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HERI Committee News Release

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For Immediate Release

Ottawa, 10 February 2000

As part of a study of Canada's book distribution industry, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will hold four televised roundtable discussions with book publishing and distribution associations, book publishers, retailers and distributors, book industry analysts, writers associations, retail and consumer associations and library associations. These roundtables will be held in Ottawa on 24 and 29 February and 2 and 14 March 2000.

The first roundtable will address the experiences and concerns of Canada's largest retail booksellers. The second will discuss the related concerns of some of Canada's smaller, independent book retailers, while the third will bring together some of Canada's publishers and distributors. The final roundtable will be a forum for and other individuals with a vested interest in Canada's book industry.

"Given the striking changes in book publishing, distribution and retailing practices in the 1990s, the Committee wishes to understand better the link between the Government of Canada's support to the publishing industry and the provision of increased choice of Canadian-authored materials to Canadian readers" said the Chair Clifford Lincoln, M.P. "To this end, the Committee has decided to hear from a diversity of industry and cultural representatives so that it might develop a more focussed appreciation for the current situation and future goals of book publishing in Canada."

The Committee initiated its study of Canada's book publishing industry in December 1999 by receiving briefings from representatives of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canadian Booksellers Association and two independent booksellers. Since then, a fact-finding study has been undertaken for the Committee by Library of Parliament researchers in collaboration with expert consultants as well as key government, industry and association representatives. The scheduled roundtables represent the culmination of this process.

The Committee is specifically interested in the impact of electronic commerce, the concentration of bookstore ownership and the ways in which books are distributed to Canada's booksellers. The Committee also wishes to understand how these factors are affecting the availability of Canadian-authored materials. As such, the roundtable participants have been invited to address six key questions. These are:

  • Based on the available evidence, what can be said about the state of book publishing, distribution and retailing in Canada?
  • Based on the available evidence, what information is lacking regarding the state of book publishing, distribution and retailing in Canada?
  • What are your views on current industry trends and challenges (e.g., new technologies, electronic commerce) and their potential impact(s)?
  • What industry trends and challenges do we need to better understand and monitor?
  • What kind of relationship do you see between your organization/association and other industry players?
  • What role can the Government of Canada play to best serve the interests of the Canadian book publishing and distribution industry?

The Committee wishes to thank those individuals, agencies and organizations that have, to date, contributed to the fact-finding study, as well as those that will be taking part in the roundtables.

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Members of the Committee: Clifford Lincoln, Chairman, Member for Lac-Saint-Louis; Mauril Bélanger, Member for Ottawa-Vanier; Paul Bonwick, Member for Simcoe-Grey; Cliff Breitkreuz, Member for Yellowhead; Sarmite Bulte, Member for Parkdale-High Park; Pierre de Savoye, Member for Portneuf; John Godfrey, Member for Don Valley West; Dennis Mills, Vice-Chair, Member for Broadview-Greenwood; Eric Lowther, Member for Calgary Centre; Alex Shepherd, Member for Durham; Caroline St-Hilaire, Member for Longueuil; Wendy Lill, Member for Darmouth; Rick Limoges, Member for Windsor-St.Clair; Inky Mark, Vice-Chair, Member for Dauphin--Swan River; Mark Muise, Member for West Nova and Bryon Wilfert, Member for Oak Ridges.

Martine Bresson
Clerk of the Committee
180 Wellington Street
Room 640
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Tel.: (613) 996-0506
Fax: (613) 947-9670

Clifford Lincoln, M.P. for Lac-St-Louis
Chairman of the Committee
Room 130, Confederation Building
House of Commons