A plan by Amazon.com to open a warehouse in Canada has ruffled the feathers of some patriotic Canadians worried about their nation’s cultural integrity.
For the last eight years, Canadians have purchased books through Amazon’s Canadian website, Amazon.ca, which employs third-party contractors to ship orders from the United States to Canadian customers. But this month the company decided to create a distribution center in the country, thus setting off independent booksellers.
“If they’re allowed to do this, it could open the doors to others. We could see Barnes & Noble and Borders in Canada,” said Stephen Cribar, president of the Canadian Booksellers Association.[more]
Amazon argues that by selling Canadian books in 170 countries it is promoting local work and talent across the world. To operate in the Canada, Amazon has to receive permission from Canada’s heritage ministry. The Canadian government will assess whether the move will break tough cultural protection rules, which are designed to prevent American influences from overpowering Canada’s culture.
In 2002, the Booksellers Association failed in its attempt to block Amazon from having an online presence in Canada. Ottawa ruled that the Investment Canada Act, which is designed to promote economic growth in Canada, didn’t apply to Amazon.com as long as it had no bricks-and-mortar retail presence in the country.
However, considering that Wal-Mart now has more than 200 stores in Canada, chances are that Amazon will not be blocked from having a presence.