Chapters under Indigo undermines Canada's book industry


Indigo’s take-over of Chapters in 2001 has not served Canada’s independent publishers. Chapters Inc. had been created in 1994 when founder and CEO, Lawrence Stevenson led the buyout and merger of Coles and SmithBooks, Canada's two largest book chains at the time. Headed by Heather Reisman, the combined Indigo-Chapters corporate website professing of being “Canada’s purveyor of ideas and inspiration” is apparent propaganda.

If you are a self-published Canadian author, or a Canadian writer who has been published by an independent-oriented publisher, you have next to no hope of your book seeing the light of day in any bookstores owned by Heather Reisman and company.

In our independent investigation of Canada’s largest bookseller, we were told that Ms. Reisman et al. “are only interested in Canadian titles that are being distributed by Canadian based transnational companies like the University of Toronto Press.” We were then further told that Ms. Reisman et al. has “no interest in the paperwork associated allowing all Canadian publishers to have equitable access to listing titles on Chapters-Indigo website.”

It is ironic that American-owned Amazon has found a way to enable Canadian self-published authors and independent publishers to have the equitable access that Ms. Reisman et al. claims to be “not possible”.

It is apparent that Indigo-Chapters professing to be a defender of Canadian culture is little more than disingenuous public relations sloganizing that is designed to rationalize its oligarchical control of bookselling in Canada.

It is furthermore apparent that the Government of Canada should have prevented the take-over of Chapters by Indigo. Chapters had sought to make at least an effort to provide the kind of online booksellers access that Ms. Reisman apparently refuses to provide.

How Indigo decides to sell books profoundly affects Canadian publishers. The Toronto Star elaborates that in many Canadian towns the company stands as the sole local bookseller, manifesting as Indigo, Chapters and Coles.

It is apparent that Indigo is no great defender of ‘Canadian culture‘, and furthermore seeks to deny Canadians access to books which have not been approved by the corporate boardrooms of large corporate cliques. The only culture that Indigo seems to be defending are the culture of elites. Indigo is an apparent creature of information gatekeepers in Bay Street in downtown Toronto’s financial district, that in turn is linked to so-called “Free Trade” and the “New World Order”.

It is apparent that Canadians who seek to learn about the vitality of our Canadian identity should not look in Indigo-controlled stores which could be perceived to represent a corporate whitewash of Canadian culture.

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