From The Guardian:
A much-loved Québécois literary prize has been suspended after the five finalists for this year’s award publicly protested at its sponsorship by Amazon.
The CA$5,000 (£3,000) Prix littéraire des collégiens, running since 2003, is intended to promote Québécois literature and is decided by a jury of hundreds of students who select their winner from a selection of five works of fiction written in French by Canadian authors. But after this year’s finalists, the writers Lula Carballo, Dominique Fortier, Karoline Georges, Kevin Lambert and Jean-Christophe Réhel, discovered that Amazon Canada would be the prize’s new principal sponsor, they wrote to Le Devoir urging organisers to reconsider.
“Our great unease comes from the dangerous competition this giant has with Quebec bookstores. Need we remind you of the precariousness of the book trade and literary publishing? Need we mention the inhumane methods of this online giant, which constitute a danger for small traders and culture at large?” they wrote.
. . . .
“Could the [award] do without the money from Amazon? Find sponsors more in line with the values it stands for?” they asked. “Unfortunately, we believe that by uniting with Amazon, the prize is failing in its principal mission, which is to ‘promote Québécois literature today’ … We believe that the defence of Québécois literature and the promotion of a multinational that harms bookstores … cannot go together.”
After the letter was published, organisers announced the prize would be suspended. In a statement, co-founder Claude Bourgie Bovet said the decision was the “direct result of the distressing reaction of many parties in the Quebec book trade following the recent announcement of major support”.
. . . .
Amazon has been approached for comment. The online giant had said, when it was announced as sponsor for the award, that it shared the programme’s “commitment to fostering a love for Québécois literature, both in the region and abroad”.
Link to the rest at The Guardian
PG will note that Quebec bookstores only serve those who live within a reasonable distance and can afford to pay what the bookstores and the publishers have decided they need in order to survive and prosper.
According to Statistics Canada, 19.4% of the provincial population of Quebec live in rural areas (areas with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants and a population density below 400 people per square kilometre). How many bookstores are within a reasonable distance of this rural population.
How many bookstores are located within First Nations communities? How many indigenous authors are published by traditional publishers in Quebec? How do the hurdles faced by indigenous authors seeking publication via traditional publishers compare with the hurdles faced by indigenous authors seeking publication via Kindle Direct Publishing?