The Role of the Book Importation Regulations in Canada’s Market for Books

Operating under the Copyright Act, the Book Importation Regulations contain provisions regulating the distribution of imported titles in Canada. Since the Regulations came into effect in 1999, the environment for book distribution in Canada and internationally has changed dramatically, and it continues to evolve in a number of important ways, especially with respect to online commerce and the rise of digital reading.

The Role of the Book Importation Regulations in Canada’s Market for Books (2012) presents the findings that resulted from two separate research studies commissioned in 2011 by the Department of Canadian Heritage. These studies addressed the role of the Regulations in Canada’s English- and French-language markets for books and were led, respectively, by Turner-Riggs and Édinova inc. These independent consultants based their findings on extensive quantitative and qualitative research that they conducted from July to December 2011.

The full report also contains a background section and an international comparison annex based on research conducted internally at Canadian Heritage. The complete text of the Book Importation Regulations is also annexed.

It is hoped that the full report will serve as a useful resource in any examination of the Book Importation Regulations and their effectiveness and utility in the market for books in Canada as it continues to evolve. Please contact us to obtain a copy.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2012
Catalogue No.: CH44-143/2012E-PDF
ISBN: 978-1-100-20980-7

Table of contents

Introduction

Background: Legal and Regulatory Provisions

Background: Origins of the Book Importation Regulations

Part I: Role of the Book Importation Regulations in Canada’s English‑Language Market for Books

  • Executive summary
  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 2.0 General observations
  • 3.0  Canadian book imports
    • 3.1 Import pathways
    • 3.2 Import data
      • 3.21 Number of titles in the Canadian market
      • 3.22 Share of market: Domestic and import
      • 3.23 Volume and composition of imports to Canada
      • 3.24 Exchange rate and inflation effects
      • 3.25 Price behaviour over time
      • 3.26 Current price differentials: Trade titles
      • 3.27 A closer look at textbooks
  • 4.0  Market effects of the Book Importation Regulations
    • 4.1 Market effects with regard to library procurement
  • 5.0  Critiques and issues
    • 5.1 Critique: Removing the Regulations would reduce the cost of Canadian books
    • 5.2 Issue: The Regulations are not enforceable 
    • 5.3 Issue: The Regulations do not apply to digital books
  • 6.0  Conclusion

Part II: Role of the Book Importation Regulations in Canada’s French‑Language Market for Books

  • Executive summary
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Methodology
  • 3. Basic principles
    • Bill 51
    • Diffusion and distribution of books
    • Availability of national data
  • 4. Scope of book importation
  • 5. Practices and issues related to print book importation
    • Pricing for imported books 
    • Delivery times
    • Issues specific to textbooks: Grades 1 to 12
    • Issues specific to textooks: Post‑secondary
  • 6. Parallel importation of printed titles
  • 7. Issues related to e‑book importation
  • 8. Conclusion

Annex A: International Comparison of Book Importation Regimes

Annex B: Complete Text of the Book Importation Regulations