30 April 2010 – OTTAWA – Yesterday, Canadian Booksellers Association (CBA) President Stephen Cribar, Vice-President Mark Lefebvre, Trade Director Christopher Smith, Executive Director Susan Dayus, and CBA/RCC lobbyist Terrance Oakey met with the Hon. James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage. Demonstrating his interest in our issues and concerns, the Minister brought his most senior department official, Deputy Minister Judith LaRocque. Also in the meeting were Tanya Peat, Director of Policy, and Matt Ellis, Policy Advisor for Canadian Heritage.
CBA raised three important issues with the Minister:
1. AMAZON ENTRY INTO CANADA
Canadian Booksellers Association heard from hundreds of booksellers on how Amazon’s fulfilment centre would affect their businesses. Although the decision to allow Amazon.com to open a fulfilment centre in Canada has already been announced, CBA reiterated members’ concerns about the long-term effects of opening Canada’s doors to foreign-owned book retailers. We left behind a document of dozens of comments from CBA members.
2. PARALLEL IMPORTATION REGULATIONS
After reminding the government that CBA represents independent, campus, specialty and chain booksellers in all provinces and territories, we explained how the book industry has undergone enormous changes since the introduction of the Book Importation Regulations under the Copyright Act in 1999. Competition from discounters and internet retailers has had an impact on pricing strategies and distribution models. Canadian consumers have many more options for purchasing books. In order to compete, bookstores rely on distributors to deliver books quickly and at a price that is competitive with online, out of country, distribution channels. We stressed that Canadian booksellers clearly prefer to source their books through Canadian distribution channels but only if the wholesale prices are competitive.
CBA noted our association is in agreement with Campus Stores Canada (CSC) that the Parallel Importation Regulations are no longer commercially reasonable and should be repealed. Specific reference was made to the current pricing regulations and time allowed for fulfilment of orders, both of which are no longer commercially reasonable and need to be repealed.
The Minister reported that the Copyright Act Bill C61 was under review and agreed to consider our request.
3. RE-INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK RATE
CBA recommended the re-introduction of the book rate in order to help booksellers and publishers move special orders and small shipments of books across Canada affordably. Large internet retailers can negotiate rates that are not possible for any other bookseller, effectively shutting independents out of the special order market. With Canadian Heritage’s assistance in offsetting shipping costs, independents would be able compete on a more level playing field.
Judith LaRocque offered to investigate the background of the Book Rate to determine if Canadian Heritage could support this request.
An avid reader, Minister Moore was receptive to CBA ideas and revealed that Heritage is doing a substantive review of the Book Program. We appreciate the time the Minister set aside to meet with CBA and look forward to working with Heritage Canada to promote bookselling and Canadian authors.
CANADIAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION
Incorporated in 1952, CBA represents booksellers from coast to coast located in large metropolitan areas and small, rural communities. Our members include general trade, specialty, campus and chain booksellers.
Stephen Cribar, CBA President Mark Lefebvre, CBA Vice President Christopher Smith, CBA Trade Director
Tel: 519-661-4037 Tel: 905-525-9140 x20326 Tel: 613-722-1265
Emily Sinkins, Communications Manager
Canadian Booksellers Association
Tel: (416) 467-7883, x230
Fax: (416) 467-7886