A press release from January 7 announced that Raincoast Publishing will soon bite the dust. Apparently this branch of Raincoast Books has been brought down by a stronger Canadian dollar (and the soon-in-sight end of the Harry Potter bonanza), they have decided to kill their publishing program in order for their wholesale/distributing business to stay profitable.
This is very sad news for the struggling Canadian publishing industry and, naturally, for many writers. It is also sad for Canadians and anybody interested not only in Canadian literature but also those who are concerned about the growing globalization of the publishing industry which gives less and less room for none-commercial hits and for regional interests. Like in most businesses, the multinational giants are either swallowing the smaller fish or pushing them out of the publishing ocean to die.
I wonder how Raincoast Publishing would have evolved if they hadn’t grabbed the Harry Potter deal. This blockbuster series allowed them to unprecedented growth, and as it often happens, some expansion decisions might have not been the best, but just late last May, Raincoast was featured in the Arts | Books section of CBC as a glowing example of one of the lucky surviving Canadian publishers.
Maybe we need to keep in mind that, like local organic produce, locally published books by local writers are worth paying more for and that there is a price to pay for not spending our money there. This is might be key at this point for Canadian publishers to survive. Anybody has better ideas?
Raincoast gets back to basics. (2008, January 8). Message posted to http://blogs.raincoast.com/weblog/comments/raincoast-gets-back-to-basics/
Raincoast Books to ditch publishing arm. (2008, January 8). CBC.ca Arts. Retrieved January 23, 2008, from http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2008/01/08/raincoast-cut-publish.html
Buium, Gr. (2007, May 28). Life after Harry: What the final Harry Potter novel means for Vancouver’s Raincoast Books. CBC.ca Arts. Retrieved January 23, 2008, from http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/raincoast.html