Canadian Booksellers Lobby Against Amazon Warehouse

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Canadian booksellers are not sitting still as they await the government's decision on Amazon's application to open a warehouse in Canada. "Our members are writing their MPs, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Prime Minister of Canada to express their concerns," said Canadian Booksellers Association (CBA) Executive Director Susan Dayus. "Last Friday we started a postcard campaign to make it easy for our members to send a message to government officials." The CBA has also designed postcards that customers can use to show their support.

Although has been selling directly to the Canadian market since 2002, the warehouse would be the U.S.-based company's first physical presence in Canada. That triggers a review of the proposal under Canada's foreign-ownership and cultural-industries laws.

On March 5, CBA president Stephen Cribar sent a letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage explaining the association's opposition to the proposal. "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. Individual Canadian booksellers have traditionally played a key role in ensuring the promotion of Canadian authors and Canadian culture. These are values that no American retailer could ever purport to understand or promote," he wrote.

The government's decision is due by April 12, unless both Amazon and the government agree to an extension. "We are hopeful that our campaign has resonated with our government and they will understand why allowing to set in Canada is not a net benefit to Canadians," said Dayus. --Sarah Rettger