Coming Soon: Apple iBookstore for Canada!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on December 16, 2010

As an avid book lover, I’m pleased to report that the Department of Canadian Heritage has formally approved Apple’s creation of the iBookstore. The approval marks a welcome sign of relief for Apple after governor general Michaëlle Jean asked for a review of the proposed bookstore under Section 15 of the Investment Canada Act in September citing “nation’s cultural identity” concerns.

Apparently, Apple made several promises including promotion of titles by Canadian authors, which convinced the federal government that “a Canadian version of Apple Inc.’s iBookstore would be of net benefit to the country”. The Cupertino giant has also promised to help Canadian publishers streamline the processes of creating and enhancing e-books.

Though the iBookstore currently exists, it only offers paid U.S. titles plus a plethora of free public-domain and pdf documents. Apple’s move is expected to boost the Canadian publishing industry in more ways than one – new job opportunities, much needed support to Canadian publishers in creating and enhancing e-books, promotion of Canadian titles in English and French, new opportunities for authors and publishers including beginners and independent writers, and increased access to Aboriginal titles. All in all, a very positive move for the Canadian publishing industry as well as the book reader fraternity.

Section 15 of the Investment Canada Act provides a clause for review if the proposed investment “falls within a prescribed specific type of business activity that, in the opinion of the Governor in Council, is related to Canada’s cultural heritage or national identity.”

Forgive my sheer ignorance but I fail to understand how the iBookstore would have posed a risk to Canada’s cultural identity as a nation. IMO, it has the potential to boost our publishing industry by digitizing more content. From a reader’s perspective, it offers more selections and for voracious readers like me – “The more, the merrier”. With Apple Canada coming into the fray, I’d expect the company to step up its customer service experience as well.

Though iBookstore has been around for a while now, it has failed to match the monster achievements of the Apple App Store and iTunes Store.

The Cupertino giant declined to comment on how quickly Canadian iOS users will be seeing the Apple iBookstore stocked with country-made content. As always, I’d say – The earlier, the better!

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS>, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jordan Richardson December 16, 2010 at 4:08 am

“I fail to understand how the iBookstore would have posed a risk to Canada’s cultural identity as a nation”

Standard procedure, really.

Because the iBookstore went through the process, it now ensures all of the elements that promote Canadian authors and their books are front and centre. It also improves the market for Canadian consumers instead of pushing American or foreign interests to the fore, granting “increased access to Aboriginal authors and publishers” to boot.

The process doesn’t mean that there was any ideological opposition to iBookstore; it just means that it goes through the paces like everything else.

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