O Canada! Amazon seeks permission to open a 'new Canadian business'

Amazon is seeking to set up a physical base in Canada, The Bookseller has revealed, and has applied to the government to open a a "new Canadian business".

The move could lead to a huge shake-up of Canada's book trade. Amazon.com does not have a physical operation in the country, but sells books through its domain Amazon.ca. Moving into the country would mean the company could ship to Canadian consumers more quickly and cost-effectively. But to operate there, Amazon must receive permission from Canada's heritage ministry.

The application is subject to a confidential inquiry by the Canadian government, which will assess whether it breaks Canada's tough cultural protection rules, which are designed to prevent American influences from overpowering Canada's culture.

The move could prove to be a boon to Canadian publishers, but it would also hit the country's retailers. Dominant Canadian bookseller Indigo declined to comment.

Amazon launched its Canadian site in June 2002, amid protests from Canadian booksellers who argued that the online store violated regulations that prohibit foreign ownership. The Canadian government ruled that this was not the case since Amazon.com did not have a physical business in the country.

Story from Bookseller UK.

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