Quebec and Small Bookstores

Ladies and gentlemen, I am back – and married!!! As of Friday, August 16, I’m wed to the love of my life, and looking forward to the rest of our life together. It was an amazing ceremony and reception, with just our kind of flare, including a manual typewriter my wife picked up to serve as a our guestbook.


In totally unrelated writing news, I stumbled upon an article from the National Post about how the Quebec provincial government wants to regulate book prices in order to help struggling independent bookstores. The issue apparently is that large chains like Indigo can negotiate discounts from publishers based on the volume of books that they buy, so they can then offer discounts to customers; smaller bookstores can’t because they can’t order as much. To fix this, the Quebec government wants to force every bookseller in Quebec – including online – to keep their prices at a regulated level, thereby eliminating discounts. You can read the complete article here.

The principle behind this idea is good – I’m all for supporting independent bookstores whenever I can, like Novel Idea in Kingston. However – and as my wife(!) pointed out to me – eliminating the option of offering discounts is not only against our concept of free enterprise, but it’s also an issue for customers who wait for sales because that’s the only time they can afford new books. A better idea would be to secure the same discounts for smaller bookstores that the large chains can achieve; that will level the playing field between them while still offering discounts to customers. I’m curious to see how this turns out, so if I hear any more I’ll be sure to post it here.


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