Publishers' Weekly Publisher Cevin Bryerman in Montreal

When Publishers Weekly publisher and vice-president Cevin Bryerman spoke last week in Montreal’s Atwater Library and Computer Centre about the changes revolutionizing the publishing world, his message was by turns fatalistic, prescriptive, dismaying, and upbeat. “The digital age is definitely here,” he told an auditorium packed with book industry professionals, “and you have to embrace it.”

Booksellers will be dismayed to know that publishers are working with their own databases of buyers – and that e-book sales of adult fiction titles have risen to 10%, with a forecast of 20-30% two years from now. With Canadian sales of e-books trailing far behind U.S. figures, I asked him whether this is a U.S. phenomenon. “It will grow,” he says. “E-publishing has to be part of your business.”

There are now only 1600 independent booksellers in the U.S., and their number continues to dwindle. But then the big box stores are in decline, too, and that may be good news for the independents. “Indie booksellers have to be strategic and community-minded.”

Even the upbeat message, which is that “there are great opportunities out there,” requires some pretty fundamental adjustments, as Bryerman knows first-hand. The revolution has not left PW untouched. Hence the international interest and outreach, which includes the Canadian market, for which there is a correspondent based in Toronto. Hence the reviews of self-published work, a policy change dating back two years. Hence hirings of editors with a digital mindset. Hence the apps, the website, the digital content. “The world is changing, and we’re trying to change with it.”

The great opportunities include opportunities for Canadian publishers, who should be submitting more of their books for review. Review guidelines are strict (see the PW website), but books received four months prior to publication will be considered. Publishers should send a cover note for a title deserving special consideration. While coverage is admittedly “advertising driven,” he is “open to productive conversations: “I need to know what you need to know about the U.S. market.”

His April 26 visit to Montreal having already taught him that Montreal needs special treatment (“I understand that the Toronto correspondent is not able to cover Montreal”), Bryerman expressed interest in learning more about Montreal publishers, in attending Opening Night of the 13th Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival the following evening, and in taking on a Montreal stringer.

His talk was organized by Baraka Books and Quebec's English-language publishers’ association AELAQ.

Linda Leith

.ll.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

More articles

Mind the Gap, part II, by Kenneth Radu

Not long ago I saw the extraordinary Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express, a Josef von Sternberg movie with wonderful black and white cinematography, much of which occurs on a train. In the film Dietrich utters the magnificent line, “it took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.” Presumably not all on the train, but one is allowed to imagine so.

Marylebone Station, London

Do Other Canadian Publishers Work in Two Languages? by Linda Leith


The six titles LLP published in 2013.

In September 2014, LLP embarked on a process that has led, one year later, to the decision to publish books in French as well as English.

The first step was a grant application to the Canada Council, in which we made a committment to disseminate the results of the process. This three-part article was submitted in slightly different form to the agency in September 2015 as part of our final report to the Leadership for Change program. 

This is Part II of a three-part text, The Decision to Publish in French. Part I is here; Part III is here.

Whimsy in Granite: Hope Cemetery

THERE IS NO ROOM

FOR SECOND PLACE.

THERE'S ONLY ONE PLACE,

AND THAT'S FIRST PLACE.

-- Inscription on Davis soccer ball gravestone, Hope Cemetery, Barre VT.


8-Logos-bottom