Chris Labonté, Peter Cocking and Richard Nadeau, three former senior managers with D&M Publishers, have founded a new publishing house: Figure 1 Publishing. Together, they bring more than forty years of publishing experience to the new venture, as well as a national network of top-quality writers, editors, designers, and photographers.
Figure 1 will offer organizations and individuals a full suite of high quality publishing services in both print and digital formats, and will distribute their books widely throughout the North American retail market.
Labonté says: “We learned our stock in trade at a publisher that was renowned for quality, and we intend to carry on that tradition in bold and creative ways.”
Figure 1 will focus on a handful of core publishing strands: art & architecture, food & wine, lifestyle, illustrated history and business books. They are working on projects with several clients already, including museums, art galleries, restaurants, and corporations.
“Our goal is to become the premier publisher of high quality illustrated books in the country,” Cocking said. “What we’re doing is different, I think, than anyone now publishing in this country. Think Chronicle Books, or Rizzoli—certainly those are influences.”
Figure 1 is securing U.S. and international distribution and will be distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books, who will also provide sales representation and marketing. Nadeau said that, “Raincoast is a fantastic distributor and we are delighted to be working with them. With their strong nationwide sales and marketing teams, we feel we’ve got the perfect partner.” Figure 1 will publish its first list of titles in Fall 2013.
The Canadian book industry was in uproar earlier this week.
A short online report by Susan Cole in Toronto alt weekly NOW Magazine revealed that the Globe and Mail's long-standing book editors Martin Levin and Jack Kirchhoff would be moving on, "leaving the national newspaper without a literary editor." The sadness that the two well-liked editors were departing, mixed with anger as the attention-grabbing headline 'Globe slashes book section' led many to believe that the newspaper was cutting its book section entirely—a claim furiously denied later by the Globe and Mail's Editor-in-chief John Stackhouse.
Describing the report as "hogwash," Stackhouse confirmed to the Quill and Quire (subscription req'd) that the Globe was actively looking for a new editor for the books section, but attempted to reassure readers saying, "we will continue to publish what I hope is an outstanding weekly books section but also hope to develop … the most engaging books coverage in the country."
The announcement of Martin and Jack's departure did not come as a complete shock. I had spoken to Martin a few weeks previously and he had told me, in his manner-of-fact way, that he and Jack were leaving. It was typical of Martin to tell me in person, and I'm sure many others in the industry had already heard directly from him before the news broke.
I first met Martin not long after I moved to Canada. He was, even then, an established and well-respected presence in Canadian books (he has been the books editor at the Globe for 17 years). He would regularly browse the shelves of the bookstore I worked in, stopping to chat and, if I remember correctly, buy the odd New York Times here and there.
Some years later, Martin was gracious enough to say he remembered who I was when I started to harass him in my new job as a publicist. I'm not sure how many of my books he reviewed back then. It wasn't many, that's for sure. But he was always kind about it and tolerated the pestering of a junior publicist far more than he had to (a fact I didn't appreciate until much later!).
I learnt that he had a way of finding common ground with you even if the books you were pitching didn't much interest him. With my predecessor at Raincoast it was horror movies. With me it was comics and, funnily enough, England—a country he visits more regularly than me these days I suspect. I came to look forward to our meetings, and not just because it always involved eating better than I had in days.
Jack has been working with Martin for goodness knows how long, but I didn't actually meet him in person until very, very recently. I consider myself one of the fortunate few. Not one for events, schmoozing or social media, Jack has always been... well, 'enigmatic'! There are a lot of people who have worked in publishing longer than me who still don't know what he looks like.
But if Jack wasn't at the parties, he made up for it other ways. Always quick to respond to an enquiry, and always willing to give things a second look, he helped me to get my job done more often than I can count. He never understood why I thanked him for reviews ("it's what we do"), and I will miss him more than I can say without losing all professional dignity.
Despite John Stackhouse's reassurances, the future of the Globe and Mail's book section suddenly feels much less certain than it did with Martin and Jack at the helm. Book reviews have never attracted much advertising—only the big publishers and booksellers have ever been able to afford it—and, as consequence, newspapers across North America have been greatly reducing their coverage in recent years.
But, if the death of print reviews seems inevitable at times (and it does seem strangely ironic that Martin has moved from books to obituaries), I remain cautiously optimistic. Morley Walker is a stalwart supporter of book reviews at the Winnipeg Free Press, and I'm encouraged by the recent appointment of Laurie Grassi as book editor at Chatelaine. I am also in awe of what the indefatigable Mark Medley has been able to achieve almost single-handedly at the National Post. I don't know when he sleeps, but his enthusiasm and curiousity are inspiring to behold.
And if change is scary, it brings opportunities with it as well. My hope is, of course, that the Globe and Mail is serious about its commitment to books, and whoever is appointed books editor will bring the kind of knowledge that Martin and Jack have always brought to the job. But I also hope that the new editor is encouraged to experiment and given the chance to succeed. If it is to remain relevant, the section cannot be an afterthought. Nor can it focus on 'scoops and celebrities.' It must engage with readers and become actively involved in the wider conversation about books and culture. That's defined less by the number of pages devoted to reviews, and more by kind of newspaper the Globe wants to be—and that, in the end, might be the greater challenge. I'm not saying it will be easy, but then when was it ever?
As you know, beginning 1 December 2012 Farrar, Straus and Giroux will be distributed in Canada by Raincoast Book Distribution. Until December 1st, if you cannot obtain stock (backlist or current frontlist) through our current distributor, we would encourage you to order through the wholesaler of your choice. Current frontlist includes the following 'NYP' titles:
Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia
ISBN 9780374533564 | 13 Nov 2012
The Hare with Amber Eyes (Illustrated Edition)
Edmund de Waal
ISBN 9780374168285 | Nov 13 2012
Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices
ISBN 9780374298975 | Nov 13 2012
ISBN 9780374126087 | Nov 13 2012
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
ISBN 9780374285814 | Nov 13 2012
Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion
Jean H. Baker
ISBN 9780809067572 | Nov 13 2012
Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens
ISBN 9780374298807 | Nov 27 2012
The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting
ISBN 9780865478930 | Nov 27 2012
ISBN 9780374533489 | 11 Dec 2012
Execution: Escape From Furnace 5
Alexander Gordon Smith
ISBN 9780374362249 | 13 Nov 2012
Leave Your Sleep
Natalie Merchant; illustrated by Barbara McClintock
ISBN 9780374343682 | 13 Nov 2012
Sweet Baby Feet
Margaret O'Hair; illustrated by Tracy Dockray
ISBN 9780374373481 | 13 Nov 2012
We thank you for your patience during this period of transition and wish you all a successful holiday season.
Do you write short fiction? You do? Well, have I got news for you...
The Telegraph-Journal, New Brunswick’s daily newspaper has just launched The Salon Fiction Prize for works of short fiction (in English) between 1,500-3,000 words.
The winning story will be published in the Telegraph-Journal’s art and culture section, Salon, and the author will receive a prize of $1,000. The winning piece will be selected by a trio of judges from Atlantic Canadian universities: Thomas Hodd (University of Moncton); Alexander MacLeod (Saint Mary’s University); and Sue Goyette (Dalhousie University).
The contest is open to all residents of Canada. All entries must be unpublished material and not under consideration in any other contest of competition. Entries will not be returned, so make sure you keep a copy!
210 Crown Street,
N.B. E2L 3V8.
Entries must include a contact email and telephone number where the author may be contacted.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux has announced, effective January 2013, the FSG list and Graywolf titles will be sold to independent and college bookstores, Costco.ca, library wholesalers, and special markets accounts by Raincoast Book Distribution in Canada. All other Canadian trade accounts, including Indigo and Amazon.ca, will be handled directly by Macmillan.
Raincoast is currently the Canadian distributor for all other Macmillan publishers, including St. Martin's Press, Henry Holt, and Tor Books, as well as select distributees. Raincoast will also be responsible for marketing and publicity for FSG titles in Canada, consistent with their current arrangement with Macmillan.
Since 1997 FSG has been distributed in Canada by Douglas & McIntyre. Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of FSG, explained that after a long and mutually beneficial relationship with D&M, the time had come to consolidate in Canada with the other Macmillan companies. "We have enormous respect and affection for D&M and its chairman, Scott McIntyre, who have been wonderful partners over the course of our long association," Galassi stated. Scott McIntyre of D&M added, "FSG is one of the most distinguished publishing houses of its time, and it has been a great honor to have been associated with their books, their authors, and their people over so many years."
D&M will continue to sell and distribute the fall 2012 list for FSG. Macmillan and Raincoast will begin selling the FSG winter 2013 list in August 2012, and orders for these titles should be placed with Macmillan and Raincoast, respectively.
D&M will accept FSG returns through March 31, 2013.
Last week was the Raincoast Fall 2012 sales conference. This is when all our publishers come to Vancouver to talk to the sales team about their brand new fall titles. For us publicists, it's a chance to hear about the hot upcoming books and see what will be in store for us this fall! There were so many fabulous books that it made my head spin, but I thought I would share a small selection of my favourites...
I was blown at conference by this new series of classics from Thunder Bay Press. The picture does not convey how beautiful this series is: they're gorgeous books with a soft, velvety leather cover, a celebration of the tactility of the page.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Canterbury Classics singles series
I like to think of myself as a scholarly being, a reader of highfalutin' literary fiction, an intellectual. But then someone throws a book about cat pee in front of me and I think it's hilarious. So much for the highbrow.
I Could Pee On This: And Other Poems By Cats
If you think doing your Christmas shopping on time is a challenge, try getting a book to press in time for the holidays. Publishing is an industry that has to roll way ahead of the game. But this picture book from Sourcebooks is so lovely and sweet it could be enjoyed any day of the year.
A Flower in the Snow
Tracey Corderoy and Sophie Allsopp
Whoever thought rocks would be interesting? This is a quirky one, but I'm intrigued by the promised chapter on inukshuks...
Cairns: Messengers in Stone
Sometimes it's the cover that pulls you in. I love these little quill duelists.
The Language Wars: A History of Proper English
And from Drawn & Quarterly, a very cool collection by New Yorker cartoonist Adrian Tomine.
New York Drawings
What upcoming book are you most excited to see this year?
Results are in this year's National Book Count and the results are very good. Books sold and circulated in Canadian stores and libraries are up and for the first time e-book sales are counted too. All the results are here.
- The library community in Canada is truly amazing, especially the Canadian Urban Libraries Council. Jefferson Gilbert at the council worked with 28 public library systems across Canada to individually tabulate their weekly circulation. Jefferson is polite friendly and efficient, just the same tone you find at your local library.
- The independent book store community is alive and well. Over 260 independent bookstores helped out in the book count this year and they sold a lot of books. I was at the BC Winter Book Fair in Victoria last weekend where the keynote speaker Oren Teicher from the American Booksellers Association spoke about the renaissance in independent bookstores. His comments came on the heels of reports showing a 15% increase in indie sales over Christmas. Bodes well for a healthy book ecosystem.
- The large chains were extremely helpful, especially Indigo. They do so much every day to ignite a passion for reading and hot books this is not too surprising. And BookManager, BookNet and la Société de gestion de la Banque de titres de langue française (BTLF) the aggregator folks who work behind the scenes. They provide weekly reporting on book sales and they found time in their hectic schedules to follow up on queries and double check numbers. They are like the accounting firm who count the Oscar votes... without them we have no Oscar show.
Raincoast Books will also accept returns of Owlkids product until March 31, 2012.
Canadian sales will be handled by ampersand inc., formerly known as Kate
Walker & Company.
Owlkids Books and Maple Tree Press ISBN prefixes are:
New distribution contact information:
University of Toronto Press
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, ON, M3H 5T8
(PH) 1-800-565-9523 (North America) / (416) 667-7791
(FAX) 1-800-221-9985 (North America) / (416) 667-7832
Kate Walker and Saffron Beckwith have announced that Kate Walker & Company will change its name to Ampersand Canada’s Book and Gift Agency inc., effective immediately. The company will continue to focus on growing existing markets and cultivating new opportunities.
“Kate Walker & Company Ltd. has a longstanding history in the book publishing industry, handling both international and Canadian publishers.” said Saffron Beckwith, Vice-President and partner. “The choice of ‘Ampersand Inc.’ reflects our company’s vision as we continue to connect, curate and champion our exemplary list of publishers and gift clients to a growing network of retailers, wholesalers and libraries across the country.”
"Ampersand Inc. is the next and logical evolution of a company that has been part of the book industry for over 50 years.” said Kate Walker. “As a part of the company since 1978, I have seen the tremendous growth and change within the publishing industry, as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."
Ampersand Inc. (formerly Kate Walker & Company, Stanton & MacDougall, Douglas & McIntyre; and earliest as J.J. Douglas Agencies) has a legacy in Canada and through its national sales team, deep relationships with retailers, wholesalers and libraries across the country. In the last ten years, company people have won the Canadian Bookseller’s Libris Award for Rep of the Year more times than any other publisher or sales group in Canada.
Saffron Beckwith is charged with the possibilities that lie ahead, recognizing a growing demand by Canadian retailers for more options in the competitive market. “We will continue to service our longstanding customers, while representing companies in our gift division to give Canadian retailers, and ultimately Canadian customers, more choice,” says Beckwith.
There was lots of excitement in the office last Friday over some big news from Lonely Planet: in celebration of World Tourism Day, Lonely Planet is announcing a new partnership with the United Nations to provide information for first responders in humanitarian emergencies. Staff from UN agencies deployed in the event of a disaster will be able to use Lonely Planet’s information to help them familiarize themselves with the country before traveling.
"Lonely Planet's expert content makes it easier for humanitarian workers to hit the ground running in unfamiliar environments," said Gwi-Yeop Son, Director of Corporate Programmes at OCHA. "We value Lonely Planet's commitment to provide accurate and up-to-the-minute information for our teams on the ground."
“Lonely Planet’s mission is to provide trustworthy and informative content about a destination,” said John Boris, Executive Vice President of Lonely Planet Americas. “Our unique, in-depth information will empower the teams of humanitarian workers to learn quickly about the areas they are working in and the people they will be assisting.”
This is wonderful news, and a huge vote of confidence in the quality of Lonely Planet's information. Congrats to Lonely Planet!
You can read more about the partnership here.