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Breaking news: Amazon to have an expanded Canadian presence?

The U.K. trade magazine The Bookseller is reporting that Amazon is seeking permission to expand its business interests in Canada by setting up a physical base in the country. At present, Amazon’s Canadian presence is limited to the Amazon.ca website, with physical distribution handled by Assured Logistics, a member of the Canada Post Group of Companies.

According to The Bookseller, Amazon filed an application on Jan. 27 with the Department of Canadian Heritage to open a “new Canadian business.” That proposal is now being assessed by Heritage to see whether or not it lives up to Canada’s cultural protection rules, an Amazon spokesperson says. From The Bookseller:

According to Privy Council documents seen by The Bookseller, an inquiry ordered by Canada’s governor general (The Queen’s representative in the country) under the Investment Canada Act will probe “investment by Amazon.com Inc to establish a new Canadian business carried on by Amazon Fulfillment Services Canada Inc.”

Amazon spokesperson Mary Osako confirmed that an application had been made, but declined to say what it planned to sell through the new company and services. “We’re always looking for new ways to serve our Canadian customers, but it’s premature to discuss our plans as we await a ruling on our application,” she said.

A spokesperson for Canadian Heritage would not confirm or deny whether the department has received an application from Amazon. Canadian industry sources contacted by Q&Q have indicated that The Bookseller report has caught them by surprise.

It’s safe to assume that an expanded Amazon presence in Canada would not be good news for Chapters.Indigo.ca, its main online bookselling competitor. Amazon.ca currently sells books, CDs, DVDs, and video games, as well as home and garden goods. In the U.S., the company sells a much wider array of goods, including groceries.

Keep watching Q&Q Omni as more details emerge.