The Canadian government "is leaning toward" permitting Amazon to set up a warehouse and shipping center in the country, a move the Canadian Booksellers Association strongly opposes (Shelf Awareness, March 9, 2010).
The Globe & Mail
reported that a positive decision, should that occur, would be "based
on the belief the U.S. firm's entrance would offer a 'net benefit' for
Canadians." Citing Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent Speech from the Throne, a senior official said, "It's anti-protectionist. It's [about] free and open trade.... If you look at the issue specifically, it's Amazon setting up a warehouse to be able to distribute what they already distribute via the Internet. There's no change in terms of Canadian content."
Paul Misener, v-p of global public policy at Amazon, challenged the CBA's claims that the company's presence would threaten Canadian culture: "At some level it seems preposterous that that claim could be made, especially given our track record of eight years serving Canadian customers and authors and publishers. To claim that somehow an American company can't help Canadian culture is just proved wrong by the facts."
The Canadian publishing community appears divided on the issue, according to the Globe & Mail. Jacqueline Hushion, executive director of the Canadian Publishers' Council, said, "I think publishers have been satisfied with Amazon.ca's relationship with them and Canada."
But Carolyn Wood, executive director of the Association of Canadian Publishers, said her group "endorses the policy of Canadian ownership of all elements of the book supply chain: publishing, distribution and retail. As with all cultural industries, the stronger and more stable the Canadian production and supply chain, the more likely Canadians are to encounter the culture of their own country."
Google has reached a publishing partnership deal with the Italian government that "involves digitizing up to one million books held in the National Libraries in Rome and Florence," the Wall Street Journal reported.
Calling the deal "groundbreaking," Nikesh Arora, Google's president of global sales operations and business development, said "the project sets a precedent for similar ventures around Europe and emphasized his company was using its technological skills in disseminating texts to make them more readily accessible to more people in more places," the Journal wrote.
Seven independent bookstores in Paris have launched a collective portal, Librest.com, to sell new books online, the Bookseller.com reported. Syndicat de la Librairie Française, the French booksellers association, is working on a nationwide portal, but that won't be operative until next January.
"We didn't want to wait," said Renny Aupetit, president of the joint venture and owner of Le Comptoir de Mots. "I launched the idea of a portal at the SLF four years ago when I was a member of the board, but the project is taking a long time because it is difficult for 300 or 400 booksellers to reach agreement." Librest will join the national portal when the time comes, but will also preserve its own effort, Bookseller.com wrote.
"Our idea is not to become online booksellers, but to provide an extra service for our customers," said Aupetit. "If we acquire new ones along the way, so much the better."
"Will books be the next to go in Apple's App Store purge?" asked TechCrunch, noting that "books represent 27,000 of the App Store's 150,000 applications, making them the most abundant type of application on the App Store. And they're becoming increasingly redundant."
It's just speculation at this stage, but TechCrunch observed that, "given the impending release of Apple's own iBooks app alongside the iPad, and the recent App Store cleanup spree, I won't be at all surprised if they do something to change the way books are treated on the platform."
Book trailer of the day: Free Feminist Association, which was made after an event at Moe's Bookstore, Berkeley, Calif., for Girldrive: Criss-Crossing American, Redefining Feminism
by Nona Willis Aronowitz (Seal Press). The video consists of interviews
on the streets of Berkeley with young women concerning their feelings
about feminism. This is the first in the Seal Shorts series, videos
made by Seal Press highlighting its authors and books "in new and
interesting ways, rather than a straightforward book video."
A reviewer in 1939 described James Joyce's Finnegans Wake as a work that "is not written in English, or in any other language, as language is commonly known."
Now, after three decades of editorial work by scholars Danis Rose and John O'Hanlon and 9,000 amendments to the original text, a new edition of the novel will be published that "is promising to provide readers with a smoother, more comprehensible version of the author's final work," the Guardian reported.
How does Pip describe the spring in Great Expectations? Catch literary spring fever with the Guardian's Spring in Literature quiz "on the pleasures of the sweetest season."
Penguin Group is launching Current, an imprint for science books for general readers that will share the existing editorial, marketing and publicity staff of imprints Portfolio and Sentinel. Current's debut titles will be The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution by David Stipp (July 2010) and The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships by Clifford Nass, with Corina Yen (September 2010).
Mark Levine has joined BookMasters Distribution Services as publisher
relations manager. He was formerly acquisitions editor for Barnes &
Noble Publishing and has several decades of experience in publishing.
He will be based in the company's New York City office.