldn’t be able to compete if there were US based brick & mortar operations.

jprlk (profile) says:

from the article:

“Amazon now uses Canada Post to fill Canadian orders from its U.S. hub.”

and yes, canadian supremacy is a key component to our (yes, i’m from the land of the peacekeepers) screwing with our own people, to extract more money out of our pockets in order for the money to flow to a few key m/b-illionnaires.

true patriot love = pretend xenophobia for $$

Kevin says:

Border Crossings

Odds are Canadian orders are shipped from Buffalo/Fort Erie across the border.

I always find it amusing when Americans complain about another country trying to protect jobs. Can you say “Softwood Lumber”!

In Canada we are already losing smaller Brick and Mortars to online both in Canada and from the US. Add in a biggie like Amazon and that means lots of job losses that would not be gained at the distribution centers.

How many of you have ever gone to brick and mortar to check out a product and then purchased online? After a while there will be fewer and fewer brick and mortar stores.

mertz says:

i was trying to order something from amazon uk because i can’t get it from amazon canada or amazon.com obviously and eventually i didn’t get the book because by the time it comes here it’ll be available at chapters and i can either it from chapters online or go to a store for less money (recession cut backs). the guy who talked about chapters indigo being afraid about losing more money is right because people don’t buy books in canada. we do buy books and go to the library and order online and we read a lot, but if amazon was able to set up a distributer anywhere in canada or in ontario mostly (where most of the market is anyways), not only will chapters lose money, and not only will people lose their jobs, but chapters will go the way of some of the bookstores out west and some have already in ontario (don’t know how the lit is faring in quebec or on the far east coast). i really don’t want to agree with chapters indigo and they are doing this out of fear but i don’t know if i can actually support amazon, even though i am younger bookophile and inherintly cheap as hell. chapters/indigo/coles is already cheap and they reduce their prices accordingly and their service isn’t bad at all, so as much as i would love for amazon to set up a distro or something in windsor, i’m moreso thinking what the hell because for sure chapters will suffer, people will lose their jobs (we don’t need any more cut backs cause they have already cut back so much), and local stores will close down. maybe what chapters needs to do is go the amazon route and completely go online. maybe. more canadians spend time online than they do actually living their real live in their communities anyways so maybe if amazon came it would change things.

also amazon does a really bad job of promoting canadian anything, authors, artists, musicians, etc…so it’s completely understandable why these people who barely make money because canadians don’t read or buy or support their own artist communities much, but read and consumer more shit from america per person at a ridiculous pace and amounth, makes me want to support chapters in this inane fight. it’s completely outlandish, childish, and stupid though. maybe shit like this wouldn’t happen if the laws weren’t so easily exploitable and protectionist, but once again what chapters is doing and the publishers and all those guys are doing is understandable.

Bob says:


This will decimate independent bookstores across the country.

Canadian Independent booksellers are unable to compete with Amazon because there is not a level playing field. Amazon buys its books from the publishers at a substantially greater discount than independent bookstores. They sell many titles at a lower cost than independent booksellers can buy them from the publishers. How can anyone compete with that? Amazon have also been able to ship books in Canada at prices that ordinary booksellers could only dream about. Decimating the independent bookstore sector will not increase competition – it will leave only Chapters/Indigo and Amazon dictating their terms to Canadian publishers.

Amazon wish to locate here in order to further reduce costs and sell even cheaper. This will impact most on independent booksellers in smaller cities across the country.

There is no economic benefit to the country in this. Money spent on Amazon is sucked out of Canada before the buyer releases the click button on their mouse. Whereas, when spent in local bookstores (who pay local taxes) it has a knock on effect through the local economy. Numerous jobs will be lost in the book trade across the country.

Granting Amazons request will also open up the industry to further foreign ownership. If Reisman wishes to sell Chapters/Indigo to a big US chain now how could the government deny her having acquiesed to Amazon?

There is always a cost to cheap as people are increasingly beginning to realise. Everyone in the USA thought it was great getting dirt cheap stuff in WalMart until they woke up one morning and discovered that nothing was made in the USA anymore and they had a balance of payment deficit of billions with China. False economy is everywhere today.

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