BPPA Executive
2008-2009


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About the evolution of the book trade in Canada

The last ten years in the Canadian book trade can be characterized by a rapid and constant evolution in many areas: the increasing globalization of the market; technological changes; an increasing number of retailers; and, at times, a dynamic contraction in certain markets. After a decade of upheaval, it seems that we are now experiencing an equilibrium that has allowed us to "catch our breath" and start thinking about taking stock.

Authors and evolution

Two major players reign in the Canadian book trade: authors and publishers, two quite distinct realities that nevertheless maintain a complex relationship. Authors are generally independent professionals who consider writing a vocation or a calling, even if it is still often a precarious one (the Canada Council for the Arts has noted that half of all authors live below the poverty line). Publishers are companies seeking to make money by developing intellectual property through different forms of exploitation. For them, publishing is first and foremost about business; "content" remains their main asset. The author's role can be summarized as: creating content (and doing it better than anyone else); ensuring its commercial adaptation (or marketing); and, to some extent, mitigating the financial risk.

A few years ago, most Quebec authors were exploited by Quebec publishers under what was called "the standard contract for Quebec literature." This consisted of a typical tiered royalty system with an advance on royalties that had little bearing on reality. When it came time to collect, many authors were horrified to learn that they owed tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid royalties.[ii] The remainder of this article is restricted to subscribers. Full Access is required Go Here - Subscription may be required Link to Subscription Page

Is there more power now?

The first important change this past decade has been the emergence of new players on the cultural scene: certain actors are seeing their influence grow-primarily foreign retailers, readers and authors themselves.

Foreign retailers are now the most important influence on the bookselling market in Canada after Amazon came to town. When we look at data from Statistics Canada we can see that online sales of books and e-books increased by 82% between 2009 and 2013, while corresponding traditional bookstore sales grew by just 2%. We should note though that this strong growth has levelled off since 2012: many players seem to have come to terms with each other.

The reading public has also become an important stakeholder as publishers frequently use social networks such as Twitter or Facebook to try and generate word-of-mouth buzz around new releases. Authors themselves enjoy a certain level of power due to their expertise,

The book market in Canada has gone through many changes, some of which are directly linked to the Quebec sovereignty movement. The overall decline in sales can be attributed to several factors, including (a) the decrease in total population as a result of more women entering the workforce and as a result, having fewer children; (b) increased computing capabilities have made it easier for people to spend their free time surfing the Internet or playing games on computers rather than reading books; and lastly but perhaps most importantly, (c) there is a tendency among authors and publishers to shun highbrow literature by concentrating on publishing more compact volumes with a wide appeal at a lower price point.

On another note, there seems to have been an increase in independent bookstores, especially in Quebec. In this sense, there has been a return to the roots of bookselling when it was not viewed as just another cog in the wheels of industry that is dominated by huge corporations, but rather a place where people could gather together and socialize while they share their appreciation for literature.

No matter what your role in the book publishing industry, there is always something new to learn and improve upon. As such, The Book Publishers Professional Association aims at providing a meeting ground for professionals from various facets of this trade who are interested enough with its informative programs which include workshops on topics like digital marketing or social media management! This association is sponsored by such reputable companies as Canada's best online casinos - bonus codes is also known for the fact that it always has instant payouts, a large number of online games are constantly growing, and the technical and user support team is constantly in touch with players!

Recently many English-language writers have begun to translate their works into French in order to increase sales in Quebec. This came about as a result of concerted efforts on the part of several government agencies and organizations, including the Canada Council for the Arts and La Société de Développement des Entreprises Culturelles (SODEC), to support bilingual literary ventures across Canada. It would seem that their efforts have finally borne fruit.

It is difficult to predict the future of the book market in Canada. However, with so many factors at play it would appear that books are here to stay for now despite the current economic recession.


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