Canada's largest bookseller seeks assurances over Amazon

<p>The head of Canada&#39;s largest bookseller Indigo Books &amp; Music Inc has written to the country&#39;s government after <em>The Bookseller </em>broke the news that Amazon was seeking permission to open a &quot;fulfilment centre&quot; in the territory.<br /> <br /> Amazon.com sells books into the country via its website Amazon.ca but gets around Canada&#39;s tough heritage laws by distributing through a third-party. <a href="../news/114195-amazon-seeks-permission-to-open-a-new-canadian-business-.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/114195-amazon-seeks-permission-to-open... reported by <em>The Bookseller</em>, the government has ordered a review of Amazon&#39;s proposal to create a business called Amazon Fulfilment Services Canada Inc</a>. Amazon must receive permission from Canada&#39;s heritage ministry to operate a bookselling business in the country. </p><p>Now Heather Reisman, chief executive officer at Indigo Books &amp; Music Inc, has sent a letter to the Minister of Culture asking for clarification of the government&#39;s position on foreign ownership in the book sector. She said she wanted to know &quot;whether this is a fundamental change in the government policy&quot;. She told the <em>Globe &amp; Mail</em> that the move had the &quot;potential to reshape the landscape&quot;.</p><p>Under Canadian law bookselling is one of a number of cultural trades protected from foreign ownership so that American influences do not overpower Canada&#39;s culture. Reisman told <em>G&amp;M</em>: &quot;Our request was to determine whether this is a change in policy indicating that book retailing no longer needs to be controlled by Canadians.&quot; The government had previously blocked Reisman entering into a partnership with the US-owned bookseller Borders. </p><p>The move could lead to a huge shake-up of Canada&#39;s book trade. Moving into the country would mean the company could ship to Canadian consumers more quickly and cost-effectively. Amazon&#39;s proposal was issued on 27th January, and could take 45 days to &quot;determine if it will be of direct cultural benefit to Canada&quot;, Tim Warmington, media relations officer for Canadian Heritage, told <em>The Bookseller</em> earlier in the week.</p><p>Amazon launched its Canadian site in June 2002, amid protests from Canadian booksellers who argued that the online store violated regulations that prohibit foreign ownership. The Canadian government ruled that this was not the case since Amazon.com did not have a physical business in the country. <br /> </p>