Industry News: “Greystone Books rises out of the ashes of Douglas and McIntyre”

by Kim
Nearly two weeks ago, a glimmer of hope arose from the doom-and-gloom despair surrounding 2012 in Canadian publishing – and the news couldn’t come soon enough! A press release announced that Victoria-based Heritage House Publishing had purchased all assets of Greystone Books, an imprint of Douglas & McIntyre Publishers who filed for bankruptcy in October 2012. The BC Supreme Court approved the sale shortly thereafter.
The demise of D&M seemed to signify the death of independent publishing in Canada collectively attributed to the rise of Amazon and ebooks, the dwindling selection of independent retailers, the “lifestyle” redirection of Chapters/Indigo, and competition from multinational powerhouses for authors and market space. The rise of Greystone Books was affirmation that this is not, in fact, the case.
The good news continued when it was announced last Wednesday that Vancouver-based publisher Harbour Books had purchased the assets of D&M, obtaining a list of approximately four hundred active titles. Howard White, co-founder and co-owner of Harbour Books explained that the lists will remain editorially independent, combining marketing, distribution and production with hopes of gaining stronger foothold in the Ontario market and across Canada.
These sales seems to suggest that banding together as the purveyors of Canadian culture – perhaps through opening a store and cultural space to sell books by independent presses on consignment, collaborative sales and promotions, and, sometimes, the rescue of a seemingly surrendered legacy – is the direction that we should move in.
Paired with digital sales that allow for broader distribution directly from publisher websites and the power of social media for promotion and increased visibility among readers, I think that independent presses have a fighting chance.

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