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A woman uses an Amazon Kindle e-reader in a whirlpool on board a cruiseshiip. (Randall Moore/The Globe and Mail)
A woman uses an Amazon Kindle e-reader in a whirlpool on board a cruiseshiip. (Randall Moore/The Globe and Mail)

Amazon shutters its Canadian newsstand Add to ...

Amazon.com Inc. is dismantling its Canadian newsstand, leaving readers without access to hundreds of digitized magazines and newspapers that had been available for purchase at the company’s online store.

The company introduced a “Canadian storefront” for its users late last month, trumpeting the arrival of a Canadian site as an opportunity for users in this country to shop in their own currency and read books written by Canadian authors. But the site lacks some key features users have come to expect – including the newsstand section that sold digitized copies of the New York Times, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star as well as magazines such as Wired and The Atlantic.

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“Current subscriptions will be cancelled and refunded,” a spokesman at the company’s Canadian public relations agency Sonic Boom Creative Media said, adding he couldn’t answer any questions about why the decision was made or whether the newsstand could be revived at some point.

The digital editions have found a niche audience among Canadian readers, who pay far less for the Kindle subscription than they would for home delivery of a physical product. Publishers across the country – whose subscriber counts range from a few hundred to a few thousand each month – said they weren’t notified of the change.

Much like the movie industry, it can be difficult for book publishers to strike agreements to bring their content to other countries. The rights to books are often owned by different publishing companies in different countries, meaning agreements have to be reached before companies such as Amazon can offer them abroad.

The company’s rival Kobo Inc. also offers a digital newsstand, however, which allows Canadian readers to buy monthly subscriptions to fewer titles than were available at Amazon. The main difference between the two services, however, was that the Amazon version allowed readers to buy single copies of most publications rather than commit to a month-long subscription.

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