The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Read free or die:
For most Canadians, choosing to go to an Indigo in a mall versus going to an Indigo a few blocks away isn’t a choice at all. On the Internet, Indigo faces limited competition. Amazon offers amazon.com and amazon.ca as an alternative, but Amazon’s business expansion capacity is limited in Canada by federal protectionist rules that prohibit it from actually owning and operating its own distribution system. Now Amazon wants to expand its Canadian operation, much to the chagrin of Canada’s smaller bookstores.
Because if Canadians bought their Dan Brown from an American owned store, it would be the end of Canadian culture. Book companies, like other for-profit businesses, don't particular care what books they sell, so long as they sell. If Margaret Atwood's latest doorstop - her books are also useful as armour plating - is what the bibliophiles demand, it shall be sold. Canadian culture is in no danger of dying if Canadians want it to survive. They simply vote with their pocketbooks. The argument that Canadian culture needs to be defended by the government, lest we be swamped by the emanations of the American behemoth, rests on an impressive bit of condescension. The ordinary Canadian isn't wise or patriotic enough to buy Canadian culture, so he needs to be forced to support it.
To that end, the government appoints itself as guardian, and through its financial support, as definer of culture. If Publius wrote tomes about how lesbian basket-weavers have battled the patriarchy, while battling the Canadian elements, he'd have a fair shot of getting a government grant. Stupidly he churns out blog posts about reducing government. Sigh. You can't always pay the rent while denouncing rent seeking. CanCon is really just old fashioned paternalism with a maple leaf slapped on the side. We're from the government and we're here to tell how to be Canadian, whether you like it or not.
Posted by Richard Anderson on March 17, 2010 | Permalink
Canadian content laws are a scam designed to protect producers from competition. Worse, it doesn't work. Indigo has THE worst inventory and service I've ever seen. I don't even bother with them anymore. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders are amazing, truly awesome in their service. Never had a problem with them. Since these US companies can ship over the border, Indigo IS in competition with them whether they like it or not. So, these content laws are nothing but a relic from the past. The time has come to abandon them completely. Borders operates in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai, and none of those places seems in peril.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-03-17 6:58:02 AM
Who cares about Canadian book laws. I order all my books from Amazon, Borders and B&N and in large quantities for the free shipping.
I'm in the US half a dozen times a year and usually pick up something in an airport or mall if I have time.
My family even knows not to give me Chapters-Indigo gift cards!
Posted by: snowgirl | 2010-03-18 2:35:47 PM
I have the ultimate: I ordered two DVDs from Amazon Canada. They arrived at a US address within 48 hours of placing the order. This was NOT an express order. That's awesome for anyone. The last time I ordered something from Indigo, I waited nearly a year and it never showed up. I won't waste my time or money with them ever again.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-03-18 2:44:06 PM
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