Canada Lets in Porn

Just received this press release:

Top Shelf Productions is pleased to announce that the Canada Border Services Agency (Canada Customs) has formally cleared Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls for importation into Canada.

In a thoughtful letter from the agency, dated 27 October 2006, the CBSA stated that the “depictions and descriptions are integral to the development of an intricate, imaginative, and artfully rendered storyline,” and that “the portrayal of sex is necessary to a wider artistic and literary purpose.” They concluded with “Its importation into Canada is therefore allowed.”

We’re very grateful to the Canada Border Services Agency for their enlightened decision regarding Lost Girls, as well as to our Canadian attorney Darrel H. Pearson (of Gottlieb & Pearson) for helping us prepare the documents necessary to request a formal review of the work.

What this means is that the book will now be available to all Canadian retailers and fans as soon as the new printing arrives at our distributor (Diamond Book Distributors) in mid-December. This new printing will likely sell out in a single day, so please be sure to put your orders into the Diamond system as soon as you can, to make sure you get the copies you need.

That’s the right decision for Canada to make, given the aims and effect of the material.

I do like the sales pitch at the end. Let me paraphrase: “You’ll still have to wait a month to get it, and better order now before we sell out!” I know it’s hard to predict print run numbers on such an elaborate and expensive product, but the “single day” bit struck me funny, even if intended to avoid hard feeling down the road by reminding retailers of the demand.

Update: ICv2 has more information on print runs and sales. After noting that two print runs of 10,000 each immediately sold out, they say:

Around 17,000 of the third printing of 20,000 copies, which is due to arrive in mid-December, were already backordered prior to the opening of the Canadian market. Top Shelf now expects that demand will exceed supply by the time the third printing ships to retailers. Top Shelf’s Chris Staros told ICv2 that a fourth printing would be done, but that he will wait until Canadian orders come in to decide on a quantity.

Good luck, Canadians, in getting your share of those 3,000. Now we know why he wants your orders in “as soon as you can” — to set the next run and start getting them out as quickly as possible. Better for everyone that way. 40,000 already sold and still demand for more… this is one successful $75 porn book!

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4 Responses to “Canada Lets in Porn”

  1. Ryan Day Says:

    It’s kind of a weird press release, since a few stores carried the first print run back in September. As far as I’m aware, it was never banned, prohibited, or even seized at the border; this just seems like a pre-emptive ruling Top Shelf and retailers can point to if any customs trouble arises in the future. The other plus is that they’ve got a major government agency saying the book qualifies as art – that’s both good press and useful ammunition for any future legal challenges.

    Interesting to note, too, that Canada seems to have been shafted out of the second print run. Was the appeal strategically timed to ensure American stores got their shipments? (probably not, but it’s an odd coincidence)

  2. Johanna Says:

    As quoted here, “When I called The Beguiling a couple of weeks ago to ask after additional copies, though, I was told that the publisher had explicitly asked them to stop selling Lost Girls in Toronto, until their appeal against Canada Customs can go through. In the meantime, Chapters has put a hold on all orders for the book in Canada, and most of the other comic book stores in the city won’t stock it, or weren’t ever planning to.” Apparently Top Shelf wanted to do this legal and so asked stores to cooperate.

  3. Bruce Meyer Says:

    The title was a little bit confusing, sort of like Dog Bites Man. Since Sweden has reversed its laws on prostitution, Canada is out in front in all things porn, or at least Canada is on top of Sweden.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Sorry, I just thought it was funny. I admit, the only time I hear about Canada in this context is when they’re banning something, which has probably skewed my perception a lot.

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