Dollar's Strength Demonstrates How Private Tariff on Books is 'Loonie'

OTTAWA, April 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian dollar's recent rise to near parity with its American counterpart has once again brought the public's attention to differences in the cost of basic consumer goods between the two countries. This is especially true with book prices, which often have both American and Canadian prices printed on the cover.

"The dollar's parity brings the effect that copyright regulation has on the cost of books into sharp focus," said Campus Stores Canada Executive Director Wayne Amundson. "Most Canadians are probably unaware that much of this difference in price comes from copyright regulations that add as much as 15% to the cost of a book as it crosses the border."

The Copyright Act allows publishers of non-Canadian books to designate exclusive distributors for their works within Canada. Book importation regulations promulgated under the act outline the maximum prices that exclusive distributors are able to charge: the cost of the book in the country of origin, the difference in exchange, plus an additional 10 or 15%. So long as the exclusive distributor does not charge more than this, it is a copyright violation for booksellers to import from someone other than the exclusive distributor. Campus Stores Canada considers this additional 10 or 15% to be a 'private tariff', paid by consumers and collected by private corporations.

"This private tariff means that all Canadians spend too much on books, but it hurts university and college students the most," said Amundson. "Students can spend as much on a term's worth of textbooks as a month's worth of rent, and course requirements leave them little ability to defer or delay purchasing texts."

Campus Stores Canada firmly believes that this regulation should be removed. Anticipated efforts to amend the Copyright Act present a good opportunity to do so, but it is important that government act quickly, as orders for texts for fall courses will begin in the very near future. Delays mean that students will continue to needlessly pay too much for their books.

"With the stroke of a pen, Canada has an opportunity to dramatically reduce the price of books, particularly textbooks, at no expense to the public purse," concludes Amundson. "That's a win for students and a win for government. To ignore this opportunity would be 'loonie'."

Campus Stores Canada is the national trade association dedicated to providing a unified voice for Canadian post-secondary, institutionally owned and operated Campus stores, and by doing so enabling them to serve their institutions in the most effective manner. Campus Stores Canada has almost 100 member stores nationwide and almost 120 vendor and supplier associates. This means that if you know one of Canada's million post-secondary students, you probably know someone that is served by Campus Stores Canada.

SOURCE Campus Stores Canada

For further information: For further information: Michael Powell: W: (613) 233-8906, C: (613) 797-7313, E: mike@impactcanada.com

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