Source: The Globe and Mail, Letters to the Editor, December 17, 2018
Re: Canadians Reading Fewer Domestic Books, Report Shows (Dec. 13).
It’s ludicrous to blame website algorithms for falling Canadian book sales. If anything, the internet makes it easier to find, sample, and buy new (and used) Canadian books.
Fingers might better be pointed at a prize-obsessed industry that focuses precious marketing dollars on a handful of books, and declining book coverage by Canadian newspapers (including The Globe and Mail) and magazines.
One solution might be to clone Rupi Kaur and Esi Edugyan to ensure a constant supply of bestselling teenybopper poetry and globalized, two-dimensional novels.
Stephen Gauer, technical writer, Vancouver
Canadian independent booksellers are maintaining their presence, despite huge challenges.
Distribution issues and high property taxes are just a few of the issues we face that are addressed in this report. Grants and other subsidies to produce Canadian content are wasted if there is no way to showcase these books in a more meaningful manner. A unified digital platform for online orders linking to other Canadian authors would be such a benefit.
On the front lines, I can attest to the desire from book buyers to buy Canadian, and that implementing the recommendations in this comprehensive report would go a long way toward achieving positive change.
I agree there are opportunities for those willing to open bookshops across the country. For me, I see more opportunities than I have energy for at this stage of my career.
Black Bond Books has been in business for 55 years this fall; with seven locations, we experience the cultural importance that having a bookshop in your community brings. Funds to help bring authors and readers together would be welcome, as would relief from property taxes.
I hope more young people consider this fabulous and rewarding career and business. I can attest to it rarely being dull – and the wonderful book lovers one meets in small bookstores make every struggle worthwhile. Canadian books, publishing and independent booksellers are worth saving. I hope someone is listening.
Cathy Jesson, Black Bond Books, Book Warehouse, Surrey, B.C.