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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Setting the record straight

Exactly one year to the day after my book Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal came off the presses, the Globe and Mail has finally mentioned it. Today their "Buzz" columnist, Patricia Best, dedicates the first five paragraphs of her column to my book. She notes that Peter Newman's anti-Brian Mulroney tome, The Secret Mulroney Tapes, get "prime bookshelf real estate" at Chapters and Indigo but that if someone was looking for a critical book about the last Liberal prime minister, specifically mine, it is nowhere to be found at Canada's mega bookchain. Best says:

"Is it merely a coincidence that Chapters-Indigo is owned and headed by Liberal Party fundraisers and stalwarts Gerry Schwatz and Heather Reisman?

A spokeswoman from Chapters-Indigo says she believes the reason the book's not for sale through her company is that it was not 'presented' to the buying department by the publisher. Strangely, though, Legacy of Scandal is readily available on Amazon.ca."

I have often been asked if the political bias of Indigo-Chapters' owner Heather Reisman is the reason for Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal not being available in either the bricks-and-mortar stores or online. Sad to say, it isn't. The simple reason that the book is not available through Chapters or Indigo is that the company's terms are prohibitive for small publishers: they want to pay a mere 40% of the retail price (and sometimes less), won't pay a cent for the books until 6-8 months after they sell their first copy of the book and want the right to return unsold books less than a year after they receive the first order. (Note: the 40% takes into effect Chapters-Indigo's percentage as not just wholesalers but as distributors.) The problem is, as I've already said, these terms make it impossible for small publishers to make a profit -- the little capital they have is put into the physical production of a book that they won't see payment for until at least half-a-year later. Some publishers are willing to do that for exposure but some, including Freedom Press (Canada) Inc., are not.

While Chapters-Indigo's policy is not censorship, it has the effect of censoring views that are slightly out of the mainstream. Their policy makes it difficult for authors, both left and right, who are forced to use smaller publishers because the larger publishing houses are unwilling to take a chance on new author or veer far from a fairly narrow political spectrum of acceptable views and topics (or even those who merely prefer to use smaller publishers), to reach a mass audience. This is not a complaint, just a fact of life. And I wanted to set the record straight that there is not a nefarious Liberal plot to keep my book out of the hands of Canadians.

Posted by Paul Tuns on September 27, 2005 in Books | Permalink


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Amazon.ca is great. In every single case where I have compared with the Liberal bookstore, Amazon.ca was cheaper, or shipped faster (usually a lot faster), or both.

Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-09-27 9:42:54 PM

"there is not a nefarious Liberal plot to keep my book out of the hands of Canadians."

Don't believe it. If they were not Librano$$$$$, your book would be there. The Librano$ are withholding your book, IMO. Librano$ have long arms; with greasy palms at the end.

Will you be writing a second volume to bring the on-going saga of Chretien's corruption up to date?
Another book entitled: "AdScam Martin" is waiting for you, also. Make it a trilogy, there being so much material available.
P.S. Do not go out at night.

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-09-28 6:17:53 AM

Anto-conservative bias? As if I need ANOTHER reason to NOT shop at Chapters-Indigo. THow about the fact that it is a terrible book store PERIOD! That should be enough. Oh how I enjoy paying $50 for a paperback book, and the wonderful warehouse environment, the pathetic Oprah Book Club or even worse Heather's Picks - like I give a damn what Heather thinks is read-worthy! Or the giant pyramid of Michael Moore books awaiting me when I enter. I'll gladly send my money to Amazon thanks very much.

Posted by: John Brown | 2005-09-28 8:20:16 AM

This situation rings very true for me!

Over the years I have heard of many, many conservatively-oriented books coming out and went to the local Chapters stores but never found them. The pattern over many years is the proof in the pudding that Chapters-Indigo has an anti-conservative bias, as far as I'm concerned. For example, I wanted "Gritlock" but it was never there. I looked for "Legacy of Scandal" but it was also absent. Meanwhile there was no shortage of leftist backslapping/conservative bashing books all over the politics shelf.

Can you say "censorship"?

The Canadian Sentinel ocassionally discusses matters like this bias in the media against conservatives. Feel free to visit and explore.


Posted by: The Canadian Sentinel | 2005-09-28 4:46:12 PM

I am proud to say that I have not been to a Crapters-Indiblow store since 2001. Their service and selection are beneath contempt. Amazon.com is superior in every imaginable way. Amazon.ca is okay but I prefer the US store. I just bought a book for a relative - with the exchange rate it was $5 cheaper to buy it in the US than Amazon.ca.

In 2002, I sent back every book I bought from Crapters-Indiblow to Reisman herself. Sadly she was on vacation that week but her staff was quite disturbed. If I had sent it the following week, it would have arrived in time for their Annual Meeting. Note for the future: research these things.

Despite her Liberal leanings, Reisman's real problem is that she's a bad businessperson. Her actions alone prove that Canadian culture doesn't exist, never has existed, and never will exist.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-09-28 5:03:09 PM

Glad to see you provoked a Chapters-Indigo response in the Globe's letters today.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-09-29 8:31:23 AM

Cannot beat an "official policy".

Bet it gets waived for good friends.

Could not find a right wing book at Chapters if I tried. Quit looking. Boycott. Effem.

Were I a shareholder I would be calling the lawyers.

Viva Amazon! Hoch Bush!

Posted by: Fred Z | 2005-09-29 6:33:59 PM

Guys, it's not a question of political bias on Reisman's part. It's her lazy, privileged Eastern attitude towards business. She has a virtual monopoly over the 'bricks and mortar' book selling market. She doesn't have to compete with Border or Barnes and Noble on home turf. In the online market, she's getting massacred because Amazon rules supreme there with excellent service and prices. I could not ask Jeff Bezos to do more, but I know he will anyway. As for Reisman - heh, dont make me laugh. I will never waste my hard earned money on the likes of her ever again. McNally-Robinson or Amazon for me guys.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-09-29 6:46:11 PM

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