“Don’t invitems” is how the late columnist Walter Winchell used to describe bitter rivals, and people can expect quite a scene if they invite the Canadian Booksellers Association and Amazon to the same party.
The CBA ordinarily might have given a resounding cheer for the latest Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist, because the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English will win $50,000.
Instead, in the October 5 issue of its newsletter, the CBA stuck the knife in up to the hilt. Why?
The ninth annual “Guess the Giller” contest is currently underway. And while the press release notes, “This year, nearly 30 public library systems, 150 bookstores, 33 post secondary schools and 1,010 Scotiabank branches from across Canada are promoting the contest to Canadian readers,” Michael Neill (owner of Mosaic Books in Kelowna) wonders how many booksellers are truly going to support a contest that includes in its grand prize an Amazon Kindle and $50 Amazon gift card. As Neill notes, “This is a US product designed to have people shop with a US online retailer. Every Kindle sold results in zero future sales for an independent bookstore, or any Canadian company for that matter.”
[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]
On Literacy Day this year our local Literacy Council had a contest this year to win a $50 gift cert from our local bookstore as well as a free Kindle and $50 gift cert from Amazon. They then thanked local business for support literacy day and the contest. I guess this is similar to what Neill notes as whoever gets the free Kindle will most like never shop again at the local bookstore or any other local store that sells books in town. So much for supporting local.