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Books and magazines distributor Benjamin News shutting down after 97 years

After nearly 100 years in the business, Quebec-based books and magazines distributor Benjamin News has announced plans to shut down, effective April 4.

The family-run company, started in 1917 by “blind newsie” Charles Benjamin, distributes magazines and books to 7,500 retailers in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario. The decision will result in the layoff of 225 employees.

According to a press release issued by current president Paul Benjamin, arrangements have been made with several companies, including The News Group, Socadis, and Metro News, to take over distribution of English-language magazines and books in Quebec, Eastern Ontario, Sudbury, and the greater Thunder Bay area.

Metro News president and CEO Daniel Shapiro confirmed in a press release that Paul Benjamin “will immediately become a consultant to Metro, largely with a goal of insuring a smooth and transparent transition and assisting us with all matters Quebec going forward.”

In an interview with CTV Montreal, Benjamin said, “Quebec is probably the most expensive market in North America to distribute magazines and books. It has the lowest density. The sale of the printed word, especially magazines, has decreased radically.”