via The Writers’ Union of Canada
Quebec Writers, Publishers and Booksellers Demand Price Protections
Members of The Writers’ Union of Canada’s sister organization, the Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ), demonstrated last week outside Montreal’s Great Library, calling for a nine-month period of discount control for new books. TWUC commends all recent protest actions in Quebec by writers, publishers and booksellers demanding subtle market regulation as a means of support for French-language literature.“More than anything else, the Quebec protests are about preserving the diverse, home-grown literature we’ve all spent so many decades building,” said Dorris Heffron, Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada. “TWUC stands with UNEQ in expressing our concern.”
The recent and rapid collapse of independent bookselling within the province of Quebec has led to a demonstrable contraction of available titles for Quebec’s book consumers. TWUC believes there is a place for retailers of all sizes in the book market, and that the pricing of books should reflect a fair and competitive market. The market damage from uncontrolled discounting leads to lower royalty rates for writers, discouraging the creation of new work. Market controls exist in other countries for similar reasons.
“This is a concern for all Canadian book consumers,” added John Degen, TWUC’s Executive Director. “It’s not really an issue of price at all, because even with some form of discount regulation, books will continue to come to market with a variety of prices. But the unchecked downward pressure from books used as loss leaders will mean fewer Canadian books in the marketplace, and so decreased consumer choice. That’s a negative outcome for everyone.”.