Internet bookseller Amazon.com Inc. is poised to open a "fulfilment centre" in Canada - believed to be a means by which the Web firm can distribute products bought on its site without resorting to a third-party shipping service.
But that decision - because it entails Amazon having a physical, rather than virtual presence in Canada - means the company is subject to myriad reviews relating not only to foreign ownership, but also to Canadian cultural industries, such as bookselling.
Canada's booksellers are urging Ottawa to block Amazon.com from building a distribution network in Canada, raising the stakes in a showdown over government restrictions on foreign control of the cultural industry.
The Canadian Booksellers Association says it wants Heritage Minister James Moore to reject Amazon's plan to open a new business in Canada, which industry insiders say is aimed at boosting the company's competitiveness and giving it more control of its book distribution here.
The booksellers association warned the Heritage Minister that allowing Amazon to operate here would contravene the Investment Canada Act, which requires that foreign investments in the book sector be compatible with national cultural policies and "of net benefit to Canada and the Canadian-controlled sector."
"To allow Amazon to enter the Canadian marketplace will detrimentally affect independent businesses and would raise serious concerns over the protection of our cultural industries," CBA president Stephen Cribar said in a letter to Mr. Moore.
Mark Lefebvre, vice-president of the Canadian Booksellers Association, took questions on the CBA's position in a live discussion.
Canadian Booksellers Association (CBA) is a national not-for profit trade association representing trade and campus booksellers in all provinces and territories. Membership includes Canadian bookstores of all sizes, including independents, chains, specialty stores, campus bookstores, as well as those affiliated with them-a group that includes authors, agents, sales reps, publishers, distributors and other industry suppliers.
CBA works for the current and future economic well-being of booksellers by promoting their interests, meeting their needs and advocating on their behalf.
A self-confessed book-nerd, Mark Lefebvre has managed various sized bookstores and spent seven years as the Database Manager for Chapters/Indigo's head office. In 2006, he left Indigo's head office to become Book Operations Manager at the independently operated Titles Bookstore at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. An active member of various industry associations, he sits on the Board of Directors for BookNet Canada as a representative of Canadian Booksellers Association, is currently Vice-President of CBA, and is an active participant in Campus Stores Canada, Canadian Campus Retail Associates and Collegiate Retail Alliance.