The closure of the Toronto Women’s Bookstore prompted me to do a bit of digging to see if there was a new reason to be scared for the industry, or if there is just more of the same terror as there was for the online habits that transformed the music industry.
Turning a page on books: Inside the evolving publishing industry
Financial Post, Dec. 10, 2012
The audience at Bryan Prince Bookseller, in the Westdale neighbourhood of Hamilton, Ont., has spilled into the next room. It’s a windy Thursday evening in November and although the residential area is mostly quietening down, the night is just getting started at the bookshop.
Several people crowd the doorway, peering in where one of the founders of McMaster University’s medical school, Dr. C. Barber Mueller, is presenting his new book, Excalibur. Just another full house celebrating books.
“You don’t hear of many good, positive stories about the print side [of publishing] and bookstores, but things are going well for us,” said Tracey Higgins, co-owner of the shop, where the walls are floor to ceiling with books.
If this weeknight reading is any indication, the popularity of books isn’t in doubt.
Instead, it’s the evolving ways books are promoted, sold and consumed that has those in the publishing industry scrambling to ensure growth and, for some, survival.
The opening of big-box retailers and an increasing use of online sites for reading and shopping in the past two decades has sent smaller businesses back to the drawing board.
Now, recent announcements of a game-changing merger between publishing giants Random House and Penguin, the filing for bankruptcy protection by B.C.’s Douglas & McIntyre and yet another closure of a beloved local shop (the 40-year-old Toronto Women’s Bookstore), have again raised fears of industry troubles.
This time, however, many smaller players are countering in a much more positive way.
“I can almost foresee a rebirth of Canadian publishing coming out of this,” said Cynthia Good, director of Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing program and former president of Penguin Books Canada.
Click here for the full story, photo and sidebox on online innovation in the industry…