08/29/2013 11:57 EDT | Updated 10/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia Education Department reviewing awarding of school book tender

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia Education Minister Ramona Jennex says the government was trying to get the best value for taxpayers when it awarded part of a tender for school books to a company based in the United States.

Jennex said Thursday it's the first time the province has tendered for the books, which resulted in significant savings.

"It's very important that our tax dollars are spent wisely and that we are getting the very best value for the dollar, so these books were tendered," she said.

The government is reviewing its decision to award the tender after receiving complaints from the Canadian Publishers’ Council that the contract would violate the Copyright Act.

Jennex said it is her understanding that the government has followed the law.

"From what I understand, it was handled appropriately, but we're right now reviewing the tender to make sure that everything is OK."

Jennex was responding to a media report that New York-based Sussman Sales Ltd. was awarded $347,440 in business, while Atlantic Book Ltd. of Truro, N.S., was awarded $163,136.

She said no books have been purchased.

The tender is for 400 Canadian, American, British and Australian books that are used as supplementary reading for students studying literature.