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Giller winner causes sales spike for Kobo, remorse for book Luddites

Like all good parties, there was a bit of a to-do on Tuesday before it was announced that The Sentimentalists had won the Giller for 2010. It was during that little shindig that, according to some attendees, there was a round of booing right before the winner was announced. The target of said heckling? E-books, apparently.

Of course, that was before the Giller prize was announced, and everyone found out that the winner was published by a twee little print shop in Nova Scotia. So at the moment, the only way to get a copy of The Sentimentalists in most of Canada is to download it from Kobo. Who’s laughing now, book-less Gillerites?

We spoke briefly with Cameron Drew, senior vendor relations manager at Kobo. He says that since the price was announced, Kobo has sold 10 times as many copies of The Sentimentalists as it did from October 15 (when the book became available on Kobo) to November 9.

Drew, for his part, doesn’t think the CanLit crowd is e-book hostile: he believes it was “playful booing” of the Kindle and Amazon, whose e-book reader was being offered as a prize. Drew was at the party and says he didn’t hear any booing of the Kobo when it came up. (But then, he wouldn’t, would he?)

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