'Books in Canada' Back With Amazon's Help
Leah Eichler -- 1/22/01

Books in Canada, one of the country's oldest and most respected book review publications, will be resurrected, thanks to a new sponsorship deal with The magazine, which was forced to stop publishing in early 2000 after 30 years in print due to lack of funding, plans on publishing 10 issues in 2001, starting in March. In 2002, Books in Canada is setting its sights on 12 monthly issues.

The literary magazine and Amazon will also jointly sponsor the First Novel Award--a prize started by Books in Canada in 1976 and given to some of Canada's most important writers, including Michael Ondaatje, W.P. Kinsella and Anne Michaels. "We are simply delighted that we can continue our 30-year tradition of providing objective reviews, author interviews and commentary on Canadian books and literary life," said Adrian Stein, Books in Canada owner and publisher.

Books in Canada will provide Amazon with reviews of Canadian-authored books in exchange for the sponsorship. It will also license archived reviews to the online book retailer. "The strong editorial reviews that we will receive from Books in Canada will help us further promote Canadian authors and literature to our customers in more than 200 countries," said Marvin Krug, Amazon's general manager for the Canadian market.

Writers Outraged
The Periodical Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), which represents Canadian freelance writers, were critical of the news that Books in Canada will license old reviews to Amazon. It has asked that writers and readers boycott the publication until copyright issues have been addressed.

"Adrian Stein d s not have the right to publish or license those reviews electronically," said PWAC president Kathe Lieber. "Over the past year, he has flagrantly violated the copyright of scores of writers across Canada by posting their work on his Web site, and is now 'licensing' that work to It's outrageous."

Lieber is referring to complaints PWAC received last March from former writers for Books in Canada about their works being published on Stein's site without their permission. PWAC said it had contacted Stein at the time and requested that he remove the work or obtain permission, but he refused to do so.

"To our knowledge, Mr. Stein has not received any special dispensation and is bound by the provisions of the Canadian Copyright Act, like anyone else," said Lieber. "We intend to assist the writing community to use new provisions of the act to seek statutory damages against him." These new provisions allow copyright owners who have established that their copyright has been infringed to recover between $500 and $20,000 per work infringed, without having to prove any actual losses or damages suffered.