Saturday, October 21, 2006

Chapters Ban of 'America Alone'?

Mark Steyn's book is a clear bestseller. Yet it seems apparent that the book is not available on the shelves of any Chapters in Canada. A bit strange, no?

I just sent Chapters the following e-mail:


I just tried purchasing a copy of Mark Steyn's book, "America Alone" at my local Chapters store here in Vancouver, BC. It was not available and your associate at the store had no idea when/if any copies would be available. I appreciate that your company may have different political views than Mr. Steyn, but is it really appropriate to ban such a popular book (#2 on today) from your store shelves?


Robert Werner

Here's the English portion of the automated response I just received:

Cher client/Chère cliente. Vous trouverez ci-dessous ce message en français.

Thank you for contacting Customer Service at Chapters Indigo Online!

This email confirms that your email has been received and we will respond to it within 24 hours.

Help is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via our online helpdesk, located at

We look forward to serving you!

Customer Service Team
Chapters Indigo Online

I just received the following response. Talk about expending a lot of time & energy and saying absolutely nothing:

If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, please feel free to contact us for further assistance.

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.
Chapters Indigo Online. Books, Music, Movies and More.

(April)10/23/2006 11:28 AM
Dear Robert Werner,

Thank you for contacting Chapters Indigo Online regarding your search for an item in store.

We appreciate hearing from our customers and value the information and feedback that we receive. Please accept this e-mail as confirmation that your comments regarding your search for an item in store have been forwarded to our store experience team.

We thank you for taking the time to share the thoughts provided within your e-mail and we also invite you to do so again in the future.

Thank you for choosing Chapters Indigo Online. Books, Music, Movies and More.

Customer Service Team
Chapters Indigo Online

I spoke too soon! Here's a very nice response I received a few minutes later:

Dear Robert Werner,

Thank you for your email to Indigo Books & Music Inc. and your interest in Mark Steyn’s book. Wow, this title is certainly generating interest! You are the second customer to email me this morning about this. I have some good news for you – it’s on its way! Indigo is certainly carrying this title in our larger stores (Indigo and Chapters stores). Some higher volume Coles bookstore locations will also receive this title, but it was not ordered for all of the smaller stores due to space considerations, and expected demand.

The order is already being filled by the publisher, and right now we are just waiting for the actual shipment of the books. I have tried to narrow it down to a more specific shipment date, but unfortunately I was not able to determine this. You do not mention which of our Vancouver stores you prefer to frequent, so I checked all of them. Our Chapters locations at 788 Robson, 2505 Granville in Vancouver and Metrotown Eaton Centre in Burnaby are all slated to receive copies of this title, as well as our Indigo store at 1025 Marine Drive. Would you like me to keep an eye on the inventory at a particular store, and email you when this title arrives at that location?

Of course, the option to order online is always available if you prefer, but if not, we look forward to welcoming you into one of our store locations soon.


Laura Blight
Coordinator, Selling Services & Solutions
Store Performance Department
Indigo Books and Music Inc.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rob,

Chapters might just be slow in getting new books. I went in to get a copy of "Blindside" by Michael Lewis which came out on Oct. 5th and they didn't have it -- although it had been released 2 weeks ago.

I ended up ordering it from last night.

I hope what you're suggesting isn't right because I buy the majority of my books from Chapters.

PelaLusa said...

My "investigation" stems from several jokes that Mark Steyn has made over the past few days about Chapters [stores] apparent reluctance to sell the book In fact, he has now devoted an entire section of his website to a contest to see which Canadian will be the first to be able to buy the book in a store. The winner will get a coffee mug and tote bag.

But I am MOST curious to see what the Chapters rep writes back!!

P.S. I will NEVER order a book from because of the piss poor service I received from them the one time I tried several years ago.

Peter Jay said...

I've ordered two items in the last 12 months from and received excellent service/delivery both times. They definitely seem to be slow off the draw in this case...

Andrew E said...

#1: Chapters slow to get books?? Funny, they usually have the new Oprah, Dr, Phil and Deepak Chopra gurgitations before the freakin ink is dry.

Anonymous said...

Oh crap - I have tried Chapters in Vancouver , Nanaimo and Victoria for copies - I was there in person and they has NO Mark Steyn books in any of the stores - lots of Noam Chomsky though!

Anonymous said...

Hi guys, I work at a Chapters store, and yes we did stock Mark Steyn's new book. We didn't get a lot of copies, but they did sit on the shelf for a week or two before we finally started selling some. Now there's just a distribution issue getting more copies- more a matter of Amazon ordering a ton first than that we're evil and not stocking them at all!

PelaLusa said...

But it's much more fun to think of you guys as evil!! :-) With that said, I do find it hard to believe that sufficient copies weren't stocked in all of the stores. Perhaps Ms. Reismann just didn't want to help Steyn promote his book. Though now that the demand is clearly there, she's not a stupid businesswoman.