High shipping costs have been one of the biggest problems for the Canadian book industry as it has drastically shifted toward online sales as a way of surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, industry members are pushing to change that. A recent report by the More Canada think tank steering committee suggests that Canadian booksellers could save 95 per cent of would-be shipping costs by gaining access to Canada Post’s Library Materials rate, in exchange for a commitment to stocking at least 20 per cent Canadian-authored books.
Quill & Quire associate editor Ryan Porter takes a closer look at the proposal and the industry groups involved. “Two words that make the hearts of virtual book browsers skip a beat: free shipping,” he writes. “That prospect could become a reality as publishing advocates lobby Canada Post and Canadian Heritage to cut national booksellers and presses a break on the price of postage.
“According to a report prepared by the volunteer publishing think tank More Canada, CanLit advocacy groups are lobbying to extend Canada Post’s Library Materials rate, which offers postage to public libraries for next to nothing (a package that requires about $30 in postage can be shipped for $1.38, Canada Post estimates, a saving of more than 95 per cent). Among the groups asking for this program to be extended to private Canadian booksellers and publishers are the Canadian Independent Booksellers Association, BookNet Canada, and theAssociation of Canadian Publishers, which included a call to extend the Library Materials rate in a November report submitted to Canadian Heritage.”