Chapters magazine Snafu

Seen your favourite magazine at  Canada’s chain of super-size  bookstores? The answer is probably  not. Chapters, obviously enjoying  their monopoly over the book buying  public (at least in the suburbs), has  awarded an exclusive magazine  distribution contract to the Toronto  based, very mainstream, US oriented  Gordon & Gotch. This effectively  shuts out or dramatically slows down the distribution of independent magazines in the chain of  super stores. Those most likely to suffer are the hundreds of  small Canadian magazines who rely on thè Canadian  Magazine Publishing Association (CMPA) for their distro.  CM PA distribution head Ron Sellwood says diplomatically  that the CMPA is “working with Gordon & Gotch to ensure  that our publishers get their magazines into Chapters.  However, we don’t see this in the long term as effective/’  So, if you are looking for independent magazines, take your  business elsewhere. This, by the way, is quite unlike part- Chapters owners US chain Barnes & Noble who work with  many different distributors and generally have a pretty open  policy towards carrying new and independent publications.

One more thing about Chapters: Downtown Toronto  bookstores have so far not reported any drop in sales as a  result of a super store in their midst The indie mag and  book friendly stores in the downtown core claim to be  holding steady. Uncorroborated reports say that a Chapters  employee unable to find a book for a customer became  angry and told that customer that she must be wrong about  the author of the book. However, the fellow found the book  the next day at another much smaller store, Frans Donker,  owner of the small Toronto chain Book City told BP that:  “Book City is being its usual neighborhood self. We haven’t  lost the customers. We are driven by the titles our buyers  and our staff like. We stand by small publishers who don’t  have five thousand dollars to buy display space in  Chapters…Each Book City has a separate book buyer.  Chapters has a single buyer for all of Canada.” Another  Toronto book seller was heard proudly telling a customer  while ringing up her purchase: “Yes, that new superstore,  isn’t it awful?…and the staff are so useless/’ Here’s the question we at BP want answered: If bookstores aren’t losing customers to the mega-chain, then who the hell is shopping at Chapters?

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