Support Canadian Publishers and Creators
May 19, 2021
The TDSRC team is proud to work closely with the Association of Canadian Publishers. Our guest blogger this week is their Executive Director, Kate Edward, with an important message for libraries.
By nature, book publishing is a collaborative process. It takes a team of creative professionals to transform a writer’s manuscript into a finished book, whether in print, digital, or audio formats, and an even bigger network to bring that book to readers. After launch, the ecosystem that supports the sale, lending, and reading of books kicks in. Public libraries take on the extra and essential roles of reading promotion and literacy development, which build audiences not only for individual titles, but also for books yet to be published. As Canadian publishers look ahead to pandemic recovery, programs like the TD Summer Reading Club become even more important in supporting the discovery of Canadian books and authors, which in turn allows for continued investment in new Canadian books and the development of lifelong readers.
The ecosystem that propels audience development for new books helps spur future creation. Books purchased from the TD Summer Reading Club’s recommended title list this year will result in increased royalty payments to their creators, and will improve publishers’ ability to invest in new titles for future publication. Those books, which for the moment might only be the kernel of an idea, could find their way onto the Club’s list in summers to come. Library purchases help make publishers’ businesses more sustainable, enabling them to invest not only in the content, but in the myriad formats that meet reader needs and preferences.
With its focus on Canadian books and authors, the TD Summer Reading Club offers a particular boost to titles produced by local book publishers who work in communities across the country. Consumer readership surveys continue to demonstrate that demand for local and Canadian content is high, particularly for books by authors and illustrators whose backgrounds represent a diversity of lived experiences. The TD Summer Reading Club’s national profile and professional curation mean that young Canadian readers are introduced to books that are rooted here, and are relevant to their own experience and environment. Though Canadian books compete with the entire world of content, including other media, through this program libraries help focus attention on books that will resonate with Canadian kids and make it more likely that reading will be part of their summer break.
The last year has been a challenging one for small- and medium-sized Canadian publishers. Though book sales rebounded through 2020 and demand for library materials—particularly digital content—skyrocketed, the long-standing challenges of the Canadian marketplace have grown more acute. Without the opportunity to browse in stores or visit library branches, and with promotional activity shifting to the noisy and crowded online sphere, the opportunity to discover unknown books and new authors is diminished. A blockbuster reading culture is becoming more entrenched. At the same time, the importance of local stories, networks, and supply chains has never been more apparent.
Canadian children’s publishers offer a wealth of content for readers to discover. Our thanks to all library staff who are prioritizing the purchase of Canadian books for their collections, and doing the important work of creating lifelong readers.