Prepared by the More Canada think tank steering committee
June 22, 2019
The purpose of this symposium was to bring book industry professionals together to discuss the decline in awareness and reading of Canadian-authored books in English Canada, and to consider the information, analysis and recommendations provided to the industry by the volunteer think tank that generated the More Canada report. The symposium focused on independent bookstores and public libraries, two of the awareness and distribution channels covered in the report.
The More Canada steering committee invited the heads of firms of Ontario Book Publishers Organization members to attend. The steering committee (Philip Cercone, James Lorimer, and Jeffrey Miller) sought out Greater Toronto Area industry professionals from the independent bookstore and public library sectors to participate. The symposium brought together 26 participants, including 16 publishers, 4 independent booksellers, 2 public library managers, one library wholesaler, one authors’ organization representative, and 3 industry professionals. The day-long symposium included brief presentations of new data and research, panel discussions, break-out sessions to facilitate participation by all attendees, and plenary discussions. The discussions took place under modified Chatham House rules, by which all participants are free to report on what was said but individuals are not to be quoted by name. This allows industry professionals to speak freely from their knowledge and experience, without having to do so on behalf of their institution or organization. The contributions of participants were in their individual capacities, not as representatives of their businesses or institutions. The list of participants and brief biographies of each is attached to this report.
The symposium was co-sponsored by Ryerson University’s Centre for Free Expression, and a GTA-area book printing firm, Copywell.
Summary of Presentations and Discussion
Update on how are Canadian-authored books faring
Authors and publishers in English Canada continue to create and publish a wide range of new books across every genre and subject, with 3,600 new trade books being released every year. These Canadian books compete for awareness and readership with 76,000 new books from foreign authors selling in Engish Canada. Booknet sales data year to date in 2019 show that Canadian-authored books represent 11% of the books purchased in bookstores and for libraries, in line with the 12% average in 2018. Independent bookstores continue to be far more successful than other retailers in connecting Canadian-authored books with Canadian readers. Year-to-date Canadian authored title sales in independent bookstores are 18%, and calendar year data for 2018 show that Canadian authored books held a 20% share of independent bookstores sales.
Public libraries are a major source of reader awareness and discovery of books, including Canadian books, but until now the representation of Canadian-authored books in public library collections and circulation has been mostly unknown. This arises from public library infrastructure and cataloguing standards, where author citizenship has not been a standard element of cataloguing information. Library collection management systems have not had the content or the features to allow library managers to track or measure this feature of their book collections and lending. BookNet Canada has developed the tools that will now provide public libraries with visibility into their collections and circulation operations, similar to the visibility available to publishers and bookstores into book sales at the individual title level. One elementt of this new service is that books will be tagged when they are Canadian authored. Sample data from this project for 10 million circulations from participating libraries in early 2019 showed that just 7% of the books borrowed by public library users were by Canadian authors. Data for individual public library systems participating in the BookNet project will be available later in 2019, allowing library managers to track their role in providing library users with Canadian authored books for the first time.
The bookstore and public library data show a substantial long-term decline in the presence of Canadian-authored books in Canadians’ leisure reading. Book reading itself as a leisure activity has declined slightly every year over the past 5+ years, dropping 1¬2% per year. But Canadian authored books have experienced a far more severe decline. Long-term data gathered gathered by the Department of Canadian Heritage show a 44% decline in the sales of Canadian-authored books by independent Canadian publishers sector from 2005 to 2017. Canadian-authored books from all publishers, independent and multinational, have gone from an estimated market share of about 27% in 2005 to 11% in 2019 year to date.
This substantial decline in reading Canadian authored books is not the result of fewer attractive, appealing or interesting new Canadian books being published, nor is it a result of an upsurge in the quality, appeal, interest or price point of foreign-authored books. The cause is a lack of awareness on the part of potential readers of the Canadian-authored books that are being written and published, and lack of easy access to those books in channels of book distribution, including online retailers, bricks and mortar retailers, and libraries. In the symposium participants focused on reviewing the causes of these developments, and on effective steps that would give Canadian authors and their books a significantly greater presence in the cultural life of the country.
Independent bookstores and Canadian books
In many countries, bookstores are recognized in public policy for their role in fostering and sustaining cultural life, acting as centerpieces of the literary life of the communities where they are located and offering a place for readers to interact with writers and with the books those writers have added to that country’s literature. They are treated as much more than just another ordinary retail business. Bookstores are often the creation of individuals whose passion for books and literature is mixed with the practical skills needed to operate a business successfully – private ownership is the norm, just as libraries are generally public institutions around the world. The passion of individual bookstore owner/managers and their curation of their selection of books lie behind the remarkable success of Canadian bookstores today in creating awareness and generating readership of Canadian-authored books. Of course there is much variation among individual booksellers, but it is the average independent bookstore which is achieving 19% of sales with Canadian-authored books. Individual stores are recording Canadian-authored books accounting for as much as 35% of sales.
Participants stressed that bookstores, particularly independent bookstores, should be recognized as cultural resources in the communities they serve. This would be a new initiative in public policy in English Canada.
In Quebec, bookstores have been recognized and supported in their cultural role for more than 20 years. The specifics of Quebec’s approach are not widely known in the rest of Canada. The Quebec public policy regime, often termed the accredited bookstore model, effectively subsidizes the operation of bookstores, mostly independent bookstores, throughout the province.
Through the mechanism of requiring public institutions (such as public libraries and schools) to purchase all their books at accredited independent bookstores at regulated prices, Quebec makes independent bookstores viable in towns and cities throughout the province. In exchange for this flow of high-margin business, the accredited bookstores agree to offer all bookstore visitors a wide range of new Canadian-authored titles alongside a strong representation of foreign-authored books. Quebec today has about 280 accredited bookstores (of which 240 are independent) each with a substantial offering of Canadian-authored books, and providing a real bookstore in virtually every Quebec town and city along with the local public library.
None of the symposium participants advocated that the Quebec model be copied in the rest of Canada. Instead, the views expressed were that public policy should recognize the value of independent bookstores as community cultural spaces and cultural presences, and offer bookstores direct support focused on the costs of activities in creating awareness of Canadian-authored books and in providing readers with access to those books on their shelves and in their displays.
There was general agreement that the Canada Book Fund program of the Department of Canadian Heritage should be expanded with a new component, offering individual bookstores access to funding to contribute a major portion (75%) of the costs of a staff person and direct expenses involved in activities to promote Canadian-authored books in their communities.
Many independent bookstores already undertake activities such as book launches, author talks, school book fairs, presence at community events, as well as digital promotion activities including customer email newsletters and social media. Most independent booksellers see the potential to do much more of this promotion work, but are hampered by a drastic shortage of funds to pay for activities that earn no immediate margin to cover their costs. A new Canada Book Fund component, created through a new allocation of funding offering interested booksellers financial support to enable them to go to a much higher level of promotion for Canadian-authored books would achieve several key goals of public policy regarding books and reading. It would strengthen independent bookstores, proven to be the most effective channels for increasing awareness and reading of Canadian-authored books, increase their sales, generate higher levels of awareness on the part of their communities and customers of Canadian-authored books, improve public access to these books at events and activities beyond the stores themselves, and contribute to reversing the long-term decline in the sales of Canadian-authored books.
Much of the structure needed to set up such a program and measure results is in place thanks to BookNet and BookManager. There are options about how such a program component could be administered which need to be considered further. Bookseller participants at the symposium underlined the importance of the independent bookselling community establishing an organization to promote their interests as cultural businesses, and to express their support for a bookstore promotion activity component of the Canada Book Fund. There was general agreement that independent bookstores need to find a way to act collectively to promote their role in the book industry.
Other governments have a role to play in this area of cultural policy. Symposium participants pointed to the opportunity for municipal governments to recognize and support independent bookstores through cultural grants, offering publicly-owned space at below-market rents, and/or reduced property taxes. There are precedents around the world for local governments making bookstores financially viable using these measures.
Many Canadian municipalities already have well established programs to provide financial support for a wide range of cultural organizations, which are typically organized as nonprofits. Because independent bookstores play such a valuable cultural role, they deserve consideration for the same support. In fact, in the very high-rent city of Toronto, there is already in place a program to reduce property taxes on buildings that house cultural nonprofits – BookNet Canada benefits from this measure, because it occupies a portion of a building in this program. Around the world, both book publishing houses and independent bookstores are more often organized as privately owned businesses, not nonprofits. This is recognized as appropriate by cultural support programs for publishers from the federal and provincial governments and arts councils across Canada. The same understanding should be extended to independent bookstores, given the vital role they are clearly playing in contributing to awareness and access to Canadian-authored books in English Canada.
There was a significant current of discussion at the symposium regarding measures which publishers, and industry organizations, could take to improve the viability of the independent bookstore sector, encourage bookstore startups and openings in underserved communities, and assist in bookstore promotion efforts. There was a willingness and enthusiasm for engaging in further exploring these topics.
Public libraries and Canadian books
The More Canada report contains 17 recommendations addressing public libraries and the role they could play in increasing awareness and reading of Canadian-authored books. Symposium participants focused on a handful of these, and a consensus emerged around a policy initiative that was felt to have the potential to achieve a dramatic, visible, attractive additional presence of a wide range of new Canadian-authored books in public library branches.
As background to the discussion, findings from reader survey research were presented which documented the functions of public libraries in terms of connecting readers with books. In Ontario municipalities spend about $650 million raised from property taxpayers annually on public library services.
The provincial government chips in another $42 million. But the public places high value placed on what they get in return: participation in and use of public libraries is high. Libraries offer a wide range of events and services, which account for 4,700,000 attendances a year. There were 122,000,000 books borrowed to read from Ontario’s public libraries in 2017 and another 20,000,000 ebooks circulated – about 10 books per year for every resident of the province! Ebook and audio book circulation has grown substantially in the past five years.
The organization of large urban public library systems, Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC), provides annual statistics on their members’ operations. Of the 25 members, 12 are in Ontario, including the very large Toronto Public Library. Their total expenditures in 2017 were $740 million. Total circulation was 140,000,000. These CULC statistics include 12 large Ontario public library systems whose data are also included in the Ontario statistics cited above. Ontario CULC public library system members account for about 65,000,000 total circulation.
Public libraries have vigorously expanded the formats of books they offer – along with print copies, ebook versions and audiobook versions are available to users. These new formats have of course increased pressures on public libraries’ materials budgets. Libraries also offer their users a variety of other resources, digital and print.
Ironically, for a public cultural institution which represents a very substantial total expenditure public funds, of there are no good Canada-wide statistics for public libraries. A 2012 report put the number of public library branch locations at about 3000, and the number of systems at about 600.
In their core function of providing readers with interesting and appealing books to read, public libraries do three things at once – first, they create awareness of books, by putting the books out on displays and shelves for library users to see, second, they display information about every title they own in their online catalogue, and third, they provide free and often immediate access to those books.
While the access function of public libraries is universally understood and appreciated, the awareness function is often taken for granted outside of the library world and less well documented and analyzed. In the only recent Canadian reader survey looking at this issue, public library users reported that they frequently discover books in their library. In fact, according to this study, library users are just as likely to leave a public library with a book they discovered on a display or a shelf as to leave with a book they intended to borrow. Of course the essence of the discovery role of public libraries is – you won’t discover a print book on a visit to your local public library if it’s not on the shelf or in a display.
The discovery role of public libraries has power and importance for Canadian-authored books because libraries reach such a high percentage of the book reading public, both adult and children/teens. In Atlantic Canada, for instance, 44% of all book readers report visiting a public library at least once a year, with 16% of book readers visiting at least once monthly. Public library visits across Canada rival visits to bricks and mortar bookstores in numbers and frequency, and have a substantially greater reach than independent bookstores. Comparing public libraries for their awareness and discovery role to other sources such as print book reviews and CBC radio programs, public libraries are by far the most influential and important. In a rare study of the awareness role of public libraries conducted in 2017-18 in Atlantic Canada, eight out of ten public library users agreed or strongly agreed that they often discover new books and authors in the library. They discover books by browsing shelves (73%), noticing special displays (47%) and from library staff recommendations (34%). Library websites are also very influential (29%) with author events proving noticeable (11%) but not nearly so important as these other sources of awareness. The survey did not query the role of online catalogues and library websites in the discovery of books and authors, and these also have a significant role. For borrowers exploring ebooks and audiobooks, the recommendation engines of platforms like Overdrive are powerful in contributing to discovery and awareness.
In summary, for Canadian authors and books, public libraries have the greatest potential of all public institutions to connect authors with readers through their discovery and awareness role.
Public library participants stressed the high value and importance that the public library community places on Canadian-authored books. Public librarians believe in their role in supporting the cultural life of their community and the nation by recognizing, celebrating, and collecting Canadian books. They acknowledge that many collection policies do not spell out an explicit policy or mandate regarding Canadian books. Instead, they emphasized, there is an ongoing unstated preference to give priority and emphasis to acquiring and providing access to Canadian authored titles.
Public library systems in Canada undertake a variety of initiatives and programs to increase awareness and discovery of Canadian-authored books.
Symposium participants were updated on a recent such initiative, the One eRead Canada for June 2019. This highlights and promotes Glass Beads by indigenous author Gwen Dumont published by a small independent Canadian publisher, Thistledown Books, in more than 300 libraries across the country.
The program is to offer unlimited user access to the featured book in ebook format. The impact of the initiative will be tracked and evaluated by BookNet
Canada. Other initiatives, such as a Read Local ebook promotion by Nova Scotia public libraries and a province-wide Newfoundland Reads project bringing CBC Radio together with Newfoundland public libraries, demonstrate the interest in public libraries in creating awareness of Canadian-authored books, and serve to illustrate the potential of public libraries across the country for achieving a major increase in awareness and reading of Canadian books.
The tension between this intent by public libraries to highlight Canadian books, and the initial BookNet circulation data was not resolved. BookNet’s data samples are showing, as already noted, that Canadian-authored books account for about 7% of total public library circulation. This number falls far below the 19% Canadian content of independent bookstore sales, and is also well below the 11% of total retail and wholesaler sales reported by BookNet.
Most public library collection policies place highest value on circulation numbers as the measure of the quality of the access to books service they are offering their communities. The goal is defined as providing readers with the books they want to read. The success of a library’s collection management is measured by per capita circulation numbers.
To achieve this goal, libraries develop profiles of the books their users want, and seek to purchase new books that best match these profiles. Public library systems vary greatly in the way they make decisions about what books to add to their collections, and how much access they will offer for each title. Some library systems do all book selection work internally. Some prepare detailed profiles specifying their requirements for individual genres of books, which are passed on to public library wholesalers and their book selection staff.
Others offer broader profiles and leave more of the selection work to wholesalers. Profiles are developed based on librarians’ knowledge of the reading interests and tastes of their users. Much of the work of individual title selection, and of deciding on the presence of individual new books in a public library system, is undertaken by library wholesalers whose book selectors are responsible for having a full overview of all the new titles – about 80,000 annually – being offered in the Canadian market. Librarians emphasize that they continue to exercise oversight when title selection is undertaken by their suppliers.
Public libraries have learned that circulation numbers are maximized by using their limited materials budgets to buy a wider selection of books in smaller numbers. This gives public library users access to a broader range of books, over time, than they would see if a smaller number of titles were bought in greater numbers.
This collection management strategy – matching acquisitions to collection circulation data, and going to a wider range of titles with fewer copies of each — has been followed very successfully by Ontario libraries. The strategy leads to a relatively large number of Canadian titles being available in a library system, but it reduces the frequency that a title will be found by physical browsing in a library branch. In the context of an overall increase in the number of titles being added to library systems every year, the unintended consequence is to reduce the incidence of library patrons discovering Canadian titles through browsing. Since the library catalogue does not highlight Canadian titles, the priority given by the library to Canadian books is somewhat vitiated as they disappear into the collection.
Publisher participants reported that they see smaller numbers of copies of their new books going to public libraries. New Canadian-authored books do not appear in great numbers on branch public library shelves – and when they are not there, they are not discovered, they are not borrowed and they are not read.
With the advent of BookNet’s new service supplying holdings and circulation data on public library activity, parallel to the existing service supplying stock and sales data on bookstores, public library managers will be able to measure and track the presence of Canadian-authored books in their collections, and the performance of their systems in the discovery and circulating Canadian books. Library participants reported that some library systems are not participating in this new BookNet service because of its cost. BookNet Canada has priced this service for public libraries and if price proves to be an obstacle to its wide adoption, an alternative source of revenue would need to be identified The BookNet service creates an opportunity for public library managers, and for culture policy makers, to consider the question of how to build the role of public libraries as cultural institutions in supporting Canadian cultural expression and in giving their users access to the work of Canadian authors.
Public library participants in the symposium rejected the analysis of the More Canada report, reinforced by the experiences of publisher participants in the symposium, that library wholesalers and public library systems make purchasing and book selection decisions favouring foreign-authored books and multinational publishers over Canadian-authored books and independent Canadian publishers.
BookNet’s library data service allows measurement of the presence of Canadian-authored books in library collections and circulation by tagging library catalogue title information with Canadian authorship information. This information is provided by publishers, aggregated by BookNet, and has been distributed for several years to bookstores, wholesalers and any other book industry participant with the capacity to ingest and use this information. Library participants underlined the urgent need for author nationality to become part of basic library catalogue data as specified by the libraries’ MARC record standard, and for library circulation management systems to be upgraded to hold this field and to allow for its use by library managers and by library users. This is a relatively easy but highly important needed improvement in library digital infrastructure.
The Canadian Collection Kiosk initiative
From the breakout sessions of the symposium came a new policy proposal to address the need and opportunity for Canadian-authored books in public libraries. The proposal aimed at increasing awareness, discovery and reading of Canadian-authored books at the public library branch level. The proposal was that there be a new federal program to fund Canadian collection kiosks for front-of-branch use in public library branches (and parallel curated collections on ebook/audiobook platforms) that would be stocked with incremental copies of new and recent Canadian-authored books, organized by genre or theme. (Library systems could opt out of acquiring a specially designed display kiosk when their preference was to use their own furniture fitting the specific design specifications of their branches.) Selection of titles would be done by the participating library system, and would vary across the country. This would allow every library to highlight local and regional authors and books, as well as books from across the country. There would be an accompanying initiative for publishers to collaborate with libraries to help organize and promote events in these library systems – bringing together authors, libraries and library users to help explore and celebrate Canadian literature. The kiosk collections could be offered in three versions for different sized library branches from small to large, with 100-300 displayed titles at a time, refreshed with new content four times annually. The kiosks would highlight the books as a librarian-selected range of new Canadian titles.
Funding of the kiosk program would come from a new component of the Canada Book Fund. Participating libraries would agree to continue their existing level of acquiring Canadian authored titles, so the kiosk titles would be incremental and would offer library users more copies (in some cases) and more titles (in most). The kiosk collection program would have a digital promotion component, supplying libraries with digital assets to use to promote the kiosk and its titles through websites and social media. There could also be a bookstore component at the local level, tying together the library display to a similar display in local bookstores, and strengthening the propensity of library users to purchase titles that they discover in the library. The BookNet library circulation service would facilitate measurement of the results of this initiative, and would allow library managers to make ongoing selection decisions for the kiosk based on data analytics.
A kiosk collection program would add 400-1200 new Canadian-authored titles to every participating branch library collection annually. After the one-time cost of putting the kiosk in place, the annual incremental cost of the program would be about $6,000 per small library branch and $18,000 for a large branch. With 1,000 branch libraries across Canada participating, the cost of such a program would be about $10 million annually. At this funding level, this program would more than double the discovery and access which public library users currently have to Canadian-authored books, a substantial benefit for a relatively small annual investment.
With the 25 large urban library systems which are members of a national association (CULC), the branch count is about 450 branches, so this program could extend into many large and small library systems. For comparison, the federal government currently funds the Public Lending Right program which compensates Canadian authors for the use of their books in public libraries at $12.5 million annually (rising to $15.0 million in 2020¬21) through the Canada Council. The Canada Book Fund, which supports the creation and publication of Canadian authored books by independent Canadian publishers, devotes about $33 million annually to this activity, and another $7 million to collective initiatives to improve industry infrastructure and to support marketing initiatives.
The impact of the kiosk initiative on total public library discovery, circulation and reading would be measurable in near real time. By offering the program on a voluntary basis, symposium participants felt that it would be welcomed by many public library systems, and would enjoy broad take-up. It would help focus library management attention on their performance in contributing to Canadian cultural awareness and activities, and encourage new emphasis on the public library role in this area.
Regarding the More Canada report proposal for redirecting library purchases from wholesalers to bookstores (as is done in Quebec) southern Ontario library participants stated that this would be inefficient, costly, and perhaps technically impossible for the independent bookstore sector to handle. Publisher participants expressed the view that any policy around public library system purchasing from bookstores would not be a country-wide or Ontario-wide initiative, but would come at the municipal level of individual local library boards and management. Publisher participants acknowledged that the policy might well fit some situations, but not all.
Symposium participants noted that independent Canadian publishers have a collective initiative, 49th Shelf, intended as a digital initiative to create awareness of Canadian-authored books. While the project demonstrates the breadth of interesting new books being published, it has not scaled up to have any measurable impact on discovery of books and authors in English Canada.
The discussions at the symposium confirmed the common interest shared by publishers, librarians, booksellers and others involved in writing and publishing to do the job of connecting the work of Canadian authors to Canadian readers. Numerous participants noted the absence of any regular encounters among the different “silos” involved in books in Canada. The demise of the Canadian Library Association and the disappearance of an independent organization for booksellers means that encounters among industry participants are far fewer than in the past. Booksellers and publishers both underlined the importance of the independent bookstore community organizing to promote its collective interests in a new dedicated booksellers’ organization. Many expressed their appreciation of the opportunity the symposium had offered to grapple with some key issues involving Canadian books. The value of an annual national conference to bring everyone together to facilitate this communication was stressed by several participants.
The underlying message was that everyone involved in books in Canada today wants to see Canadian authors and Canadian books reach Canadian readers. Now that the slow but steady decline in the place of Canadian books in English Canada has been identified and documented, the book industry collectively is ready to engage and work out how to reverse the situation. One key initiative to support and sustain that effort that symposium participants identified would be an annual forum where these issues can be identified and debated, progress reported, problems acknowledged, initiatives identified, and agreements reached on the steps that need to be taken.
For the book industry
- Book industry organizations and groups should explore measures to enhance the viability of independent bookstores and to encourage new bookstore startups and new store openings
- The book industry should encourage and support independent bookstores to establish a new organization to represent and promote their interests and to collaborate with other industry groups
- An annual conference bringing together all book industry players should be initiated to support industry dialogue and to facilitate the communication and collaboration that will achieve the goal of giving Canadian-authored books a prominent place in English Canada’s cultural life
For public libraries
- Establish a Canadian standard in the MARC record to show that a title is Canadian authored
- Put in place the ability to use Canadian authorship in searches, discovery and promotion by librarians and the public on library collection management systems
- Independent bookstores should be recognized as community cultural resources in the cultural policies of all governments — municipal, provincial and federal
- Municipalities should provide new and existing independent bookstores with support such as lower property taxes, reduced rent publicly-owned commercial space, and/or grants from cultural activities support programs, and provinces should pass any needed enabling legislation to permit this initiative
- The Canada Book Fund program of the Department of Canadian Heritage should be expanded with new funding and a new component, offering individual bookstores funding to contribute a major portion of the costs of a staff person and other expenses for activities to promote Canadian-authored books in their communities.
- A federal program should be established to offer Canadian book kiosks and collections for front-of-branch public library use featuring incremental copies of new and recent Canadian-authored books, organized by genre or theme, together with digital versions of these collections on library platforms that facilitate easy discovery and access and that meet the accessibility needs of all Canadians
Comments on this report
This report was circulated in draft form to all symposium participants for comments and corrections. This final version of the report incorporates the feedback received. Below are additional comments regarding the text of the report.
Regarding data on circulation of Canadian-authored books in public libraries: Public libraries may at present purchase Canadian-authored books in a higher percentage than these books represent in their circulation numbers. BookNet’s data will provide definitive information on this. It will also permit comparison of circulation of Canadian-authored titles within specific genres eg literary fiction, political biography etc. to allow a deeper analysis of borrowing and reading of Canadian titles compared to international titles.
On the market share of Canadian-authored books: The data for 25% in 2005 comes from a prepared for Canadian Heritage, titled Reading and Buying Books for Pleasure – 2005 National Survey Final Report by Createc+ Consultants, page 122. The 11% in 2019 figure is from BookNet Canada, and reflects sales of both print and ebook sales through a very high percentage of all book retailers, online and bricks and mortar in English Canada, including the large retail chains.
The low market share numbers led to queries about the reliability and accuracy of the data, and to references to other data sources. A question was raised about Statistics Canada’s data on book publishing. Statistics Canada publishes some basic industry statistics. See http://www.omdc.on.ca/collaboration/research_and_industry_information/industry_profiles/Book _Industry_Profile.htm. Table 21-10-0204-01
Statistics Canada provides data for sales by nationality of authors. It reports total sales by Canadian authors of $701 million in 2016, with domestic sales of $524 million. This data combines the sales of English-language and French-language books, and sales by Canadian-owned and foreign-owned publishers and agents. Statistics Canada does not provide data on domestic sales of English-language Canadian-authored books and does not break down sales by Canadian authors between trade books, school textbooks, and scientific, technical and reference books. BookNet Canada offers the best available information on trade book sales, and on the market share of Canadian-authored trade books and how this is divided between independent and multinational publishers.
The best and only available data on total domestic sales of Canadian-owned English-language book publishers comes from the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Book Fund, which requires publishers to provide audited financial statements providing this breakdown, and which encompasses virtually all commercial book publishers in English Canada. The data used in the report for these publishers combines their domestic trade book, textbook and reference sales. In English Canada, Canadian-owned publishers have a very small presence in the educational market, and a modest presence in the scientific, technical and reference category.
Municipal support for local bookstores: Librarian participants pointed out that public library systems are restricted in expressing views on municipal taxation matters.
Smaller numbers of copies of more titles and the impact on Canadian-authored book awareness and reading: Some participants in the symposium expressed disagreement with the view that fewer copies of more books in a library system reduces reader awareness and access to Canadian-authored books.
The Canadian collection kiosk program proposal: Some participants stressed that this proposal should not require the use of a program-designed kiosk or display stand, and that participating libraries should be free to use their own display stands and furniture.
Ontario Publishers Symposium on More Canada Participants
Anthea Bailie is the Collections Strategist for Markham Public Library. She has been with MPL for 11 years, 5 of them in this role. Her job involves vendor management, analysis, some selection, strategy, and policy.
Karen Boersma is the publisher of Owlkids Books, where she is responsible for the overall management of the company, including strategic planning, editorial development, and sales and marketing.
Hamish Cameron is V.P. of Distribution and IT at University of Toronto Press. Hamish has been with UTP in various capacities for 30 years. Previously he had been Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers and Trade Editor at Quill & Quire magazine.
Philip Cercone was for 10 years Director of the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program. In 1985, he took up an academic appointment at McGill University as Executive Director and Editor-in-chief of McGill-Queen’s University Press and since then he has published some 2,700 books. As well, he is series editor of the Press’s internationally distinguished “History of Ideas Series,” on which some 80 books have been published since it was established in 1985. He has been president of a number of organizations, including the following: Association of American University Presses; ACP, AECB now LC, ACUP, Association of Quebec University Presses, Association of English Language Publishers of Quebec; and the Italian Canadian Professional and Businessmen Association of Canada. He was one of the founders of eBOUND and in 2010 was given the Association of Canadian Publishers’ Award for “leadership through volunteer Service to the publishing industry and to ACP.”
Paul Emond co founded Emond Publishing in 1978 and is currently President of both Emond Publishing and Emond Exam Prep, a related company that provides support for students seeking to pass licensing exams.
Noah Genner has an extensive background in independent bookselling, software, and business development. As the leader of BookNet Canada he orchestrates a skilled team of technical, policy oriented and client-focused staff to provide new data management services and supply-chain initiatives to the Canadian publishing, library and book retail sectors.
Before working at BookNet Canada, Noah ran his own technology and software development consulting business, servicing a wide range of clients, including book publishers and printers. Prior to that, Noah was Director of Software Development for consumer market research leader Compusense, where he oversaw the development of a variety of software services used by numerous Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Noah serves on the Board of Directors of the Book Industry Study Group, eBound Canada, Livres Canada Books, and Editeur.
Steven Glassman started as a biologist (McGill, 1974) and, following a dozen years as a professional agronomist, he completed an MBA (York, 1986) and moved into the printing industry. In a company specializing in community newspaper printing and later a direct mail print shop, Steve oversaw dramatic changes to adapt to changes in technology. Steve is the Director of York University’s in-house print shop, mailing department, and bookstore. He is proud to be the co-founder and co-owner of an ‘iconic’ downtown Toronto Bookstore, Pages Books, which closed in 2009 after 30 years.
Carrie Gleason is publisher at James Lorimer & Company. She was a children’s book editor at Crabtree Publishing, Scholastic Canada, and Maple Tree Press/OwlBooks, and editorial director at Dundurn Press. She is also the author of several books for children.
Richard Jones is a co-owner of Pajama Press Inc., a Canadian publishing company specializing in quality children’s books. Richard’s 51 years in the industry includes regional sales manager for Gage Publishing; President of GLC Publishing; and educational sales manager at National Book Service, Shirley Lewis Information Services, S & B Books, and Whitehots.
Holly Kent is Executive Director of the Ontario Book Publishers Organization and the Open Book Foundation. She took on the roles in 2015, having previously worked in marketing roles at the National Reading Campaign, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, and Scholastic Canada. Holly is also the Past-President of the Word on the Street Toronto board and has served on the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom to Read Week committee and Frontier College’s Giller Light Bash committee. Having recently moved from Toronto to Prince Edward County, Holly currently sits on the Prince Edward County Public Library’s Excellence Committee.
Lionel Koffler is president and owner of Firefly Books. He has seen and been involved with every aspect of Canadian book publishing for 47 years, from selling to editing to publishing, and learning the technical aspects of 4-colour printing in order to make better books. After working in a bookstore at 21, he became a commission rep at 22, visiting bookstores from Charlottetown to Victoria, and sold books to buyers from small independents to Louis Melzack.
Firefly publishes about 100 books per year. Almost all are 4-colour, and about 40 of those are originated in Canada, with Canadian authors, illustrators, and photographers. About 75 per cent of Firefly’s book sales are in the US and UK.
Heather Kuipers is the owner of Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore in Toronto, operating since 2006. Ella Minnow funtions as both a trade bookstore and a small school wholesaler. Ella Minnow also does many school bookfairs every year.
Kathryn Lane started as Dundurn’s managing editor in 2015 and is now Associate Publisher. Previously she worked freelance. She spent over a decade in London, U.K., working as editor and managing editor at Dorling Kindersley and Rough Guides.
Lotta Lindblom is VP Retail at University of Toronto Press. Prior to joining UTP she was Director of Operations at Tiffany & Co., a Store Team Leader at Target, and she spent nine years at IKEA in various roles, including the Store Manager of North York and Global Commercial Management Markethall in Sweden. Lotta has a BSc. Business Administration and Economics, Specialization in International Business Studies, from the University of Uppsala, Sweden; and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Cambridge Marketing College, UK.
James Lorimer is the co-owner and president of James Lorimer & Company Ltd in Toronto, and the owner/publisher of Formac Publishing in Halifax. He was one of the founders of the organization that became the Association of Canadian Publishers, the long-term treasurer of the
Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association in the 1990s, and a member of the founding board of Booknet Canada 2003–08. He was also director and treasurer of Ebound Canada.
Glenda MacDonald is a staff editor with Crossfield Publishing. She is a Marketing MBA with decades of experience working in the Toronto area across various industries primarily in marketing management and customer engagement roles. Her direct publishing experience includes eight years of copywriting and selling advertising space for regional magazines. With certificates in Social Media Management and Creative Writing she is also a published writer of flash fiction and memoir. In addition to her work for Crossfield Publishing she is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, editor, and social marketing consultant now specializing in author platforms and book marketing.
Jeff Miller is the president and publisher of Irwin Law Inc, which he helped found in 1995. Prior to starting Irwin Law, he was the higher education publisher at Copp Clark Ltd. He is the past president of the Ontario Book Publishers Organization and currently a governor and treasurer of the Canadian Copyright Institute.
Doug Minett entered the book industry in 1973 when he co-founded The Bookshelf in Guelph, Ontario. The Bookshelf eventually evolved into likely the only combined bookstore, restaurant, nightclub, & cinema in the world. His has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Booksellers Association, the Canadian Telebook Agency, and as a founding director of BookNet Canada. As a consultant he oversaw implementation of a common EDI standard for BookNet Canada that now automates more than 80 per cent of supply chain transactions in Canada.
Michael Monahan has been the CEO of the Library Services Centre (LSC) in Kitchener, Ontario, for 24 years. LSC is a library-owned co-op that supplies materials and services to public libraries across Canada. Prior to working at LSC, Mr. Monahan worked in the high-tech sector in a number of areas, including the design of Integrated Library Systems.
Brian O’Donnell brings a breadth of knowledge and experience gained from over 40 years in the publishing industry. He was Director of Business Development and International Relations at Access Copyright after more than 15 years as President and CEO of Irwin Publishing. His background was academic and educational publishing, and he has worked for several companies, including Addison-Wesley and Copp Clark Publishing. Brian also taught in the Publishing Program at Ryerson University and has written and developed online courses for Educational and Academic Publishing as well as The Business of Book Publishing.
Lisa Quinn (BA, MA, MLIS) is the Director of Wilfrid Laurier University Press, where she previously built a decade of experience in acquisitions editorial. She has published and presented on university press publishing, press-library relationships, and scholarly communication. She has lectured in the graduate LIS program in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario on media theory, publishing, and the organization of information. She is currently the Past President of the Association of Canadian University Presses, sits on the executive of the Ontario Book Publisher’s Organization and the advisory board of Ingram Academic, and was an inaugural member of the Library Relations Committee for the Association of University Presses.
James Saunders is the vice-president of direct sales and the publisher of Saunders Book Company and Beech Street Books
Jennifer Stirling is currently the Manager of Digital Services & Collections at the Mississauga Library where she has been applying her knowledge of technology and collections to build a strategic plan to increase awareness and access to resources of all formats. For 13 years she served in various roles promoting technology and collection use at the Ottawa Public Library. She is an active participant in the CULC eBook Taskforce and has worked international eBook advocacy groups to ensure alignment with Canadian efforts. She is an avid reader, learner and is passionate about finding new ways to expose library content in everyday contexts to maximize its use for customers.
Richard Stursberg has spent his entire career working in broadcasting, film, television and program production. He was Assistant Deputy Minister, Culture and Broadcasting, at the federal department of Communications, President of the Canadian Cable Television Association, CEO of Starchoice and Cancom (now Shaw Direct), Chairman of the Canadian Television Fund, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada, and head of English services at the CBC. His book, The Tower of Babble, was named one of the best books of 2012 by The Globe and Mail.
John Yates is the Chief Executive Officer of University of Toronto Press. He has spent most of his career in publishing, particularly legal publishing, where he was President of LexisNexis Canada. He also worked in trade and educational publishing.
Anna van Valkenburg is the Associate Publisher at Guernica Editions.