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What Effect Will New Law Have on Cookbooks?

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Somewhat of a dust-up this week over a proposal by the PQ government to effect price controls on books at the likes of Walmart and Costco. The measure seeks to ban big-box retailers from book discounts of more than ten percent throughout the first nine months of sales. The tactic, analysts say, is one of the reasons so many lone booksellers have gone out of business in recent years.

For independents like Jonathan Cheung of Westmount's Appetite for Books, the new law may bolster his ability to sell more cookbooks: "For me it's great. Everyone has an equal chance at selling books. [The proposal is] good for independents."

After the PQ's proposal hit the wire, Gazette food critic Lesley Chesterman wrote this tweet to express another side: "This proposed PQ book law is bad news for Quebec cookbooks, which are already overpriced."

Cheung agrees that cookbooks in the province, particularly those in French, are relatively expensive: "Take the Chuck Hughes book, for example. It costs five dollars more in French than in English. But the law is an attempt to take away an unfair advantage and that's good for someone in my position."

The issue is a contentious one, clearly, with many stakeholders at various levels of disagreement. And the law, as drafted, may not provide the perfect solution to the problem the government wants to address. To wit, Culture Minister Maka Kotto told the press, in effect, that politicians can only do so much to dampen the impact of online giant Amazon.

The price regulation scheme, if adopted, will conclude after three years to allow for a thorough review.

· PQ Bill Takes Aim at Walmart, Costco [Globe and Mail]
· Appetite for Books [Official Site]

Appetite For Books

388 Victoria, Westmount, Quebec H3Z 2N4 (514) 369-2002

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