Book prize re­jects Ama­zon spon­sor­ship

Lethbridge Herald - - GREAT READS | SATURDAY BOOKS - Jean Philippe Angers THE CANA­DIAN PRESS – MON­TREAL

A pres­ti­gious Que­bec lit­er­ary prize has de­cided to aban­don a spon­sor­ship from Ama­zon af­ter writ­ers nom­i­nated for the award de­nounced the on­line gi­ant’s “in­hu­man meth­ods.”

Or­ga­niz­ers of the Prix lit­teraire des col­legiens an­nounced Mon­day the next edi­tion of the prize will go ahead with fund­ing from a foun­da­tion as they try to find a new spon­sor.

The prize was sus­pended last month shortly af­ter Ama­zon was an­nounced as the main spon­sor. Crit­ics blamed the on­line re­tailer for has­ten­ing the demise of lo­cal book­stores and said it had no busi­ness as­so­ci­at­ing with the award.

Claude Bourgie Bovet, co-founder of the prize, said in an in­ter­view that or­ga­niz­ers “will work to try to do what we had done with Ama­zon, that is to find a partner able to of­fer money and sup­port to de­velop the prize and en­sure its longevity.”

Ama­zon said the con­tro­versy will not stop it from get­ting in­volved in lit­er­ary prizes. “We have a long-stand­ing track record of sup­port­ing Cana­dian authors and read­ers and will con­tinue to ex­plore ways to rec­og­nize writ­ers and sup­port lit­er­a­ture in Que­bec and across Canada,” the com­pany said in a state­ment.

It noted that it is al­ready the main spon­sor of the Ama­zon Canada First Novel Award, which The Wal­rus mag­a­zine pro­duces on the on­line re­tailer’s be­half, and con­trib­utes to other ini­tia­tives pro­mot­ing lit­er­a­ture.

There are 1.6 mil­lion French-lan­guage ti­tles for sale on Ama­zon.ca, in­clud­ing the five books nom­i­nated this year for the Prix lit­teraire des col­legiens.

The fi­nal­ists for the 2019 edi­tion of the prize were among the most vo­cal crit­ics of Ama­zon Canada’s in­volve­ment.

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