By Chelsea Theriault
ABSTRACT: This report will discuss the genesis of BNC SalesData and the role of BookNet Canada in bringing about data sharing within the Canadian book publishing industry. Although there are clear benefits to an aggregated sales database, a neutral third party like BNC with a policy to “do no harm” is needed to facilitate collaborative commerce for the greater good of the industry as a whole. To assess the impact of data sharing through BNC SalesData, this report will outline the history of the service, describe how it currently functions, show BNC’s process and tactics in transforming data from private to shared, and discuss the limits of this system in an increasingly digital supply chain.
This project report would not have been possible if not for the unwavering support of many people, including:
John Maxwell, Rowland Lorimer, and Jo-Anne Ray; thank you for your guidance and mentorship,
the whole team of supply chain crusaders at BookNet Canada, especially Noah Genner and Carol Gordon; thank you for letting me learn from you for a little while,
and Mum, Dad, and Lil’ Sis; thank you for smiling and nodding while I talk about data.
List of Images
1. The Genesis of the Supply Chain Intiative and BookNet Canada
1.1.1 The pre-Initiative supply chain
1.1.2 The Chapters/Indigo merger and General Distribution collapse
1.1.3 The creation of the Supply Chain Initiative and BookNet Canada
1.1.4 Introducing BookNet Canada
2. BNC SalesData: An Overview
1.2.1 The early days of SDA, and industry feedback
1.2.2 The basics of SDA
1.2.3 Practical uses of SDA in the book trade
1. BookNet’s Pledge to “Do No Harm”
2.1.1 Tools for collaborative commerce
2. Adding Value by Putting the Data to Work
2.2.1 Tracking industry trends with BNC data
1. Holes in the Data Set
2. The Digital Divide
3. Summary and Analysis
A. “Gardening” from The Canadian Book Market 2009
List of Images
Image 1.1 Sales Summary
Image 1.2 Industry Snapshot
Image 1.3 Title-ISBN Report table
Image 1.4 Market Share Report options
AASP: Average actual selling price
ACP: Association of Canadian Publishers
BISG: Book Industry Study Group
BNC: BookNet Canada
CBA: Canadian Booksellers Association
CBM: The Canadian Book Market
CPC: Canadian Publishers Council
CTA: Canadian Telebook Agency
DCH: Department of Canadian Heritage
EDI: Electronic Data Interchange
FIRA: Foreign Investment Review Agency
GDS: General Distribution Services
ISBN: International Standard Book Number
ONIX: Online Information eXchange
SCI: Supply Chain Initiative
SDA: BNC SalesData
To some, it may come as a surprise that BookNet Canada (BNC) is comprised of less than twelve people. This is because the not-for-profit supply chain agency is responsible for so much in the Canadian publishing infrastructure: an extremely robust electronic data interchange (EDI) system, bibliographic data certification and aggregation, an upcoming e-catalogue system, and SalesData (SDA), the national point-of-sale data tracking service. BNC and its host of projects were born out of a combined industry and government initiative in 2001 that realized the Canadian book industry supply chain needed a neutral, dedicated third-party to seek and implement technological solutions for industry issues. Led by a board of directors representing a variety of industry stakeholders, from “independent, educational and chain retailers, [to] industry associations, wholesalers and distributors,” BNC has a unique position in the publishing industry as a government funded, industry led non-profit whose projects aim to foster the efficiency and health of the book trade as a whole.
In the seven years since BNC was formed, the organization’s signature achievement has been SalesData. Upon SDA’s launch in December 2005, the Canadian publishing industry was the last in the Western, English-language world to implement a national sales and inventory tracking system. This meant that decades after the US and UK markets were able to see where, when, and how many of their books sold, Canadian publishers were still taking chances on print runs and reprint schedules, leaving booksellers to deal with the “feast or famine” of over-buying (only to return the books en masse) and stockouts (when publisher inventory does not match market demand, resulting in few stores receiving their orders when they needed them). The time spent without accurate sales data may have exacerbated these and other supply chain issues that plagued what already is a tough industry to make profits in. While practices such as mass returns still occur and cause disruption today, the data landscape SDA provides makes it much easier to identify, track, and avoid supply chain issues. SDA is a wealth of information; its database builds bestseller lists for the country’s top publications, provides a foundation for research studies on various sales trends, and allows subscribers to follow their market position week-over-week.
Despite the clear benefits of this aggregated data pool, which allows the Canadian book industry to conveniently access comprehensive and reliable data about its own size and market position, Canadian publishers and retailers are still wary about sharing their sales data in such a small and competitive business environment, and of having one government-funded entity in control of such a significant data set. BNC acknowledges and addresses such trepidation by keeping neutrality at the forefront of all of its decisions and actions. The SDA Media Policy on the BNC website highlights this by stating that the priority for the data is to “do no harm,” a necessary standpoint for encouraging potential data contributors to share their data for the greater good of the industry as a whole. Data—and what it can reveal—is sensitive and BNC has faced a long and hard road in the process of creating a more open data system for the book publishing industry; today, SDA does not track about twenty-five percent of Canadian trade book sales because many retailers have held back from contributing data. For these retailers, the question of whether to share data or not is decided by balancing the perceived value of what they expect to get out of the system (such as market research) with the perceived risk associated with giving away their proprietary sales information.
This report will discuss the role of BNC and SDA in enabling data sharing within the Canadian book publishing industry by consulting industry stakeholders and the professionals involved in the system’s creation. My interest in this topic began during the four months I interned at BNC, where I gained an intimate knowledge of SDA through sales analysis projects (such as compiling research studies and creating bestseller lists) and by user-testing the system. It became clear that SDA has had a significant impact in a short amount of time, but that the system is still growing. The three objectives of the report are to chronicle BNC’s past and present role in facilitating a platform for data sharing, to define how BNC and SDA “do no harm” and have led to a more efficient supply chain, and to outline the potential implications of a leveling or drop in data sharing as the industry increasingly digitizes. Overall, five years of SalesData have served both the greater good (through accurate understandings of the book market as a whole) and “bottom lines” of industry stakeholders, yet retailer reluctance towards sharing data is still common; BNC counteracts this stance with value-adds and a policy to “do no harm.”
1. The Genesis of the Supply Chain Initiative and BookNet Canada
The supply chain agency BookNet Canada is a direct result of the Canadian government’s support for the cultural industries that began in the second half of the twentieth century. As a colonial nation, Canada’s domestic publishing industry started as an offshoot of the British industry, eventually competing for the Canadian market against much larger and more culturally established American firms. When the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (also known as the Massey-Lévesque commission) was appointed in 1949 to assess the state of Canadian culture, its findings—released in 1951—revealed the book industry’s meager state: an “almost universal dependence on the American product […meant that] in 1948 English-language publishers had issued a mere fourteen books of fiction and thirty-five works of poetry or drama.”
While the Massey-Lévesque report underscored the importance of Canadian literature and led to the creation of the Canada Council for the Arts, publishing operations would not have a comprehensive financial support system in place until after the Ontario Royal Commission on Book Publishing, established in 1970. Although the Commission was a provincial initiative only, it inspired the Secretary of State Gérard Pelletier to announce the first federal measures for book publishing in March 1972. The government “would substantially increase the Canada Council’s modest support for publishing, making $1.2 million available for block grants, translation grants, and book purchases. […] Pelletier said his new measures were only the first steps to address ‘a situation the urgency and gravity of which are now apparent to the government’.” While these so-called “welfare grants”—a term that refers to the fact that many recipients would not be able to survive without them—gave publishers a level of financial security, real solutions to foster a healthy Canadian publishing industry came in 1974 from the major structural measures (defined by Roy MacSkimming as “purchasing policies and regulations that would create a bigger presence for Canadian books in the distribution system” ) of foreign importation and ownership restrictions. New policies tasked the Federal Investment and Review Agency (FIRA) with regulating foreign investments in the book industry and restricting them unless they provided a “net benefit” to Canada. These measures succeeded in halting an encroaching Americanization (in content as well as ownership) of Canadian publishing, allowing domestic publishers to truly flourish. Finally, 1979 saw the creation of the Canadian Book Publishing Development Program (later known as the Book Publishing Industry Development Program [BPIDP], now called the Canada Book Fund [CBF]), which is the foundation for most of today’s federal industrial support and the wellspring from which the Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) and BookNet Canada came to be.
1.1.1 The pre-Initiative supply chain
BookNet Canada was formed as a response to two key issues: the need to implement technologically focused, universally adopted supply chain standards and solutions (including a centralized sales reporting database), and a home grown industry debacle in 2000 involving the near collapse of Chapters, Canada’s major book retailer. To begin with the first issue, at the turn of the twenty-first century Canada’s trade book industry tracked sales and measured its growth the same way it had for decades: by periodically combining information from disparate firms and stores, reading occasional government studies, and gathering educated guesses from industry professionals. The closest thing to a national database was the Canadian Telebook Agency’s (CTA) bibliographic data microfiche of titles in print and their sourcing information. The CTA’s data collection and distribution practices laid the foundation for BNC, but at the time aggregated sales data was still unavailable. As Peter Waldock, an industry leader in many capacities (from presiding over Penguin Books Canada to the Canadian Association of Book Wholesalers and the BNC Board of Directors), recalls:
It’s funny to think now how little info we had before BookNet. None of us really knew what was selling out there, except anecdotally. You had reps calling every week with a list of titles to ask how many we’d sold in the last week. That was the “market research,” so not very sophisticated or accurate. A lot of companies just used the “Oh, well it’s selling well out there!” model. Okay, but how do you define “well”? We had no idea what stock levels were, what returns levels were likely to be, or what reprints would be needed until it had reached a panicked state and reprints of books for Christmas were delivered in January, which was no use to anybody. It was very unprofessional, with a lot of “by guess and by golly.”
In the early 2000s, the only publishing industry in the Western, English-language world without a national sales data system was Canada’s. While this may lead some to dismiss Canada as “late to the game,” Doug Minett (the Supply Chain EDI Chair at BISG, original CTA and BNC board member, and owner of The Bookshelf in Guelph) stresses that since the CTA had been trying to implement technological standards in publishing since the early 1980s, this assumption is misguided. Still, the idea that BNC was revolutionizing the supply chain was useful for the SCI’s purposes:
CTA became BookNet Canada. In order to sell it politically, that’s what they had to do: give it a new name, wind the old one down, and wind up the new one. CTA was involved in all of the stuff that BNC got to be involved in, except there was no will to make it happen.
The “will” harnessed by BookNet Canada in its effort to improve the Canadian book industry supply chain was apparent in the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s recommendations to the industry in 2000. The Committee met in December 1999 to “monitor the link between the Government of Canada’s support to the book industry and the provision of increased choice of Canadian-authored materials to Canadian readers,” and to discuss other issues related to Canadian Heritage legislation. The Committee sought information from a variety of sources, including book industry representatives, in order to gather background knowledge and develop an understanding of the issues affecting Canadian publishing. The Committee’s recommendations were presented in the report The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry in which it “identified a number of crucial areas for policy development and action for various actors across Canada’s book publishing chain.” Many of the recommendations were based on a need for technological standards and reliable data. For example, Recommendation 6.1 states:
The Committee recommends that the Department of Canadian Heritage establish a five-year technological transition program to strengthen all segments of the Canadian book industry. This must include authors, publishers, distributors, wholesalers, marketers, retailers, and libraries. At least some of the elements of the program need to include the industry as a whole, regardless of ownership, size or language. For example, developing a workable system for the electronic exchange of information (EDI) will require agreement on a common standard that can be supported by publishers regardless of ownership and bookstores regardless of size.
The importance of providing a unified sales reporting service is communicated in Recommendation 6.3:
The Committee recommends that the Department of Heritage offer to co-fund with the industry a study for the French and English language book markets that examines the mechanics of setting up an efficient, timely collection of sales information for the book selling industry, including sales through non-traditional book retailers (e.g., discount stores) and the Internet.
1.1.2 The Chapters/Indigo merger and General Distribution collapse
In a manner that some would say is characteristic of government initiatives, the need for supply chain intervention and change was clearly identified, but action was not taken until the industry’s shared risk became apparent enough that proactive steps were the only possible option left with which to avoid systemic breakdown. This realization occurred after increased consolidation in the retail sphere resulted in the formation of Chapters Inc., a chain that included both Coles and Smithbooks. Chapters became known for aggressive business practices that put its own interests first and last in its dealings with competitors and suppliers. For example, the chain sent publishers an abnormally high percentage of book returns, which threatened the cash flow of many firms. Yet due to its immense market share, Chapters had the power to dictate its own discount and return terms with publishers who worried that if they did not agree, their titles may be removed from all of Chapters’ stores. Not content with being solely a bookseller, in 1999 Chapters opened a wholesaling division called Pegasus. Roy MacSkimming recalls, “With the advent of Pegasus, publishers’ worst suspicions [about Chapters’ business practices] were confirmed. Pegasus demanded from them a wholesaler discount of fifty-percent plus, in place of the forty-five to forty-eight percent they had been giving Chapters.” Pegasus then continued to create a very high number of returns (fifty to sixty percent compared to the industry average of twenty to thirty percent ) to generate credit in lieu of paying its bills.
One company was particularly vulnerable to Chapters’ financial practices: General Distribution Services (GDS), the distribution arm of General Publishing. GDS counted nearly 200 publishers among its clients, including many of Canada’s English-language literary presses. As MacSkimming recalls, GDS “relied on the chain for 70 percent of its sales of new releases. When Chapters started playing dangerous games with credit notes and returns, GDS was directly in the line of fire.” Since GDS was already struggling financially after its American lender, the Finova Group, declared bankruptcy in the fall of 2001 , this was an extremely bad time for GDS’s largest client to interrupt its tenuous cash flow. Between delayed payments and extraordinary returns levels, GDS started running out of cash and was unable to pay its own publishers, eventually filing for bankruptcy in April, 2002.
To make matters worse, a huge amount of publisher inventory was left in limbo in the GDS warehouses and “an Ontario judge brought down a ruling that crushed the client publishers. They’d argued that their accounts receivable were their property […] but the court’s interpretation of their distribution agreements was that GDS owned the receivables.” Not only did many small publishers lose substantial inventory assets, but they also lost the supply chain infrastructure that GDS had provided for them. While Chapters cannot be blamed for doing what was necessary to keep itself afloat, since its own closure would spell disaster for many others, its “growth at any cost” business strategy was certainly one of the causes for the events outlined above. It was an important turning point for the both the industry and government’s conception of the publishing supply chain as symbiotic in nature; as expressed by Doug Minett, “There was a strong realization that something had to give or the industry was in real trouble,” since the shared risk of retailers, distributors, and publishers meant that the troubles of one company could affect all points in the chain.
One final factor opened the door for BNC to enter and re-work the supply chain: the creation of a national chain that put technological standards as a priority. “Indigo appeared with just three or four stores, and Heather Reisman clearly wanted to be the player in Canada,” recalls Doug Minett, “which she did by purchasing Chapters. The big difference between the early days—where three chains [Coles, Classics, and Smithbooks] and Chapters were technologically incompetent—and the Reisman era was that she realized that she had to have a healthy supply chain or it wasn’t going to work.”20 The positive, galvanizing effects of consolidation need to be acknowledged here, as expressed by BNC President and CEO Noah Genner:
Consolidation into one dominant player made people look a lot more at standards and technology development. Indigo is a fairly forward-thinking company, and when it merged with Chapters it started to look for cost savings by doing things in standard ways. The other side of that coin is that the independents had to standardize in order to keep up. So if changes were going to be pushed for Indigo, they would have to be viable for the whole market.
1.1.3 The creation of the Supply Chain Initiative and BookNet Canada
Based on the recommendations of the Standing Committee, it was clear that there needed to be a BPIDP component dedicated to supply chain technology and efficiency. In the summer of 2001, a Steering Committee of industry representatives was formed to “act as the initiative’s champion […and] secure total industry participation in practices to improve the supply chain for books.” In June 2002, the Steering Committee presented to the industry its plans for the Supply Chain Initiative with DCH funding. The mandate of the SCI was “to identify inefficiencies in the Canadian book publishing supply chain (the movement of books from one point in the chain to another; from the author to the publisher to the warehouse to the library and bookseller and often times, back), to recommend strategies for improvement, and to implement change in the industry.” This would be no small feat, so the SCI would need dedicated representatives to work full-time to bring its mandate from conception to reality. Therefore, the Steering Committee recommended the creation of a not-for-profit agency:
[The agency] should not be an aggregator [of data], but a facilitator for the transmission of accurate and timely bibliographic data to a preferred aggregator. The new agency would also serve as the industry facilitator for the exchange of electronic documents between trading partners. And lastly, the agency would encourage sales tracking.
The first steps in the creation of BookNet Canada (a process documented extensively in Section 12 of Heather MacLean’s project report) began as such: it was agreed that the CTA would be converted into—and its projects taken up by—the new agency, and a Board of Directors was formed with representatives from the Canadian Booksellers Association (CBA), Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP), Canadian Publishers Council (CPC), and the Association of Canadian Book Wholesalers. Peter Waldock was the Canadian Book Wholesalers representative. When asked how people responded to the new agency in those early days, he states:
The decision to build BookNet Canada and to run it like a business was unlike that of a lot of other initiatives in our industry, where we worked with dedicated amateurs and results were commensurate with the inability to spend money on professionals to work on the projects. I was previously involved with CTA, but we had very little money. With BNC we determined that we wanted to go full-bore and spend a lot of bucks of professionals like Michael Tamblyn, and the rest is history. We had a terrific team of people, and that’s what drove it forward and got us widespread industry support because those kids knew what they were doing and did good work. Instead of some dumb committee from one of the associations that gathers once every three months, this was a full-time occupation for a whole bunch of people.
As mentioned by Waldock, Michael Tamblyn (a former bookseller and technological proponent involved in Canada’s first forays in online bookselling at Bookshelf.ca and Indigo.ca) was hired as BNC’s founding CEO. The agency launched in December 2002 and quickly got to work fulfilling its goals to ensure the industry had access to a cost effective and efficient electronic communications platform, improve the quality and accessibility of commercial databases, provide point-of-sale aggregation services, and explore a scheme for group buying of supply chain enhancing products and services.
1.1.4 Introducing BookNet Canada
BNC was the product of a rather unprecedented approach to industry solutions. The distinction of being “unique” would come characterize the agency, from its role in the industry to its business model and level of success in bringing about positive change. BNC is an industry-led, “not-for-profit agency dedicated to innovation in the Canadian book supply chain;” it represents the industry as a whole, and is overseen by a Board of Directors who speak for the industry and bring its needs to the table. When asked about BNC’s relationship to the publishing community, Noah Genner stresses the central role of the Board: “The Board is a cross section of the industry, or at least of everyone in our constituency. We rarely do things without going to talk to them first; they are our bellwether.”
Government funding through DCH is essential for BNC’s operations and their mandate to “level the playing field and make sure everyone has access to the same knowledge base and tools.” As Waldock states, “You wouldn’t have BookNet without the government [funding]; the market isn’t big enough. They could do it in the UK and US without government support, but here it was absolutely vital.” BNC charges publishers and distributors SDA subscription fees in order to maintain and upgrade the system; if BNC did not also receive financial support from the government, subscription prices would have to be much higher and SDA would be financially out of reach for many of the smaller firms. In essence, government support allows BNC to invest in the health of the market as a whole, rather than making it necessary to focus on the players who will lead to large billings. In Genner’s words:
That funding allows us to be the ‘Switzerland’; it levels the playing field for us. If it didn’t, it would be hard to devote the attention we do to the smaller people (in volume, not cultural importance) because we would have to be generating money from somewhere, as in from the big players. DCH funding offsets that potential imbalance and allows us to spread resources down the long tail. Other countries don’t have that.
In the US, for example, the for-profit organizations Bowker and Nielsen must actively focus their resources on those who have paying interests. In contrast, BNC operates as a nonprofit on behalf of the entire industry, so any revenue beyond costs that BNC makes from subscriptions is funneled back into upgrading SDA and developing other projects. BNC also prices SDA subscriptions on a sliding scale relative to a client’s size in the industry, and provides free training and online tools so that small companies are able to bolster their technological skillset without having to spend a lot of money. “Ultimately,” Genner notes, echoing the philosophy beneath decades of federal support for publishing, “it’s about improving or maintaining cultural diversity in Canadian publishing. We’re trying to make sure that everyone can take advantage of the same technology.” The inter-connectedness of the Canadian book-industry supply chain means that solutions for improving it need to be viable, and affordable, for all stakeholders.
BNC’s first order of business as a fully-formed organization was to develop a vigorous electronic data interchange (EDI) network on Bowker’s PubNet. The support of the government, the major national retailer, and a dedicated and ambitious team were key factors that led to the EDI project’s rapid rate of success, making it the ideal opening act through which to introduce BNC as a driving force within the Canadian publishing industry. While EDI was previously promoted by CTA and was already part of Canada’s supply chain infrastructure, it had not yet been implemented as an industry standard. When asked about setting up EDI in the CTA era versus that of BNC, Doug Minett states:
CTA had never gone into the world of specifications and certifying that people would reliably do it. For instance, I could order electronically from twenty publishers, but they wouldn’t give me anything back. It was a one-way thing; publishers got something, but retailers got nothing. None of the publishers had bothered to do the implementation because no retailer had demanded it.
The major difference between the early days of EDI and the work begun by BNC in 2003 is that Indigo, the supply chain’s most influential technological proponent, wanted to trade reliable EDI documents with its business partners. An auction amongst EDI networks for the entire Canadian market was held, and Bowker’s PubNet won the bid. The quickest and most effective way to make EDI a viable standard across an industry not known for its willingness to embrace new technologies was through mandatory certification—to guarantee that the trade of documents would work—and a little strong-arming. Minett recalls, “A lot of big American publishers said, ‘Why do we have to use this?’ and I could say ‘I’m speaking for Indigo here.’ I used Indigo’s muscle, [and] BookNet’s organization and technological inclusiveness.” Indigo’s involvement secured the large companies, and BNC’s “technological inclusiveness” targeted and secured the smaller players. The result is an EDI network that “is head and shoulders above the rest of the world” as far as the number of reliable documents traded, even though it uses the exact same network (PubNet) as the US, which has not carried out the same sort of mandatory EDI testing that Canada has.
2. BNC SalesData: An Overview
After a successful debut with the EDI implementation project, BNC began to work toward what would be its signature contribution to the Canadian book publishing supply chain: BNC SalesData. Since Nielsen BookScan was already being used in the US and UK, many assumed that Canada would follow suit and use Nielsen, but BNC wanted to build its own application. This was a risky move since it was such a big project, but the payoff would be huge: Canada could own its own sales data. The BNC Board supported the plan, knowing that the BNC team was skilled enough for the undertaking. As Doug Minett stresses:
Michael and Noah had been involved with building the Bookshelf website, which was a big piece of technology in 1995. They were used to going through big technological projects and making them happen. Still, for the Board and DCH to support doing our own thing required a lot of courage on their part. It was inherently risky since most technological projects are unsuccessful, and we had to deliver quickly.
Deliver they did; by December 2005, SalesData was up and running. While the service would have been ready faster if BNC had signed on with Nielsen, the long-term benefit to building a system from scratch is that Canada, not Nielsen, owns the data. This gives BNC much more freedom to tailor the service for the needs of all members of the Canadian industry.
At its core, SDA enables data sharing within the Canadian book publishing community. A detailed overview of the SDA platform and its functions will be provided shortly, but for now a basic outline is as follows: paying subscribers (publishers and distributors) can see varying levels of book data updated once a week from point-of-sale data provided by contributing retailers (who become automatic subscribers once they start sharing their data). Bibliographic data pulled from Bowker provides information about each title. There is an aggregated, market-wide view available to all users, and each user sees sale and inventory data specifically for the titles they publish or sell. This view can be further augmented by which groups a user belongs to, such as a “peer group” of independent retailers, or a group that stems from peer-to-peer business relationships. Therefore, data that at one time in fairly recent history were considered proprietary or a trade secret can be shared and opened up to the industry at large in an aggregated fashion.
It is important to distinguish SalesData, a data-sharing network, from open data systems in general. While SDA does enable data sharing within the publishing community, it is not open data. According to the Open Knowledge Foundation, “any kind of content or data […] is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it—subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.” Open data is “open” in a philosophical sense, as well as a mechanical one. The data in SDA, although more open and shareable than they were five years ago, are still not “open data.” The public is not able to browse SDA and those who do have access to the data are not allowed to redistribute them (unless it is data is specifically related to their titles, as per the above explanation).
1.2.1 The early days of SDA, and industry feedback
Once SDA was built, the next step—prior to launching it—was to recruit retailers to contribute data and to sign up publishers as subscribers to generate revenue and test the system. Peter Waldock recalls the key steps necessary to move that process forward:
It wasn’t going to fly without Indigo, and it wasn’t going to fly without Random House, and a few others in between. It was a fairly tough slog and it took a while as we expected, but we could turn to the UK and say, “Look, it works.” I brought over David Young from Hachette UK to address all of the publishing heads. He sold them; if they needed that last shove he gave it to them. He was a very business-oriented and smart publisher, and he gave them the “A to Z” of why they should sign up.
Although there was a clear need for a national book sales tracking system (as identified by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage), BNC understandably encountered some reluctance on the part of those who would be releasing their data since there was no precedent in the book industry for sales data sharing (other than peer relationships where, for example, Indigo sent Random House sales data back to Random House). By leveling the playing field as BNC pledged to do, the agency in turn took away “some players’ competitive advantage.” Still, once publishers began testing the data the initial fears dropped away. Jackie Fry, Project Manager at BNC, recalls:
Publishers thought that [SDA] was going to expose something about them, a weakness or a strength, and that having competitors seeing each others’ sales numbers would breach some kind of secret. What became obvious as the beta testers (we had several large and small firms beta test the site for us) got in and looked at the data is that they loved seeing their own numbers—a huge win for them—and they couldn’t believe how much they loved seeing their competitors’ numbers.
BNC now focuses on proving that the bottom-line improvements and overall industry benefits that result from sales data aggregation provide far greater business advantages than keeping sales information in a silo does. When asked how BNC approaches discussions with retailers who are reluctant about data sharing, Project Manager Tim Middleton states, “The main argument is the bottom line. For example, we [tell retailers that we] will take your grunt work of having to report your sales to each publisher.” No matter what the reason for reluctance is, Noah Genner poses this question: “Isn’t there more value in being able to see what’s going on to help the industry remain healthy as a whole?”
While names of the original contributing retailers are confidential (except for Indigo, since it is common knowledge that the service would be useless without the national chain’s data), Jackie Fry states, “[BNC] had been recruiting for two years, basically since Michael [Tamblyn] was hired. When the [user] requirements were written and they got ready to launch, they had most of the major retailers that are in today.” Ria Bleumer, former manager of Duthie Books in Vancouver, current owner of Sitka Books and Art, and contributor to SDA since 2008 remembers the independent bookselling community’s early reactions to the service:
We didn’t want publishers to be able to go into our systems and get sales data and know exactly what we were up to, and not up to, for the fear of losing some kind of control and power in the future. We were concerned that down the road distributors would develop programs to tell us what we need. That was one of the underlying fears, but it’s not happening.
Although a certain element of power is lost when suppliers can see the exact details of how their product is selling in your store without having to request the data from you first, Ria’s final point emphasizes that the fear of a loss of control over stock was unfounded. In response to any worries about a singular entity such as BNC amassing data which could be tapped into and misused, Noah Genner ensures, “That’s why we take anonymity and access very seriously, and we maintain a level of ‘third-party-ness’.”
Interestingly, all three of the booksellers interviewed for this report—Doug Minett, Ria Bleumer, and one manager of a specialty independent who asked to remain anonymous—answered the question “How can retailers use SDA?” the same way: that it is much more useful for publishers. Bleumer elaborates, “But we are all part of one industry; it comes back at the bookseller,” “it” being the benefits gained from having SDA in the market, a topic to be reviewed at length shortly.
1.2.2 The basics of SDA
Currently, the seventy-five percent of trade book sales tracked by BNC SalesData comes from data provided by about 1000 unique store locations. Within the system, these stores are organized into various groupings: about 100 aggregates of regional and store-level breakdowns (such as an “All Stores” aggregate for a chain retailer), and two Peer Groups made up of similar independent retailers who have requested to see each other’s sale and inventory data. Retailers do not see each other’s data, and are able to choose which publishers are able to see their company’s data as separate from the industry-wide “All Market” aggregate; currently, the largest number of retailers a publisher can see is twenty-two. Data for the previous week (Monday to Sunday) are loaded on Wednesday nights, and are available to subscribers on Thursday mornings; to avoid confusion, please note that this data set is referred from here on out as the “current week” of data, as in the most recent data available. If a retailer’s data come in earlier than Wednesday, they are available to users as “early preview data” and can be built into reports, but are not folded in to the aggregated data summaries discussed below.
When a user signs in to SDA, they reach a homepage that showcases the most recent data in a few different tables: the Sales Summary, Bestseller Lists, and Industry Snapshot. These tables are updated on Thursday mornings, when the aggregated data is released. The Sales Summary compares the user’s sales data in value and volume for the Week Ending ____ (the current week), Previous Week, This Week Last Year, Year to Date, and Last 52 Weeks to that of the whole market and any peer views that the user is permitted to see (see Image 1.1). For publishers, “peers” are retailers who have approved peer-to-peer access (the ability to see one store’s numbers as separate from the All Market aggregate); very few retailers can see peer data, aside from those in the two designated Peer Groups.
Image 1.1: Sales Summary
The three Bestseller tables (Fiction, Non-Fiction and Juvenile) provide a snapshot of the top five bestselling titles from the most recent week in each category by binding (hardcover, paperback, mass market, trade paper, other); alternatively, the user can click to see the top 100 titles. These tables are populated by both bibliographic (title, author, binding, subject) and sales data (volume sold, value sold by average actual selling price [AASP], value sold by list price); retailers only see the All Market view, while publishers can choose to see bestsellers from their titles only and/or the All Market. Finally, the Industry Snapshot shows the sales and inventory data of the All Market in the current week and prior periods (see Image 1.2).
Image 1.2: Industry Snapshot
The Snapshot shows Total Volume Sold, Total Value List, Total Value AASP, Total OH (units onhand) and Total OO (units on-order); publishers have the option to view data from their firm only, while retailers do not see OH or OO in the Industry Snapshot and only have the All Market view.
SDA enables users to create a variety of reports from the data. First is the Title/ISBN Report, which opens whenever a linked title or ISBN is clicked. This report provides all of the bibliographic information associated with that title (including bestseller lists and media mentions), a Sales Summary of year-to-date or lifetime sales, and a table that lists the title’s weekly sales in the All Market, starting with the current week (see Image 1.3). Those with peer-to-peer access can also see how a title has performed in a specific location.
Image 1.3: Title-ISBN Report Table
Next, the Bestseller Report shows up to 30,000 top-selling titles based on criteria selected by the user, such as subject, date range, publisher, and/or author. Aside from basic bibliographic data, the report gives each title’s Rank (the default sorting mechanism of the report), Previous Rank, Units Sold, Units Sold Previous, Percent Change (from time period being reported on compared to most recent time period of same length), Value Sold (List and AASP), OH, OH Last Week, OO, Weeks on List, Number of Stores, and Lifetime Units and Sales; retailers do not see inventory columns or Number of Stores. In addition, the Market Share Report shows publishers and retailers the actual number in units and the percent of the total market represented by certain publishers across subjects, binding, or time (see Image 1.4).
Image 1.4: Market Share Report Options
The last two SDA reports combine data from the other reports in illuminating ways. The Title Trend Report displays the performance of multiple titles across thirteen weeks, quarters or years in value and units sold for any market that the user has peer access to. The Title by Market Report, on the other hand, compares the value and units sold of multiple titles in a single time frame, but across multiple markets.
1.2.3 Practical uses of SDA in the book trade
As the booksellers pointed out, most of the practical uses for SDA benefit publishers and distributors rather than retailers. Referring to her time spent at H.B Fenn, Carol Gordon (Publisher Liaison at BNC) notes, “I was using it in all kinds of ways, for co-op, tracking promotions, looking for the sales performance of the product line that I managed.” These sales and marketing benefits are accompanied by the ability to perform more accurate category development, as discussed by Jackie Fry:
I’ve found out anecdotally that publishers have changed the way they develop a category; if they’re interested in publishing in an area that maybe they’re not so experienced in, they’ll definitely use SDA to see what kind of sales they can expect from that type of category, and whether its worth investing time and money and staff in developing an area.
Another practical effect of SDA on sales and marketing is accurate bestseller lists. “Instead of educated guesses by booksellers or wishful thinking by journalists—a fair description of newspaper and magazine bestseller lists in the past—it was finally possible to know accurately which books were selling the most copies each month,” notes Roy MacSkimming. A spot on a national bestseller list will increase a book’s sales even more, so accurate lists are essential in order to truly level the playing field.
On the inventory management side, publishers can reap many practical benefits from SDA. First, they can improve print run estimation based on the sales data for comparable titles or an author’s previous work. Educated guesses about the demand for a title in the marketplace may help to reduce returns. While no concrete data have been released about how SDA has affected return rates, many of the BNC staff interviewed mentioned that they have heard about reduced returns anecdotally from clients. In any event, there has been a reduction in stockouts (as Peter Waldock noted); since publishers can actually see how much and how fast a title is selling, they can plan for reprints accordingly.
While it may be easier for publishers to find practical uses for BNC SalesData, there are of course ways for retailers to use the data as well. Ria Bleumer notes:
Having access to BNC data means I can go on the site and see how a title is doing “on the grass,” across the country. It could be a top-seller that does equally well across the country versus a regional book that spikes in Toronto or Ontario, where the sales are very low here. It gives you a really good indication, if you don’t already know, about what you potentially need to beef up on.
Additionally, retailers can use the data to source books by seeing who distributes a book in Canada. If they are part of a Peer Group (a value-adding option for retailers to be discussed further in Part 2), booksellers will be able to see what their peers are selling, and how many they have on hand and on order. Tom Woll endorses this concept in his advice to the retail sector in Publishing for Profit: “By knowing what’s selling, when it’s selling, and where it’s selling, accounts can control their buying better.” Yet many retailers are not as optimistic as Woll about data sharing; the next section of this report will review the sensitivities surrounding sales data, and the mediative role BookNet Canada plays in these data politics.
1. BookNet’s Pledge to “Do No Harm”
While an outside observer may assume that book industry sales data are fairly benign, one of BookNet Canada’s main priorities is to keep this information confidential. Essentially, data are granular information from which conclusions are drawn. As the cliché, “Information is power,” reminds us, numbers command a significant amount of power and respect in our society; producing data is often the definitive method to win an argument or prove a theory. This is why sales data are traditionally kept in-house except for when they have positive connotations (for example, a publisher’s year-end press release may state how they sold fifty percent more units than the previous year). Sales information can reveal a lot about the trade secrets of a business, such as where certain books sell better than others. As a conduit for the sharing of the majority of the Canadian book trade’s sales data, BNC prioritizes keeping this information safely within the controlled network. They do not tolerate misuse of SalesData numbers since that may lead to the contributors losing confidence in data sharing. The BNC Media Policy, housed on the BNC website, makes clear that this protective stance is not only central to the agency’s own operations, but encouraged in anyone using BNC products:
BookNet Canada is happy to provide percent changes, relative rankings and commentary on industry trends, but cannot provide unit sales or comment on the performance of individual titles – and we ask our subscribers to follow the same guidelines. Our first responsibility is to protect the data that the retailers have entrusted us with. We don’t want to make retailers uncomfortable. Their data makes the system go, so if this data is used to embarrass a retailer or make them look bad, they could decide to stop sharing data with us. […] BNC SalesData is about helping book industry professionals make more informed decisions. It isn’t about using data to criticize other publishers, retailers or authors. 
To this end, BNC aims to embody neutrality in all of its actions and public representations, even those that are out of the agency’s control. Elaborating on this policy, Noah Genner says,
We don’t speak about individual retailers or books, to the media or just generally, because we don’t want to a) embarrass anyone or b) threaten anyone’s competitive advantage. That goes for independents, Indigo, Costco, everyone. We really do have to maintain this third-party view, this Switzerland view. That’s why I get really worked up when someone speaks as they did with the Penguin/Stieg Larsson thing, [see below] since one of our primary tenets as a business is to maintain anonymity and “do no evil.”
The “anonymity” Genner speaks of is that of the SalesData contributors. There are only a few sanctioned instances of a retailer’s store-specific data being viewed by a third party: through SDA maintenance by BookNet employees, and approved peer views. BNC takes unsanctioned views of retailer-specific data—whether accidental or pre-meditated—very seriously. This includes exposure to the media and the public, which was the case in the Stieg Larsson incident mentioned by Genner. On May 20th, 2010, the publishing trade magazine Quill and Quire released an article about how Indigo, which usually receives stock earlier than the independent stores, had started selling Larsson’s highly anticipated The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest eleven days in advance of its official on-sale date of May 25. Not content with mere eyewitness accounts of the books on sale in Indigo, Quill printed the following:
One bookseller, who asked not to be named, confirmed that, according to BookNet Canada sales data, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest sold 1,238 copies on the weekend, a period during which Indigo was presumably the book’s de facto exclusive vendor. The title ranked #41 on BookNet’s overall bestsellers list for the week ending May 16.
Here, BNC’s neutrality was undermined by a third-party who released confidential data to use as damaging evidence of the actions of a specific organization (Indigo). Interestingly, Indigo had done nothing legally wrong (Penguin did not have an embargo on the title, so the on-sale date attached to the book was not legally binding), yet the unnamed bookseller who released the information did. All SDA subscribers are required to sign a contract that prohibits the sharing of any SDA data that are not proprietary to one’s own company. Since there was no way to find out who had leaked the number, BNC responded by reminding all subscribers about the terms of the contract and the termination that would result from breaking them.
Aside from contracts, another way that BNC protects the industry’s sales data is through frequent testing of the SDA site and its functions. If a subscriber contacts BNC about an anomaly in the data, the issue is examined to see if it is a one-off glitch or a wider problem affecting other subscribers. This is done by signing in to test accounts or to those that have agreed to be used for testing, and then running reports and checking access limitations to make sure that everything is working as it is supposed to. Once every quarter or so, a BNC intern or team member will carry out more thorough testing according to a test-case workbook for all of SDA’s functions and accessibility options by both publisher and retailer account types. The workbook lists the expected result for each possible action in SDA, and after testing the tester marks down whether it was a “Pass” or “Fail”. This way, no corner of the system escapes routine testing. Yet, as Jackie Fry explains, even though BNC has proactive measures to protect its clients’ data, there is only so much the agency can do:
Usually most people are very good about knowing what they do and don’t have access to, but there are always going to be people with intent who want to get access, and people who are willing to share their password. For that kind of access, there’s not a lot we can do. We do allow the free flowing of data; it can be emailed out of the service, [… but] we do monitor where data is accessed from, and as soon as we hear about any kind of breach we take steps toward legal action with cease-and-desist letters. Fortunately it hasn’t come to that too often; most of the time it’s a misunderstanding.
2.1.1 Tools for collaborative commerce
While the above strategies allow BNC to “do no harm” by preventing unauthorized data sharing within SDA, the agency also “does good” by enabling the opposite: industry collaboration through BNC services, specifically with the tools that fall under the category of “collaborative commerce.” Collaborative commerce is defined as “Online collaboration and interactions among the employees, business partners, and customers of diverse firms belonging to a trading community or business segment.” BNC’s tools for collaborative commerce in the book publishing industry are SDA, BiblioShare, CataList, and Prospector.
BiblioShare is a bibliographic metadata service that collects, quality-tests, and distributes a publisher’s ONIX files to multiple trading partners. Participation is free, but the rewards are significant: “BiblioShare helps publishers and wholesalers have a more informed and collaborative relationship, making it easier to stock, supply and promote Canadian titles” by providing clean ONIX files to those who need title information. BiblioShare data will also feed into CataList, an upcoming e-catalogue project for Canadian publishers. Since e-catalogues are gaining popularity as a more efficient way for publishers to promote their latest titles and backlists, BNC has realized that the development costs involved will exclude many small presses, and it will be a nightmare for booksellers and sales reps to have to navigate a variety of e-catalogue programs. Therefore, CataList allows publishers to collaborate by all using the same standard catalogue system, which seems anathema to the isolated way paper catalogues worked, but can potentially make it easier for booksellers to research and buy books. Finally, Prospector—a spin-off of sorts from SDA—allows independent bookstores to see the inventory and sales data of a group of peers (to be discussed in more detail shortly).
SDA enables collaborative commerce since it allows diverse groups from the publishing industry to share their data online and create an accurate representation of the book trade’s sales. A variety of different collaborations take place within SDA, starting with the “group buy” option, where publishers “can actually band together, form a group, and pay the quarterly subscription as a group.” Next, the customizable peer-view option lets retailers define which publishers have access to their specific sales and inventory data. Finally there are the designated Peer Groups pulled from Prospector, a SalesData module developed specifically for independent booksellers who want the option to compare their stock to that of similar stores, rather than to the market as a whole. As stated on the BNC website,
Independents can help each other. Join an anonymous group and compare your stock against sales collected from similar stores. […] At the same time, compare stock turn to see where you might be under-performing and why.
Prospector evolved in response to the experiences of retailers who found that the one million weekly ISBNs in SDA created an information overload. Noah Genner recalls:
What could we do to allow retailers easier and quicker access to the information they need from SDA, and what can we do to strengthen their sales? One option was to give them a different view of the data, which is the gap analysis or comparative reporting, and the other was the ability to share data amongst one another. If you were a general trade independent bookseller and wanted to get only that view of SDA, being able to see what the other twelve retailers like you are doing takes so much of the noise out, and makes it so much more helpful.
While Prospector has helped certain retailers improve their stock turns (the testimonial from Christopher Smith, Manager of Collected Works in Ottawa, reveals that “Sales went up 30% for the [graphica] category in 8 weeks” ), others are still reluctant to embrace the lessened anonymity that comes with the peer group structure. Ria Bleumer explains, “We don’t want that; we can have conversations [with other retailers], but we don’t want another store to be able to go in and basically find out what we’re doing.” It should be said that it is not BNC’s role or intention to define which business strategies are “right” or “wrong” for the industry. Collaboration through data sharing may not work for every company. Yet BNC does serve the industry as a whole, and there are proven benefits to increased collaboration and greater awareness about industry trends while the potential downsides have yet to materialize. For Noah Genner, increased collaboration within the industry is a clear goal:
A lot of retailers are surprisingly altruistic about sharing their data; they think that a healthy industry is better and that if a publisher knows what’s going on in the industry then they can make better decisions. The retailers we have sharing data collaboratively with one another love the ability to do that. That’s the kind of stuff that I personally love; I love that we do this kind of collaboration, and are wrapping context around the numbers.
Prospector is a way for independent booksellers to personalize the SDA data and to put the numbers in a more useful context, such as seeing if stores like one’s own have similar sales trends, successes, and failures. In the words of media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, “Our digital abstractions work best when they are used to give us insight into something quite real and particular;” an independent bookseller may find that the All Market data is too abstract, so Prospector makes business-relevant insight from SDA much more attainable.
2. Adding Value by Putting the Data to Work
As the case of BNC Prospector shows, BookNet Canada is not just content to create and administer tools for the supply chain; instead, the agency prioritizes adding value and helping clients to get the most out of the services they use. In the words of Noah Genner, “We want to give them more value for taking part.” The data may be available, but industry stakeholders do not always have the time to take proper advantage of them. That is why BNC produces a suite of “value-adds” based on the data it collects, from the annual publication The Canadian Book Market to bestseller lists, BNC Research Studies, and quarterly press releases on the state of the industry.
Once a year, BNC produces a comprehensive volume about the previous year’s book sales called The Canadian Book Market (CBM). This practice began in 2007 with CBM 2006, and has evolved every year into a product available in a variety of formats (printed-on-demand, electronic, and intranet) for both SDA subscribers and non-subscribers. This makes the research available to the media, organizations, and individuals who do have access to SDA. Subscribers receive a substantial discount on CBM since they already pay to access the data (for example, a hard copy of CBM 2009 costs $139.99 for a non-subscriber, while it costs $79.99 for a subscriber). The book drills down into fifty categories , using multiple charts and tables:
The Canadian Book Market shows you the top selling titles of the year as well as side-by-side comparative statistics from years previous, including: Peak season, peak week and average weekly sales, publisher and distributor market share, comparative performance analysis by publication date, format and price, [and] unit sales by week, median and average pricing and summary statistics.
The difference between the non-subscriber version—which could be used by the media or universities—and the subscriber version of CBM is that only the latter shows unit sales for specific titles, publishers, and distributors; non-subscribers just see the top five titles in a list, and the percentage of publisher/distributor market share. The CBM is an invaluable tool for anyone who needs detailed, reliable data about the performance of a particular category or the trade book market as a whole, and only BNC has the time and resources to mine the data in this way and show its full potential.
A more publicly accessible (and, arguably, more influential) value-add is that SDA provides weekly bestseller lists for some of Canada’s largest national media. When the current week of data becomes available on Thursday morning, lists of various sizes in categories such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Juvenile, Mystery, and Business are sent to The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Quill and Quire, and the CBC, based on the type of lists needed for their individual publications. For example, The Globe and Mail requests Fiction, Non-Fiction, Juvenile, Mass Market, and Mystery, as well as two rotating subjects chosen by BNC (such as Parenting and Vegetarian Cooking). When these lists are published, BookNet Canada is credited as the source for the data. These are the only bestseller lists based on point-of-sale data from SDA, and are considered the most accurate lists in the Canadian book trade. Since having a title on a bestseller list puts it in the public eye and further increases sales, accurate bestseller data is very crucial in an industry that often relies on the “buzz” from word-of-mouth promotion. It is only fair that the books that are actually gaining ground across the country are represented in bestseller lists, rather than those selling rapidly in a few particular stores (a method of bestseller-list creation still used by many publications).
The demystification of sales trends that begins with BNC’s data-derived bestseller lists is extended with another value-add, BNC Research Studies. The studies are researched and compiled by a BNC intern, released every two months or so as a downloadable PDF in the document repository on the BNC website, and are free for SalesData subscribers to download. Depending on the appropriateness of the topic, BNC will also create a non-subscriber version of the study that replaces exact sales figures with a less revealing data point (such as a percentage). Non-subscriber versions of the studies are also completely free, and can be accessed with login information found inside the weekly BNC newsletter, eNews. The topics are either based on something timely and newsworthy (What is Barack Obama’s effect on book sales? Who sells more books, J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer?), seasonal research (Which categories sell well at Christmas? What should a publisher expect if one of its titles is nominated for a national book award like the Giller Prize?), or direct responses to suggestions from those in the publishing community who want to make use of specific research.
An example of the latter is a request BNC received in early 2010 that asked for a study on the effect of movie adaptations on book sales. In 2007 BNC Research had in fact produced a study on the effect of movie tie-in covers (“Great Film -But the Book was Better”), but the study was narrowly focused on covers alone, and did not examine the effect of film marketing or the demand pattern for titles prior to and following a movie adaptation’s release. In response to the request, BNC released “From Page to Screen,” a study that “digs into the sales figures for books on which movies are based as well as related backlist titles to see what kinds of trends and patterns can be found.” BNC’s initiative in responding directly to industry research requests (both SDA and eNews subscribers are invited to submit their ideas on the BNC Research homepage) is part of what makes its research an essential value-add.
2.2.1 Tracking industry trends with BNC data
Another way that BNC Research adds value for SDA subscribers and the book trade in general is by mining the nearly five years of cumulative point-of-sale data to uncover overarching and long-term trends. For example, a natural research topic for a company that tracks national data is to determine which titles in a variety of categories are the perennial bestsellers of the Canadian market (a “perennial bestseller” is a title that sells well in relatively steady numbers every year). While this topic was on the “back-burner” of BNC Research for a few years, it only became feasible in the summer of 2010 once there were four full years of data to consult. The “Perennial Bestsellers” study was compiled by searching across a total of fourteen categories (including Fiction, Juvenile, Business, Self-Help, and Sports) for titles that ranked highly every year from 2006 to 2009; the lists were then ranked by sales in 2009 to ensure that the title rankings reflected current relevance. The top twenty were included in the study, and for each category seven books of potential interest (three “Classics and Newsmakers” and four “Titles You May Have Missed”) were accompanied by a short description, the average annual rank, and the average deviation. Average deviation calculates the average difference between the actual sales numbers for a book in each year and the mean of the four-year sales total, revealing whether a title sold steadily year-over-year or had a large jump or decline in sales. The study was released in both SDA subscriber and non-subscriber versions; the non-subscriber version replaced units sold with the average annual rank and average deviation for each title.
While “Perennial Bestsellers” hoped to prove right or wrong the assumptions of anyone in the industry who was curious about continually bestselling titles, booksellers were the target audience for the study. After all, it is in a publisher’s best interest to only focus on which of its titles are perennial bestsellers, rather than those of other firms as well. The goal was for booksellers to use the study’s findings to populate various sections of their store with titles that are proven to sell well in their categories every year. In a sign that this goal was reached, soon after the study was released a representative of Words Worth Books in Ottawa contacted BNC with positive feedback about the study and a statement of intent to use the information to develop some of the store’s sections.
As an organization that benefits from government funding, it may be said that BookNet Canada has a responsibility to “give back” to the general public. A final value-add, quarterly and year-end press releases on industry growth based on sales figures pulled from SDA, addresses the right of society at large to have objective, accurate information about the state of the book trade. “The number of requests we get for our information,” says Genner, “is incredibly high.” Therefore, after the end of each quarter and calendar year, BNC releases data that compares the value and volume sold of the total market and the Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Juvenile categories to the same quarter of the previous year. Occasionally BNC adds some context for the figures, such as from a February 16, 2010 press release that states, “Fiction and Juvenile increased significantly in the last year, perhaps due to the remarkable performance of authors like Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer.” When asked how and when this practice began, Genner recalls:
We started about three years ago [in 2007], when we started getting a lot of requests from media about how the market was doing. No one had access to that data; it has been released in other markets for a lot longer. We felt it was important for not just the media, but for people to know what was going on.
The media can use the data in these press releases to give context when discussing the book trade. For example, an article in the Financial Post about Indigo’s plan to provide photography services in its stores concluded with the following statement: “The shift at Indigo comes after a solid 2009 in Canadian book retail; book sales rose 4% higher in dollars and 1% higher in units in 2009 over the prior year, BookNet Canada says.” These figures situate the news about Indigo’s restructuring in the context of the book trade’s overall performance. Since the book industry is currently in the media spotlight due to increasing hype about e-books and e-reading devices, it is important for the media and the Canadian public they serve to have factual data about industry growth to balance against the sensationalism that often comes hand-in-hand with news of closing bookstores and the digital revolution.
1. Holes in the Data Set
While SDA is certainly the most wide-reaching, authoritative, and accurate source of point-of-sale data for the Canadian book trade, one drawback is that it is not a complete representation of the Canadian book market. BNC estimates that SDA captures about seventy-five percent of Canadian trade book sales (most online and all e-book sales are missing as well, an issue to be dealt with shortly), and this is made very clear in any press releases, research studies, or website content referring to numbers pulled from SDA. As Noah Genner reminds us:
This is a representation of what’s selling in the market, not everything that’s selling. Sometimes people forget that. I had a letter from an author last week who was angry that we were under-representing the sales of his books; someone gave him the numbers of sales of his books from our system but didn’t put them in context […]. He compared that against his royalty statements and got upset. Under-representation is a concern for us. We’d love to have 100%, but no one has 100%.
There are two main reasons for the gap in SDA’s market penetration. First, it is a fairly new service and BNC is still recruiting retailers; as of December 2010, SDA will only be five years old. While other systems may “model-up” their numbers to make up for sales-reporting gaps (by multiplying the sales of a book by the percentage of the market that is missing), BNC does not see this as a viable solution. Genner recalls, “The industry committees that we worked with at the beginning decided that that’s not what they wanted to do; they wanted hard numbers, and they would know what the difference is.” Since “one of the major goals for SDA has always been to capture as full and complete a picture of the market as possible,” BNC is always signing up new retailers and continuing to narrow the gap.
The other, more problematic, reason for the gap in SDA’s market representation is that many specialty and independent retailers have purposefully refrained from signing on. This is problematic because there is only so much BNC can do to negate reluctance caused by a culture of staunch independence in combination with a fear of large-scale data sharing. Tim Middleton estimates that SDA is missing 700 out of 1700 book retailers79, not including specialty stores (those that sell only Christian books, for example); in his words, “In some ways its easier to get the big guys than the little independents, since the little stores have so many reasons to not get involved,” such as fear of having their sales exposed and the perceived inability to find value in SDA involvement. Even when it comes to value-adds such as Prospector and BNC Research, Middleton notes:
You can give them as many tools as you want, but the truth is that they don’t have time to use them. With bookselling at that level, you’re embedded in your community, you think you know what they want to buy, and some will say, “I don’t need a technological solution.” Some people don’t even have computerized inventory. On the [independent] retail side there hasn’t been the realization that these tools are really useful. […] It’s a tough pitch.
The fear that contributing to SDA may expose one’s sales to competitors “is a ridiculous reason not to share it, because publishers want to sell their books. They’re going to tell other retailers what is selling somewhere, they’re not going to keep it a secret.”
While Middleton makes a good case for contributing to SDA, what is the perspective of the stores that have held out so far? The owner of an independent retailer who does not share data—and is known for significant sales in a specific genre—was asked for their perspective on SDA. The bookseller requested to remain anonymous and unquoted, except for one statement: “We don’t find [SDA] valuable.” This retailer, and many others most likely, know their market niche so well that they cannot see any value in also knowing what is happening in the rest of the market.
Another reason that some independent bookstores may not see value in contributing data to SDA is that they use BookManager, a point-of-sale data management service that provides sales and inventory reports as well as a host of other features. Created in 1986 by an independent bookseller in Kelowna, BC, BookManager has become the standard software for many Canadian independent booksellers, particularly those in Western Canada. BookManager markets itself as a service for staunchly independent companies alone (its website states, “For many independents, BookManager is more than just software—it’s a group of progressive booksellers who are working hard to remain strong and independent” ), and many independents have worked with it for a long time. In addition, the software offers a variety of essential business services in one package, from “ordering, inventory, suppliers, point-of-sale, returns, customers, accounts payable, receiving, reports, accounting, invoicing, [to] accounts receivable and a host of other book industry related tasks.” BookManager is a data analysis option for stores that want to be able to make convenient reports similar to what SDA offers, but do not want to see the rest of the market or share their data. While there is nothing preventing BookManager users from also subscribing to SDA (BookManager even has a special software module that, if enabled, reports point-of-sale data directly to SDA), it so happens that BookManager’s independent bookseller clients are the demographic who are most likely to be wary of SDA. Since it offers similar services, BookManager can be considered a competitor for SDA’s mindshare in the independent bookselling community; in the bookseller’s mind, why would they need to use both? The combination of many years of market presence with the integration of multiple services makes BookManager a “legacy system,” a product in which so much has been invested over time that switching to another can be very detrimental. Even though SDA is free for retailers and BookManager costs $3900, for some retailers the value of keeping their data isolated in an integrated system that serves their business’ needs is greater than that of seeing the market as a whole.
2. The Digital Divide
While missing a portion of retail book sales impacts SDA’s representation of the book market, the changing nature of the book industry supply chain itself is also negatively affecting SDA’s market penetration. Specifically, SDA does not capture most online print book sales, or any e-book sales. Bookselling not only increasingly takes place online, but e-books are growing in popularity; this means that the definition of “book sale” has changed from that of a physical interaction in a bricks-and-mortar location between customer and cashier to something more akin to an online file transfer.
In 2000, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage showed concern about the lack of sales figures for books being sold from websites; Appendix J of their report laments, “There is little up to date information about the sale of books over the Internet in Canada.” Regrettably, that is still the case ten years later. Online book sales in Canada started with Bookshelf.ca, were then pursued aggressively by Chapters.Indigo.ca around the time of the 2002 launch of Amazon.ca, and are now available on the websites of a variety of retailers and publishers. While some retailers do report online sales to SDA, they are folded in to their overall store numbers and cannot be accessed separately; more disappointing is the lack of one retailer’s significant online sales in the system at all. No data exist for the approximate percentage of Canadian book sales that take place online, yet it is big enough for Jackie Fry to identify as “a huge gap; more than any other, people feel that one. They really want to get those numbers, and we’d love to have them.” For SDA to more accurately represent the trade book market in Canada, online sales numbers are essential. If these were was provided to BNC, the title rankings on the bestseller lists could change since certain audiences are more likely to buy certain titles online than in a physical store. From a research standpoint, having access to online sales data would allow BNC to study trends and release reports that may help the industry to be more efficient and make more sustainable choices when developing their digital channels.
The same issue of missing data—which leads to under-representation of certain titles and the inability to understand growing areas of the market—also applies to e-book sales. Unlike online sales, which are included here-and-there in SDA, e-book sales are not represented in the system at all. In Canada, the e-book market is currently made up of Kobo (formerly Shortcovers, formed in partnership with Indigo), Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, and individual sales from publisher websites. When asked about what the industry is missing out on by not having e-book sales data, Noah Genner states that since the sales are small but growing,
It would be really good for publishers to see in an aggregated nature what is happening in the e-book market. When Kobo presents, it’s useful because they’re actually giving out some numbers and saying, “This category is doing well,” and which price points are doing well. There’s a lot of value there.
While many in the publishing industry, such as Peter Waldock, feel that e-books are “‘much ado about nothing’, and a whole lot of noise is being made for less than five percent of the market,” the truth is that there will not be any clear answers or conclusions about the growth (or lack thereof) of e-books in Canada unless the data are collected and tracked in SDA. Publishers are investing time and resources in digitization anyway, and it would be helpful to know what is happening in the market in terms of categorical trends and which titles would appear on a digital bestseller list. Nevertheless, it will be impossible for BNC to recruit e-book data contributors until there are enough retailers and sales to create an aggregate large enough to discourage deductive exposure (where only two retailers have significant sales, and one can deduce the relative sales of the other by subtracting their own numbers from the combined total). Current initiatives in the US and UK to track and chart e-book sales are coming up against the same problems, despite the market being so much larger. Jonathan Nowell, President of Nielsen Book, told The Bookseller:
An e-book chart will be launched in “a matter of months rather than years.” […] “We will clearly, as we are in the print book world, be transparent about who is on the panel down the line,” he said. “But, for the moment, we have to protect the exposure of the individual panellists.” Nowell said the chart would not be launched “unless it is as comprehensive and robust as we can make it”, and stressed the relatively small nature of the e-book market as it is currently.
The tipping point for e-book retailer market growth may come along with the launch of Google Editions, which will give bookstores the option to sell e-books from their websites. As stated in The Globe and Mail in May 2010:
Google Editions will allow people to purchase books they find through the search engine’s database. Booksellers will also be able to run Editions on their own websites, sharing revenue with Google. […] Canadian booksellers who were upset recently when Amazon was allowed to open a physical distribution centre in Canada – something they said would further harm the Canadian book industry – are striking a decidedly more optimistic tone when it comes to Google Editions. “I think it could be a good thing,” said Mark Lefebvre, vice-president of the Canadian Booksellers Association.
If Google Editions accelerates the growth of the e-book retail space, the tipping point for an ebook sales tracking module in SDA may arrive in the very near future.
As was the case in the early days of SDA, BNC is ready and willing to aggregate e-book sales data (and has heard multiple requests for that information) but the impetus to begin sharing data needs to come from the retailers themselves. Since the business models for trade e-book retailing and digital publishing are relatively new, however, companies like Kobo are likely to keep their data in-house (or release it selectively in controlled environments, as Kobo has been known to do in its presentations) until there are enough players in the market to make an aggregate valuable. As Carol Gordon states, “With e-books there is a strategic advantage to not having information in SalesData, since you already know what your numbers are, but I don’t think that will last. There gets to be a point where you think your numbers are good, but you need to start doing some comparative analysis.” Without an aggregate for e-book sales in Canada, the industry remains in the dark about the metrics for this growing sector; for example, there is no ebook bestseller list, year-over-year growth analysis, or data with which to determine if e-book sales are “cannibalizing” print book sales. These are a few of the benefits that would come from having an e-book aggregate in SDA, yet no one wants to the first contributor in the pool. In addition, the online nature of e-book sales simplifies and automates sales data collection, making it easy for companies to collect and keep for themselves (a likely reason why some retailers have yet to report their online sales of physical books to SDA). It may be said that the digital publishing arena is like the Wild West: there is less concern for “the greater good” of the collective industry since, as on the frontier, the dominant ideology is “every man for himself.”
3. Summary and Analysis
Overall, the main reason that SDA does not yet fully represent independent and digital sales is the potential contributors’ lack of confidence that they can “predict trends, manage inventories and reduce costly mistakes” in SDA without revealing trade secrets to their major competitors. This is true for both the independent retail and e-book sectors, both of which operate in markets dominated by one or two other companies (Indigo in the physical bookselling world, and the Amazon-Apple-Kobo triad in the e-book space). Unlike retailers in the much larger US and UK industries, those in Canada’s relatively small book business may be understandably reluctant to give their formidable competition an advantage by contributing to their understanding of the market as a whole. In contrast to publishers, who were quick to embrace SDA since their businesses thrive when they have a clear understanding of the market (for example, by knowing what titles are popular and competing for market share with one’s own, which categories are growing, and who they need to surpass to get on the bestseller list), some book retailers feel that exposing their sales data—even on an aggregated level—is a risk not worth taking if it could jeopardize the small slice of the market that they already do have control over.
The contributors’ confidence in their market position has so far been integral to SDA’s growth. The main reason SDA exists today is because Indigo was confident enough to stand behind the project and be one of the first to contribute data. Other chains then saw that their largest competitor had signed up to receive efficient and cost-effective data analysis through BNC, so they were convinced to join SDA as well. Yet for some staunchly independent stores, much of their identity hinges on being a distinct alternative to Indigo and cultivating an intimate knowledge of their specific community. This knowledge, often built up over many years by a handful of people, is seen as so precious and integral to their business success (something the anonymous retailer from earlier mentioned) that they cannot see any benefit to giving that power up. While Indigo’s support for SDA attracts some retailers, it may also repel those who feel that their bookselling community is in a business environment altogether different to the one dominated by the chain.
One cost of this lack of confidence in collaborative commerce is an industry where little is known about certain categories or regional trends, leaving authors and genres underrepresented and perpetuating an unchanging parade of “blockbuster” books and authors across the top of the ever-influential bestseller lists. Most significantly, however, the reluctance toward collaborative commerce stifles comraderie by focusing on competition as a dominant ideology. While competition is a healthy and integral part of business, it should not eclipse collaboration in an industry that is starting to feel the disruptive effects of a digitized supply chain. For example, the advantage that many local, independent bookstores have over mass market and chain stores is that they have developed an intimate knowledge of their community’s literary tastes and needs, yet this knowledge is vulnerable to ownership changes, staff rotations, and increased competition from the ever-sophisticated recommendation algorithms of online retailers. An early familiarity with SDA as a tool to research the marketplace and track sales would help to offset the disruption that may occur as a new generation of booksellers move in and buying habits evolve.
Since new retailers sign on to SDA every year and very few new stores are opening, it is likely that the percentage of the market’s sales data tracked by BNC will climb higher than seventy-five percent. The launch of BNC CataList as a standard alternative to the coming wave of e-catalogues also has the potential to increase SDA’s market share. The singular, national ecatalogue system will appeal to booksellers who only want to learn how to use one system, and may cause more stores to subscribe to SDA so that they will be able view comparable title data while deciding which tiles to order.
Returning to the e-book sector, confidence in data sharing is likely to grow once more mid-sized players enter the game. Currently, the value of an e-book module in SDA is not very significant to publishers or e-book retailers since the market is fairly monopolistic, with sales shared amongst Kobo, Amazon, and Apple. A “tipping point” of online and e-book sales, where a significant amount of the above triad’s market share is threatened by more heterogeneous competition, will have to occur first in order to make the value of contributing this information equal to the value of the aggregated information received.
Whether this reluctance to share data is a temporary issue or a permanent one depends on the book business’ trajectory in the coming years. If “by the end of 2012, 25% of sales for a new book are digital” as esteemed publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin predicts, mass store closures will occur and bookstores will need to be smarter with their decision-making in order to survive. One strategy will be to collaborate for their mutual benefit, as exemplified by the peer group concept in SDA: rather than fear the possibility of another bookseller discovering the special titles that sell well in one’s own store, peer groups encourage the sharing of these discoveries amongst other retailers with similar types of stores. Within SDA is what Rushkoff calls “a design for our collective future;” all that remains is for the industry to put it into practice.
Much of this report has focused on the BNC mandate to “do no harm,” embodied in SDA’s purpose of serving the greater good of the industry. While this mandate is essential because it reinforces BNC’s third-party stance and reassures new and potential participants that BNC has their best interests at heart, it creates drawbacks of its own by limiting the ways SDA can be used. One such example comes from Peter Waldock, who says, “I’ve always dreamt of the day we’d be able to pick up The Globe and Mail on Saturday and see how many copies each of the bestsellers had sold. We don’t allow that.” It is understandable that Canadian sales data should be less public than that in the UK, since our annual sales are only about a third of the size (BNC tracked 57,209,862 book sales in Canada in 2009 [about seventy-five percent of the market] compared to 235,700,000 in the UK as reported by Nielsen BookScan ). The Canadian book trade’s relatively small size adds to the perception that there are potential personal and business consequences to opening up the data. “Publishers,” Waldock elaborates, “seem to be really hung up on numbers. Often what it is, is that when we actually show sales of Canadian titles, let’s say in the winter, then the numbers are embarrassingly low.” Although SDA was created to provide solid, metrics-based answers about what happens in the Canadian book market, some of these answers have proved to be potentially more harmful than helpful. For example, the “embarrassingly low” sales of certain titles, even in spite of the media attention they receive in the form of reviews on the CBC or in The Globe and Mail, is a reason BNC Research has held back on studying “Can-Con” (Canadian content).
It is possible that if a larger portion of the specialty, independent stores currently missing from SDA contributed their data, the sales numbers may start to tell a different story; still, the only guarantee about the future of SDA is that it will continue to evolve. In the late summer of 2010, for example, BNC began the process of releasing daily data for the peer view clients of one large retailer, a significant change for the system that so far has only produced weekly data updates. Many changes in SDA functionality are inspired by requests from SDA users about what they would like to use the system for. Jackie Fry says, “People wish it would do more; some people really want to see returns numbers in SalesData, like another column saying the number returned per title.” Additionally, Carol Gordon mentions a request from one multinational publisher who “views their local program differently than their entire line, so we’re looking at ways that they can break that data out, for comparison to other local programs. That’s for the associations to work out maybe, whether that’s something other companies are willing to share.”
Collaboration on the permissible extent of data sharing in SDA is essential for the health of the industry going forward; Shatzkin agrees, as his first commandment for the book industry is “Thou shalt regard thy former competitor as thy future collaborator.” Ria Bleumer experienced this first hand in the building of her new bookstore, when Sharman King from the Vancouver-based chain Book Warehouse (which sells a mixture of publisher remainders and discounted bestsellers) offered to transfer the lease of his Kitsilano location to her. This allowed Bleumer to set up Sitka Books and Art at low cost with speed and efficiency, since the space was already designed as a bookstore. In Ria’s words, “That was a perfect example of working together; we need little independent bookstores, and we need places like Book Warehouse. It couldn’t get any better.” It is a good sign for the industry if former competitors (before it closed in 2009, Ria’s former store Duthie Books was only a few blocks away from the Book Warehouse location Sitka inhabits now) can work together on a level as intimate as physical store space. “We have good relationships,” Ria notes, “and they are improving very rapidly. We are finally realizing, and taking action accordingly, that we are all part of the same business and we are colleagues rather than competitors.”
If Bleumer and her colleagues decided to collaborate further with a technological solution such as peer group data sharing, their ideal resource would be BNC. Once again, it is not BNC’s intention to decide which collaboration is best or how much data should be shared, but rather to listen to the industry and address its collective needs and wants by providing the necessary tools.
Now that SDA has created an infrastructure for data sharing and set a precedent for collaborative commerce, there is room to expand this sharing. Doug Minett says:
Many of us would have preferred for date sharing to go much further than it has; onorder and on-hand numbers are not shared. That, to me, is a negative because it keeps people from being able to know what really is going on in the supply chain. The only people who know that data are in peer groups. On-order and on-hand positions tell you right away the thinking of people up front and as things are unfolding, while sales information is like looking at history.
The past five years of SDA have had an immense impact on the way that the trade book industry conceives of its own structure. Referring to sales data, Tom Woll goes so far as to say, “Without this information, publishers can’t do their jobs properly;” Carol Gordon humbly states, “There’s an art and a science to publishing; BookNet gives you the science.” SDA was created out of the perfect combination of urgency (the need to keep track of industry growth and reduce returns in response to the supply chain failure that led to the General Distribution collapse) and ambition (on the part of the “extraordinary group of people” recruited to BNC), and has become an invaluable tool for collaborative commerce in Canadian trade publishing. As the incident involving Chapters and General Distribution proved in 2001, “if the book business is waged as a winner-takes-all military campaign, it fails for everybody.” That may be an extreme example, but it is an important one. Canada’s small but culturally essential domestic publishing landscape is like a symbiotic ecosystem; “For any single publisher or part of this system to be healthy,” notes Roy MacSkimming, “it’s crucial that the rest of the system be healthy also.”
“Gardening” from The Canadian Book Market 2009
1 BookNet Canada, “About BookNet Canada,” BookNet Canada, http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=426&Itemid=137. RETURN
2 BookNet Canada, “Media Policy,” http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php option=com_content&view=article&id=89&Itemid=370. RETURN
3 BookNet Canada, “About.” RETURN
4 BNC Research reports by the author are “From Page to Screen” (June 2010) and “Perennial Bestsellers” (August 2010). RETURN
5 Roy MacSkimming, The Perilous Trade (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2007), 24. RETURN
6 MacSkimming, Perilous Trade, 213. RETURN
7 Ibid., 214. RETURN
8 Peter Waldock, telephone interview by author, Toronto, ON, August 13, 2010. RETURN
9 Doug Minett, telephone interview by author, Vancouver, BC, August 29, 2010. RETURN
10 Canada, Parliament, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry, 2d sess., 36th Parliament, 2000. Committee Report 2. http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031737&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=2&File=6. RETURN
11 Canada, Challenge of Change, 6. RETURN
12 Ibid., 71. RETURN
13 Ibid. RETURN
14 MacSkimming, Perilous Trade, 362. RETURN
15 Ibid., 363. RETURN
16 Ibid., 365. RETURN
17 Ibid., 378. RETURN
18 Ibid., 380. RETURN
19 Minett, interview by author, August 29, 2010. RETURN
20 Ibid. RETURN
21 Noah Genner, personal interview with author, Toronto, ON, August 10, 2010. RETURN
22 Heather MacLean, “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative: The Inception and Implementation of a New Funding Initiative for the Department of Canadian Heritage” (Master’s project report, Simon Fraser University, 2009), 38. RETURN
23 For a detailed chronology and breakdown of SCI funding structures, see MacLean pages 45-47. RETURN
24 MacLean, “Supply Chain Initiative,” 38. RETURN
25 Ibid., 48. RETURN
26 Waldock, interview by author, August 13, 2010. RETURN
27 MacLean, “Supply Chain Initiative,” 51. RETURN
28 BookNet Canada, “Home.” RETURN
29 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
30 Ibid. RETURN
31 Waldock, interview by author, August 13, 2010. RETURN
32 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
33 Ibid. RETURN
34 Ibid. RETURN
35 Minett, interview by author, August 29, 2010. RETURN
36 Ibid. RETURN
37 Ibid. RETURN
38 Ibid. RETURN
39 Open Knowledge Foundation, “Open Knowledge Definition,” Open Knowledge Foundation, http://opendefinition.org. RETURN
40 Waldock, interview by author, August 13, 2010. RETURN
41 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
42 Jackie Fry, personal interview by author, Toronto, ON, August 16, 2010. RETURN
43 Tim Middleton, personal interview by author, Toronto, ON, August 12, 2010. RETURN
44 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
45 Fry, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
46 Ria Bleumer, telephone interview by author, Vancouver, BC, September 6, 2010. RETURN
47 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
48 Bleumer, interview by author, September 6, 2010. RETURN
49 Fry, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
50 Carol Gordon, personal interview by author, Toronto, ON, August 16, 2010. RETURN
51 Fry, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
52 MacSkimming, Perilous Trade, 397. RETURN
53 Bleumer, interview by author, September 6, 2010. RETURN
54 Tom Woll, Publishing for Profit (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2006), 329. RETURN
55 BookNet Canada, “Media Policy,” BookNet Canada, http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89&Itemid=370. RETURN
56 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
57 Chelsea Murray, “Independent booksellers still stinging over hornet’s nest fiasco,” Quill and Quire Omni, May 20,2010, http://www.quillandquire.com/google/article.cfm?article_id=11297. RETURN
58 Fry, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
59 Business Dictionary, “Collaborative commerce,” WebFinance, Inc, http://businessdictionary.com/definition/collaborative-commerce-C-Commerce.html. RETURN
60 BookNet Canada, “BNC Biblioshare Benefits for Publishers,” http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=399&Itemid=355. RETURN
61 Fry, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
62 BookNet Canada, “BNC Prospector Benefits,” BookNet Canada, http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=112&Itemid=352. RETURN
63 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
64 Christopher Smith, “What people are saying about BNC Prospector,” BookNet Canada, http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=239&Itemid=351. RETURN
65 Bleumer, interview by author, September 6, 2010. RETURN
66 Douglas Rushkoff, Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age (USA: OR Books, 2010), PDF edition, 76. RETURN
67 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
68 See Appendix A for an example of the “Gardening” category from CBM 2009. RETURN
69 BookNet Canada, “The Canadian Book Market,” BookNet Canada, http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=206&Itemid=394. RETURN
70 BookNet Canada, “Studies for SalesData Subscribers,” BookNet Canada, http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=366&Itemid=396. RETURN
71 Chelsea Theriault, “Perennial Bestsellers,” BNC Research, BookNet Canada, http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=561. RETURN
72 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
73 BookNet Canada, “Year over year, book sales up in 2009 both in value and volume.” Press release, February 16, 2010. http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=605:20100216-book-sales-inreview&catid=179:2010-press-release-archive&Itemid=555. RETURN
74 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
75 Hollie Shaw, “Indigo to try in-store photo departments,” Financial Post, July 6, 2010, http://www.financialpost.com/news/Indigo+store+photo+departments/3243135/story.html. RETURN
76 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
77 Ibid. RETURN
78 Fry, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
79 Since SDA currently tracks about 1000 retailers, we can estimate that the total is 1700. “Book retailer” does not refer only to dedicated bookstores, but to a retail location that sells books as well as other items. RETURN
80 Middleton, interview by author, August 12, 2010. RETURN
81 Ibid. RETURN
82 Ibid. RETURN
83 Independent bookseller, telephone interview by author, September 8, 2010. RETURN
84 BookManager, “About BookManager Software,” TBM BookManager, http://BookManager.com/tbm/?q=h.BookManager.bmfeatures&page=0&STG=1824022989. RETURN
85 Ibid. RETURN
86 Canada, Challenge of Change. RETURN
87 Fry, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
88 Genner, interview by author, August 10, 2010. RETURN
89 Waldock, interview by author, August 13, 2010. RETURN
90 Catherine Neilan, “‘Months not years’ for e-book chart, says Nielsen,” The Bookseller, July 26, 2010, http://www.thebookseller.com/news/124123-months-not-years-for-e-book-chart-says-nielsen.html. RETURN
91 Omar El Akkad, “Google bookstore plan could be boon to Canadian industry,” The Globe and Mail, May 04, 2010, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/google-bookstore-plan-could-be-boon-to-canadianindustry/article1556458/. RETURN
92 Gordon, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
93 BookNet Canada, “BNC SalesData,” BookNet Canada, http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=434&Itemid=299. RETURN
94 Mike Shatzkin, “Serious disruption just over the horizon, ” The Idea Logical Blog, April 7, 2010, http://www.idealog.com/blog/serious-disruption-just-over-the-near-horizon. RETURN
95 Rushkoff, Program or be Programmed, 8. RETURN
96 Waldock, interview by author, August 13, 2010. RETURN
97 See Appendix A. RETURN
98 Philip Stone, “Book sales suffer marginal decline in 2009,” The Bookseller, January 04, 2010, http://www.thebookseller.com/news/108435-book-sales-suffer-marginal-decline-in-2009.html. RETURN
99 Waldock, interview by author, August 13, 2010. RETURN
100 Fry, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
101 Gordon, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
102 Mike Shatzkin, “Ten More Commandments, Publishing Edition,” The Idea Logical Blog, June 27 2010, http://www.idealog.com/blog/ten-more-commandments-publishing-edition. RETURN
103 Bleumer, interview by author, September 6, 2010. RETURN
104 Ibid. RETURN
105 Minett, interview by author, August 29, 2010. RETURN
106 Woll, Publishing for Profit, 329. RETURN
107 Gordon, interview by author, August 16, 2010. RETURN
108 Minett, interview by author, August 29, 2010. RETURN
109 MacSkimming, Perilous Trade, 365. RETURN
110 Ibid., 405. RETURN
BookManager. “About BookManager Software.” TBM BookManager. http://BookManager.com/tbm/?q=h.BookManager.bmfeatures&page=0&STG=1824022989.
BookNet Canada. “About BookNet Canada.” BookNet Canada. http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.phpoption=com_content&view=article&id=426&Itemid=137.
——. “BNC BiblioShare Benefits for Publishers.” BookNet Canada. http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=399&Itemid=355.
——. “BNC Prospector Benefits.” BookNet Canada. http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=112&Itemid=352.
——. “BNC SalesData.” BookNet Canada. http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=434&Itemid=299.
——. “The Canadian Book Market.” BookNet Canada. http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=206&Itemid=394.
——. “Home.” BookNet Canada. http://booknetcanada.ca.
——. “Media Policy.” BookNet Canada. http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89&Itemid=370.
——. “Studies for SalesData Subscribers.” BookNet Canada. http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=366&Itemid=396.
——. “Year over year, book sales up in 2009 both in value and volume.” Press release, February 16, 2010. http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=605:20100216-book-sales-in-review&catid=179:2010-press-release-archive&Itemid=555.
Business Dictionary. “Collaborative commerce.” WebFinance, Inc. http://businessdictionary.com/definition/collaborative-commerce-C-Commerce.html.
Canada. Parliament. Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry. 2d sess., 36th Parliament, 2000. Committee Report 2. http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspxDocId=1031737&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=2&File=6.
El Akkad, Omar. “Google bookstore plan could be boon to Canadian industry.” The Globe and Mail, May 04, 2010. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/google-bookstore-plan-could-be-boon-to-canadian-industry/article1556458/.
MacLean, Heather. “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative: The Inception and Implementation of a New Funding Initiative for the Department of Canadian Heritage.” Master’s project report, Simon Fraser University, 2009.
MacSkimming, Roy. The Perilous Trade. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2007.
Murray, Chelsea. “Independent booksellers still stinging over hornet’s nest fiasco.” Quill and Quire Omni, May 20, 2010. http://www.quillandquire.com/google/article.cfm?article_id=11297.
Neilan, Catherine. “‘Months not years’ for e-book chart, says Nielsen.” The Bookseller, July 26, 2010. http://www.thebookseller.com/news/124123-months-not-years-for-e-book-chart-says-nielsen.html.
Open Knowledge Foundation. “Open Knowledge Definition.” Open Knowledge Foundation. http://opendefinition.org.
Rushkoff, Douglas. Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age. USA: OR Books, 2010.PDF edition.
Shatzkin, Mike. “Ten More Commandments, Publishing Edition.” The Idea Logical Blog, June 27 2010. http://www.idealog.com/blog/ten-more-commandments-publishing-edition.
——. “Serious disruption just over the horizon.” The Idea Logical Blog, April 7, 2010. http://www.idealog.com/blog/serious-disruption-just-over-the-near-horizon.
Shaw, Hollie. “Indigo to try in-store photo departments.” Financial Post, July 6, 2010. http://www.financialpost.com/news/Indigo+store+photo+departments/3243135/story.html.
Smith, Christopher. “What people are saying about BNC Prospector.” BookNet Canada. http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=239&Itemid=351.
Stone, Philip. “Book sales suffer marginal decline in 2009.” The Bookseller, January 04, 2010. http://www.thebookseller.com/news/108435-book-sales-suffer-marginal-decline-in-2009.html.
Theriault, Chelsea. “Perennial Bestsellers.” BNC Research. BookNet Canada. http://booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=561.
Woll, Tom. Publishing for Profit. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2006.
Bleumer, Ria. Owner, Sitka Books and Art. Telephone interview by author. Vancouver, BC, September 6, 2010.
Fry, Jackie. Project Manager, BookNet Canada. Personal interview by author. Toronto, ON, August 16, 2010.
Genner, Noah. President and CEO, BookNet Canada. Personal interview by author. Toronto, ON, August 10, 2010.
Gordon, Carol. Publisher Liaison, BookNet Canada. Personal interview by author. Toronto, ON, August 16, 2010.
Middleton, Tim. Project Manager, BookNet Canada. Personal interview by author. Toronto, ON, August 12, 2010.
Minett, Doug. Owner, The Bookshelf, and Supply Chain EDI chair, BISG. Telephone interview by author. Vancouver, BC, August 29, 2010.
Waldock, Peter. Owner, North 49 Books, and President, Association of Canadian Book Wholesalers. Telephone interview by author. Toronto, ON, August 13, 2010.
By Heather Maclean
ABSTRACT: During the late 1990s and early 2000s the Canadian book publishing industry was facing many challenges – most notably a crisis in and systemic problem with book returns. In response to entreaties from the book community to Parliament, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage commissioned research and sought input from the publishing community. It then released a report highlighting the precarious operational climate in the country for the production and sale of books. The report’s recommendations and responses by the Government of Canada led to a new funding initiative – the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (SCI). This research report documents the development and implementation of the SCI between government fiscal years 2002-2003 and 2007-2008; detailing how the new initiative improved and modernized the Canadian book supply chain. It also provides insight into the development, launch, and performance of the book supply chain agency for English-language Canada, BookNet Canada.Replicas Inflatable Cemento
I have many people to thank for their help during the writing of this project report. A special thank you to David Schimpky for being a great boss and industry advisor. Thank you also to Rowland Lorimer, John Maxwell, and the irreplaceable and amazing Jo-Anne Ray.
This work is dedicated:
To my parents, Bill and C.C. MacLean – as always, for your love, support, and guidance. The accomplishments I have achieved and the dreams I have fulfilled are thanks to you both.
To my sisters, Aynsley and Sheila – my best friends and my cheerleaders.
To Andrew (Oni) – for a lifetime of friendship, love, and laughter.
To Kathryn and John – for giving me shelter from the storm, and for being such awesome friends.
To Carolyn – for your constant encouragement and faith in me. You are a light in my life, sweet girl. And I am lucky to be your friend.
To Jenny, and to Turner – for always being there for me, day or night.
And finally, to Brendan – because you carry me; always have. And I will always be grateful.
NOTE: The views or opinions expressed in this report do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Department of Canadian Heritage or its staff, nor do they necessarily represent the views or opinions of any entity of, or entity affiliated with, the Department of Canadian Heritage.
List of Tables
1.0 The Need for a More Efficient, Technology-Driven Book Supply Chain
2.0 The Operating Climate for Canadian Publishers in the Late 1990s and into the Millennium − an Overview
3.0 The Involvement of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
4.0 The Government of Canada – Support for the Canadian Book Publishing Industry
5.0 The Hearings of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, 1999-2000
6.0 Recommendations from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to Improve the Book Supply Chain
7.0 Creating a New Book Supply Chain for Canada
8.0 The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative
9.0 Establishing Book Supply Chain Fundamentals
10.0 The Launch of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, 2002- 2003
11.0 The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative – Chronology
12.0 The Development of a Canadian Book Supply Chain Agency for English- language Canada
13.0 Bibliographic Data Certification – A Priority
14.0 The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative: 2002-2003 – 2007- 2008 Results
15.0 The Ongoing Function of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative
A. Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
B. Six Key Questions from the Roundtable Discussions
C. Names of the Supply Chain Initiative Steering Committee and Affiliations
D. The Supply Chain Initiative Working Group for BookNet Canada
E. Founding BookNet Canada Member Organizations and Founding Board of Directors
F. Gantt Chart of The BookNet Canada Timeline (Set Up To Completion)
G. Current Bibliographic Certification Standards for BookNet Canada
H. Publisher Opinion of the Impact of the Supply Chain Initiative, 2004
I. Publisher Opinion of the Impact of the Supply Chain Initiative, 2008
LIST OF TABLES
ACP Association of Canadian Publishers
ATP Aid to Publishers
BTLF Société de gestion de la banque de titres de langue française
BNC BookNet Canada
BISAC Book and Serial Industry Systems Advisory Committee
BPIDP Book Publishing Industry Development Program
CBA Canadian Booksellers Association
CBIF Canadian Book Industry Forum
CBISAC Canadian Book Industry Systems Advisory Committee
CPC Canadian Publishers’ Council
CTA Canadian Telebook Agency
EDI Electronic Data Interchange
GDS General Distribution Services
ONIX Online Information eXchange
POS Point-of-Sale data
SCI Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative
This report presents a case study of how, after much interaction between the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and representatives of the Canadian book publishing industry, the Department of Canadian Heritage responded to the need for a program to specifically address the book supply chain in Canada.
The late 1990s and early 2000s were a tumultuous time for the Canadian publishing industry. Industry functioning had destabilized as a result of a crisis situation in book returns, the retail market dominance of Chapters Inc., the expansion and bankruptcy of General Publishing Co., the impact of digital technology advancements (including the growth of the online retail sector, the anticipated rise of the e-book market, and issues pertaining to digital rights management), ongoing foreign competition in the Canadian book market, and succession planning into the new millennium.
To address the concerns of the industry, in 2000, the parliamentary Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertook an inquiry into the operating conditions in Canada’s book industry. The Standing Committee conducted a series of meetings in which members of the book publishing industry were invited to provide testimony on the current state of the industry.
These discussions lead to the development of a report entitled The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry released in 2000. The report presented recommendations from the Standing Committee for dealing with areas of concern and moving the industry forward. The Government of Canada then responded to the recommendations in a subsequent report released in 2001 called The Government’s Response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s Report: The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry. These reports became the impetus for the development and implementation of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) in the government’s fiscal year 2002-2003, as part of the Book Publishing Industry Development Program in the Department of Canadian Heritage.
This research report focuses on the development and evolution of the SCI, working with the timeframe of 2002-2003 to 2007-2008. It highlights the partnership between the Canadian book publishing industry and the Government of Canada in recognizing a barrier to growth – and perhaps even sustainability – and working together towards a solution.
While we would have had to replace our system [the current book supply chain method] anyway, we could have neither justified nor afforded such a quantum leap without BPIDP assistance. Comparing what we now have compared to what we otherwise might is the systems equivalent to the difference between a Volvo and a Model T Ford. – Nicholas Hoare, President, Nicholas Hoare Ltd.
The New Century Ahead
During the late 1990s, as the new millennium approached, the world was awash in discourse about life propelled into the twenty-first century. In Canadian book publishing circles – for publishers around the world, in fact – the question dominating conversation remained – what would become of print? In an industry already steeped in centuries of tradition, what would this new century bring? Would Canadian book publishers have the ability not only to adopt, but also to embrace digital technology and its many implications successfully, for the future health and longevity of the industry?
Publishing and printing industries are no strangers to the challenges of new technology. However, it would have been unwise during that time not to recognize the fact that the printing and publishing industries were in the throes of enormous technology-driven change. The book industry as a whole would have to prepare to respond to technological challenges, and this response had to be phrased in the context of the “New Economy,” which meant a need for new thinking and new mindsets, as much as new business plans. According to Bill Martin, author of the journal article Publishing in the New Economy,
Any industry hoping to survive in the networked economy must ensure that it has an appropriate technology infrastructure capable of providing the kinds and levels of service that that customers want. This requires the building of enterprise information architectures that integrate telecommunications and computing systems, front and back end operations, the supply chain, digital data flows, and enterprise management systems of all kinds.
Chief among preparations for the new marketplace for books was to ensure that books moved through the Canadian supply chain efficiently and effectively. A fluid book supply chain was necessary to ease congestion and confusion (and problematic returns), and provide a solid foundation for which to build on the Canadian publishing proposition.
The following sections will describe in detail the constraints under which Canadian publishers were operating as they entered the new century. It will also illustrate how the traditional supply chain model, with its systemic problems, was struggling in this new context. It will emphasize how actions undertaken by the Department of Canadian Heritage aided Canadian publishers in addressing the issues they were facing, particularly with regard to the book supply chain – thus ensuring the continued success of Canadian-authored books for readers in Canada and around the world. (While there were important issues for French Canada related to the book supply chain, this research report focuses primarily on English Canada.)
1.0 The Need for a More Efficient, Technology-Driven Book Supply Chain
In his book, The Art and Science of Book Publishing, Herbert S. Bailey Jr. makes note of the fundamental fact that “the function of publishing is to supply books to the world.”
In order to fulfill that mandate, an effective and efficient supply chain for book publishing must be in place. Book publishing is not just a social and cultural activity; it is also a commercial activity which relies on the physical movement of books through a supply chain. “Books are vehicles of ideas, instruments of education, vessels of literature, and sources of entertainment. But the task of bringing them into existence and of purveying them to their readers is a commercial one requiring…resources and skills…”
Books travel from publisher to reader through many passageways – from publisher to printer, to distributor to book retailer, library, or school, and most often times, back. It is a complicated process of operations, fulfillment, and accounting, further complicated by returns.
Because there are often operational difficulties in the book supply chain, books are not always available, customers are unsure which distributor to order from, accounts are disputed, payments are late, and unsold books are returned to publishers for credit.
The Problem with Returns
Publishing is one of the few industries that sells merchandise on a fully returnable basis. Returns have been part of the North American publishing industry since the mid 1930s, during the time of the Depression. It was a tactic used to overcome booksellers’ wariness toward authors who were unfamiliar to them – if customers didn’t buy those books, booksellers could return the books for full credit.
This consignment system has many negative business implications, chief among them that returns distract the publisher from its primary business of selling books; returns reduce sales and accounts receivable, and therefore cash flow; returns increase inventory levels and reduce inventory turnover; and finally, returns add more cost to the publishing process, especially to warehousing and fulfillment costs.
The reasons for high returns are many and include publishers overprinting books, publishers overpricing books, lack of promotional and marketing support for a book, poor market research, poor coordination of sales and marketing information, publishers overselling and accounts overbuying, and publishers reprinting too many, too soon. To some degree, also, returns are inevitable in a system that attempts to have available every one of the 16,000 new titles in any bookstore into which a reader might walk.
Richard Curtis, author of This Business of Publishing, called the book distribution system “a ridiculously antiquated one.” He goes on to state that,
This system is grossly inefficient, wasteful, costly, and risky. In its worst manifestations, however, it is pernicious and very close to fraudulent. Unsold books, under a consignment system, are a form of currency, and like any other form of currency, are subject to manipulation…All bookstore people understand this concept perfectly: When times are tough, stores that don’t have cash “spend” their returns, buying new titles with credits on books that aren’t moving fast enough in order to keep cash flowing. Publishers, like anybody else, can only live so long on credit – then they start to bleed.
Returns are inherently a systemic problem which causes much disruption to the book supply chain. Curtis also notes:
The consignment system is the principle cause of hostility between bookstore and publisher, and between publisher and author. Publishers condemn bookstores and chains for their profligate ordering. But why should bookstores restrain themselves? They have, after all, nothing to lose, as they can always invoke the privilege of sending back what they can’t sell. To meet the demand of these bloated orders, publishers have no choice but to overprint. Then, when the books fail to move out of the stores, the publishers are compelled to eat huge returns. The only people who prosper from this insane process are the remainder jobbers or the shady characters who illegally sell stripped paperbacks. In their frenzy to keep stores from returning books, publishers are compelled to offer incentives, politely referring to as “slotting allowances,” “display fees,” and “co-op contributions,” that border on institutionalized bribery.
Returns had been problematic for many decades, the largest reason being that returns create unpredictability and instability in the book publishing business. The task into the year 2000 was to alleviate some of the stress returns had on an already temperamental book supply chain in Canada.
Rethinking the Book Supply Chain into the Millennium
It was during the early years of the new millennium that, according to Marshal L. Fisher in an article in the Harvard Business Review,
Never before had so much technology and brainpower been applied to improving supply chain performance. Point-of-sale scanners allow companies to capture the customer’s voice. Electronic data interchange lets all stages of the supply chain better hear that voice and react to it by using flexible manufacturing, automated warehousing, and rapid logistics. And new concepts such as efficient consumer response, accurate response, mass customization, and agile manufacturing offer models for applying this new technology.
An efficient supply chain characterized by effective communication and fast delivery between trading partners is key to the success of any industry. Moving products quickly, partnered with the ability to anticipate and fulfill demand results in reduced costs related to storage, shipping, returns, and the destruction of returned goods. As publishing industry consultant Mike Shatzkin noted in a Quill & Quire article written in the late 1990s:
Too often, books that would sell are not in the store, while far too many copies of other titles soon to become returns, occupy the shelf space…publishers or distributors will have to develop understandings and systems that apply the point-of-sale data to make good stocking decisions, so that they can justify increasing their shelf space by pointing to successful financial results with the space they have. This implies the development of whole new skill sets among publishers and distributors…the technology tools to help are immeasurably better and the stakes, given the current trends of shorter shelf life for each title and increasing return, couldn’t be higher.
In a study commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage by Turner-Riggs entitled Book Distribution in Canada’s English-language Market, marketer and business strategist Craig Riggs notes:
Any serious consideration of the supply chain quickly turns to how the logistics and systems of moving books around the country can be made more efficient. Customers at every level in the chain, perhaps the end consumer most of all, expect the books they want to be quickly and readily available.…virtually every publisher, distributor, and retailer in the market is on the hunt for improved sales and profitability, and this in a marketplace where overall sales are flat, prices are falling, margins are shrinking, and input costs keep creeping up. Part of the answer to this challenge lies in more efficient management of the supply chain: in ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, that the right numbers of books are available in the right places when they are needed.
An improved supply chain for books in Canada using digital technology would result in increased efficiencies and fewer returns, improved industry viability, and an industry better able to produce, promote, and distribute Canadian-authored books. The challenge would lie in identifying inefficiencies within the current book publishing operational context (itself laden with its own challenges), working with members from the industry in all sectors, researching international best practices, and implementing a new system.
2.0 The Operating Climate for Canadian Publishers in the Late 1990s and into the Millennium − an Overview
The 1990s were an uncertain time for the Canadian publishing industry, and none so much as the turbulent latter half of the decade leading into the new century. The following section illustrates the stressful working environment for Canadian publishers.
The mid-to-late 1990s may be categorized as the birth of the big-box bookstore in Canada. It was also a time of great worry for publishers, as the consolidation of book retail outlets succeed in drastically condensing their client base.
A retrospective of this decade in the Canadian book publishing industry noted that,
At decade’s end, it was the companies that thought big or got big, the ones that looked to the international market, expanded or merged, that had the greatest impact on the Canadian book industry this decade…While the story for publishers in the first half of the 1990s was about recession and downsizing, the second half would concern market growth and expansion. The superstore phenomenon drove sales up, but international consolidation left fewer publishers sharing in the profits.
In May 1994, Pathfinder Capital (created by Lawrence Stevenson in 1993) and Canadian General Capital (CGC) purchased SmithBooks’ 253-store chain for $21.5 million. In August 1994, Pathfinder and CGC then proposed the purchase of the 181-store Cole’s bookstore chain. The purchase and merger would create a 434-store chain owned by Stevenson. Many publishers objected to the merger and made known their concerns about the impact of a dominant chain of book superstores.
Despite warnings from the Association of Canadian Publishers and protests from the Canadian Booksellers Association, and after a review by the Competition Bureau, the merger was given approval in the spring of 1995; the official acquisition took place on April 15, 1995. The newly merged chain, comprised of the Book Company, Chapters, Classic Books, Coles, Librarie Smith, SmithBooks, and the World’s Biggest Bookstore brands, was named Chapters Inc. Stevenson was appointed CEO of the new book retail corporation. Shortly thereafter, the landscape of book retail in Canada began to change.
The Chapters superstores, at least ten times larger than an average bookstore, began opening in prime retail locations across the country in November 1995. The first Chapters superstore, a 20,000-square-foot store in Burlington, Ontario, was soon followed by Chapters Metrotown in Burnaby, British Columbia. Within five years, Chapters would build seventy-one superstores throughout Canada. In 1999, Chapters Inc. had achieved estimated sales of $648 million, for a total share of 65.4 percent of the English-language market.
A number of independent bookstores, in existence for decades, closed their doors – attributing the closings to their inability to compete with the big-box stores. The closing of independent booksellers restricted Canadian publishers’ domestic market. Chapters superstores were effective retail vehicles for creating bestsellers, but selling literary fiction, history, children’s books, or regional titles, remained a specialty of independent bookstores. To market those genres effectively requires an ability to marry customers with the right book, known in the book publishing trade as “hand selling.” The hand-selling skill has always been considered the strength of independent booksellers. By 2000, since many independent booksellers had closed, Canadian literary, regional, and children’s publishers had lost significant market share.
Domestic publishers had another operational barrier with Chapters – prime placement for their titles. Consumers browsing the chains’ bestseller walls or new releases displayed face-up on tables located in prime retail real estate assume the books had merited that placement because of their popularity or quality. Suppliers and publishers, in fact, pay high premiums to have their books placed in those lucrative locations. Unlike foreign multinational publishing houses, most Canadian publishers could not afford the coveted retail space, and thus their titles were placed spine-out, lost among the thousands of other titles on the shelves.
In May 1999, Chapters converted its warehouse and distribution centre into a wholesale operation called Pegasus. The new wholesaler demanded a discount from publishers of 50 percent-plus, instead of the 45-48 percent publishers had already been giving to Chapters. Publishers reported high returns from Pegasus – between 50-60 percent – whereas the industry average in Canada was between 20-30 percent. Money owed to publishers for paid inventory was taking much longer than the standard ninety days. These operating conditions were a tremendous strain on publishers across Canada.
(The French-language market was not immune to consolidation by large conglomerates. One month later, in June 1999, Renaud-Bray acquired the Champigny and Garneau mini-chains in Quebec. )
During 1999 and 2000, Chapters found itself in a state of economic fragility. The company was having financial difficulty and was in debt. After five years of rapid growth, Chapters had expanded too quickly and had to close unprofitable stores. Trouble also abounded with the Chapters Online and the Pegasus wholesale operations, both of which were losing millions of dollars.
Because the company was struggling financially, a business opportunity had presented itself – in November 2000 Trilogy Retail Enterprises (a private limited partnership headed by Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz) made an unsolicited takeover bid for Chapters Inc. Reisman started Indigo Books & Music in 1996. In September 1997, the first Indigo book superstore opened in Burlington, Ontario, operating with a similar business strategy as Chapters. Indigo was the biggest threat to Chapters’ market share. By 1998, Indigo had opened stores in Toronto, Richmond Hill, Calgary, and Montreal, with plans to open stores in Vancouver and Edmonton. While other large retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco focused on mass-market bestsellers and remainders, Indigo targeted the same “boutique-buyer” consumer as Chapters.
On January 31, 2001, Trilogy Retail Enterprises was successful in its takeover bid of Chapters, with Chapters shareholders accepting a $122 million deal. On February 1, 2001 Trilogy acquired control of Chapters Inc. The Competition Bureau undertook a review of the proposed new super chain. On April 5, 2001 the Bureau announced it had reached an agreement with Trilogy Enterprises Ltd. regarding Trilogy’s acquisition of Chapters and the future merger of Chapters and Indigo. While the deal was approved, the Competition Bureau conceded that the mega-chain would lessen competition, and thus subjected the merger to several provisions agreed to by the parties in the Consent Order.
As one term stipulated in the agreement, Trilogy agreed to abide by a detailed Code of Conduct setting out fair terms of trade with publishers for a period of five years. The five-year agreement placed limits, to be lowered in stages, on the chain’s permissible return levels and payment periods. To address competition issues in the marketplace, another requirement was the divestiture of nine Chapters and four Indigo superstores, ten small-format mall bookstores, the Indigo distribution centre, and the indigo.ca online store. Trilogy officially and legally merged Chapters and Indigo on August 14, 2001, under the corporate name Indigo Books & Music Inc. to form the largest book retailer in Canada. The merger also brought about the demise of the Pegasus wholesaler venture.
At that time, the Indigo Books & Music Inc. chain (Chapters/Indigo) represented ninety-two of the ninety-six Canadian book superstores, 231 small-format bookstores, and two online book retailers. Much as they found themselves in the mid-1990s with the advent of Chapters Inc., publishers were uncertain as to how the newest megachain would operate going forward.
The Collapse of General Publishing Co.
The end of the 1990s also signaled the beginning of the end of General Publishing Co. and its distribution arm, General Distribution Services (GDS). General Distribution Services was the heart of the industry’s distribution network, but General Publishing Co. was a company in crisis.
General Distribution Services handled the order fulfillment for approximately two hundred publishers (sixty-two of them Canadian) and processed $87 million in annual sales. General Distribution Services had a serious problem processing returns, causing a crisis of confidence in the industry as well as a severe lack of cash flow to GDS clients. The company withheld payment from publishers while it attempted to clear its backlog of unprocessed returns and resolve disputes regarding return levels. There was insufficient cash flow to run the company and, as many publishers felt, there were insufficient staff to process returns by getting them onto warehouse shelves so that they could be shipped back out to Chapters or other booksellers.
After a series of unsuccessful business ventures during the late 1990s and into early 2000 (including facility relocations in both Toronto and Vancouver, and computer problems with a system upgrade to prepare for Y2K), General Publishing Co. could not secure refinancing with a Canadian bank. It did find refinancing with an American lender, the Finova Group. However, the Finova Group itself went into bankruptcy protection in the fall of 2001, causing General Publishing Co. to lose access to its credit line. In November 2001, the Department of Canadian Heritage approved a loan guarantee from its loan-loss reserve program, backstopping a new line of credit for the company.
Operations seemed to get better for a short period of time until late April 2002, when General Publishing filed for bankruptcy protection. The company reported debts of $45.7 million. This included $16 million due to the first secured creditor, the Bank of Nova Scotia, $13 million to unsecured GDS clients and agency publishers (of which approximately $5 million was owed to Canadian firms), and $1.5 million to authors.
With the collapse of General Publishing Co., and in turn, GDS, hundreds of thousands of books were caught in the bankruptcy proceedings. Despite arguments to the contrary by former clients of GDS, the books were deemed by the courts to be owned by GDS rather than the publishers. By August 2002 GDS had officially declared bankruptcy, owing publishers millions of dollars and seriously destabilizing the book publishing industry.
The Canada Council for the Arts as well as the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) intervened and offered emergency funding to small publishers affected by the GDS collapse. To qualify, the publishers had to submit financial statements, cash flow projections, publishing schedules, an outline of their new distribution arrangements, and a list of unpaid author royalties.
In the government fiscal year (April 1 – March 31) 2002-2003 $2.2 million was given from the BPIDP as special assistance to twenty-five client publishers affected by GDS. The objective of this special funding was to ensure the ongoing production and marketing of Canadian-authored books by publishing companies that were clients of GDS. When asked to describe the impact of the funding, publishers reported that the funding helped them to meet their cash flow requirements during a particularly difficult time, thus lessening the impact of the GDS failure.
The Book Publishing Industry Development Program also provided a special emergency fund for authors through the Writer’s Union of Canada for those subject to not receiving royalties on account of the GDS dissolution. According to publishing consultant and author Roy MacSkimming:
The provision of special bridge financing to GDS client publishers through advances on Book Publishing Industry Development Program contributions… did result from a sturdy, time-tested relationship between the Association of Canadian Publishers and the Department of Canadian Heritage. From that relationship, a government commitment has evolved toward maintaining the financial viability of the domestic book publishing industry as a cardinal tenet of Canada’s cultural policy.
After the GDS collapse in 2002, the Literary Press Group Distribution Collective was established. The collective, called LitDistCo, is the distribution arm of the Literary Press Group (a not-for-profit association of Canadian literary book publishers) and handles the centralized distribution of publishers’ titles. The formation of LitDistCo was an important symbolic and financial act of reclaiming power in the wake of the GDS bankruptcy.
The Rise of Digital Technology in Book Publishing
The proliferation of digital technology was on the forefront of current affairs in the late 1990s. The rise and expansion of digital technological innovations created much uncertainty in the book publishing industry, namely the accession and implications of selling books online, and publishing and distributing e-books. In a Quill & Quire magazine article from 2000, Dalia Riback wrote,
The main attraction right now may be novelty, but eventually consumers will turn to e-books for convenience. The Internet has created a whole generation of readers and thinkers who rely on the immediate availability of information. E-books will not see mainstream acceptance overnight, but publishers need to be prepared.
Albert Greco, author of The Book Publishing Industry, noted that in regards to the impact of digital technology on the book publishing leading up to the millennium:
Starting in the mid-1990s, and picking up momentum by the late 1990s, most people on the planet seemed immersed in the “wired information world” and electronic publishing technologies and opportunities (sometimes called the “new media”) dominated the popular press. Week after week, articles appeared touting the end of the printed book and the inevitable acceptance of electronic books (e-books) and electronic readers (e-readers). Publishers were warned to convert to electronic products before convergence displaced them and their employees. Indeed, most book industry insiders found it difficult not to be aware of the tremendous enthusiasm electronic publishing engendered.
Publishers had many questions about digital technology, from digital rights management and encryption to e-book pricing, e-book format, and the utilization of print-on-demand technology. At a Book Publishers Professional Association panel discussion about e-books held in Toronto in 2000, publishers were asking, “Can e-books be made secure against piracy? How should an e-book be priced for consumers? What is an appropriate discount for booksellers? How much should the author get? How much should a publisher spend marketing an e-book?” The answer from panelists at the conference was that publishers faced a chicken-and-egg scenario with e-books, and to approach the impending e-book force, “as an evolution, not a revolution.”
Digital technology also dominated the conversation at Book Expo America in the spring of 2000. Quill & Quire writer Carol Toller noted, “The latest wave in the online revolution – following print-on-demand and e-book developments, which have caused stirs at the last two shows – is clearly electronic rights sales and management.”
Besides the buzz around the digital technology movement, there was also the immediacy of mobilizing the Canadian publishing industry into the new century. This process involved tools as simple as new computer equipment, to as complex and expensive as upgrading to Y2K compatibility, and building more consumer-friendly websites to encourage and promote online book retail. Publishers and booksellers spent thousands of dollars preparing their businesses for Y2K (which placed demands on many small publishers’ already tight operational budgets).
The Y2K computer system upgrade did, however, force many publishers to assess their internal computer operating systems. The upgrade made for welcome pruning of outdated, unnecessary data and applications. However, “as several Canadian booksellers discovered, creating a viable e-commerce site required not only a powerful computer, but a massive budget.”
A 2001 report by Divine Whittman-Hart entitled Canadian Book Industry: Transition to the New Economy states that during the late 1990s and early 2000s the publishing industry continued to struggle with challenges brought about by market size and conditions, a complicated and costly supply chain, consolidation among retailers and publishers, and lack of access to capital. The report notes that “these constraints have made the industry slow to adopt new technologies which can streamline business processes, leverage economies of scale, and provide valuable market insight by gathering timely data on sales and consumer behavior, exacerbating structural inefficiencies.”
Foreign Competition and Ownership in the Canadian Market
The Canadian book industry is saturated with titles published and/or distributed from foreign-owned multinational houses. Foreign imports dominate the domestic market for Canadian books. The importation and distribution of general trade books are done by three foreign-owned multinational companies – Random House, Pearson-Penguin, and HarperCollins. These companies have become the publishers of many Canadian authors and have great influence on the literary landscape in Canada.
By the end of the 1990s Canadian publishers still published more first books by Canadian authors, and between 70-80 percent of all Canadian titles; however, Random House/Knopf/Doubleday, HarperCollins, and Penguin were beginning to dominate bestseller lists with books they published in Canada.
According to a Statistics Canada report from 2000, on average, foreign-controlled companies generated more revenue ($23 million) than Canadian-controlled companies ($3.8 million) although they accounted for only 8 percent of all book publishers and exclusive agents in Canada (note that this is based on a firm-to -firm comparison). According to the same report, imports accounted for 41 percent of domestic book sales reported by Canadian-controlled firms, and the percentage increases to 65 percent for foreign-controlled publishers and agents, indicating an even greater reliance by these companies on the sale of imports.
One of the fundamental challenges in the book publishing industry in Canada is that Canadian publishers bear the production costs of their titles (which is substantial due to inherent diseconomies of scale), but titles are sold at prices determined by foreign imports. The Canadian market operates within the larger North American market – where the average Canadian print run is one-tenth the size of the average print run in the United States and thus the economies of scale are extremely disparate. For a country as geographically vast as Canada, the size of its population is relatively small. At approximately thirty-two million, the Canadian population is one-tenth that of the United States. For publishers this translates into a small market of potential book-buyers in which to recoup their up-front investment, and high expenses in terms of overhead, production, and marketing.
The foreign-owned triumvirate of Random House, Pearson-Penguin, and HarperCollins is also able to operate at a loss with their Canadian publishing programs because they can cross-subsidize their Canadian publishing with simultaneous publishing of titles originated in the United States combined with importing and distribution.
Finally, because of the proliferation and ubiquity of American media, a book promoted in the United States rapidly speeds its way onto the bestseller list not only in the United States, but in Canada, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The scope of the reach and the pervasive marketing power behind its authors allow foreign-owned multinational firms to capture the public’s attention through retail shelf space, as well as with advertising through their assets in film, television, magazines, and newspapers. Without the clout, power, and money it takes to achieve such marketing, Canadian publishers have a difficult time competing.
The Next Generation: the Problem with Succession
As the millennium approached, the generations who founded many of the nation’s independent publishing houses in the 1960s and 1970s were preparing to retire. The question remained – who would lead the charge into the next century? In a Quill & Quire article printed on January 1, 2000, the question of succession in the Canadian book publishing industry was raised. As Scott Anderson pointed out,
Few [publishing houses] have successors, and finding a buyer in Canada won’t be easy. Canadian media giants like Hollinger, Maclean-Hunter, Canwest…have never shown an interest in owning book publishers, and Canadian book publishers simply don’t have the cash to buy each other…
The end of the 1990s leading to the new millennium denoted challenges in a cultural industry already fraught with challenging daily operational realties. The operating climate was “a mix of domestic and international forces tied to technological innovations and concurrent shifts in the way books were produced, manufactured, and distributed.” These challenges had the potential to compromise the long-term health and sustainability of the Canadian publishing industry.
3.0 The Involvement of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
For many years, since the Massey Commission report in the early 1950s, the Government of Canada has considered the availability of Canadian books to Canadian readers to be a high priority. Because the outcome of connecting readers to Canadian-authored books produced by Canadian publishers seemed uncertain leading into the new century, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage became involved in December 1999.
A Committee is a group of parliamentarians, from either the Senate, the House of Commons, or both, selected to consider matters referred to it by the Senate or the House of Commons. Standing Committees are mandated to examine one or more departments. The Standing Committee examines relevant legislation, the activities and expenditures of the department, and the effectiveness of the department’s policies and programs. Standing Committees are empowered to: examine and inquire into all matters that the House refers to them; report to the House; attach dissenting or supplementary opinions to reports, and retain the services of experts and professionals.
The mandate of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is to oversee issues and legislation pertaining to the Canadian Heritage portfolio. “With respect to the book industry, the Committee’s mandate is to monitor the link between the Government of Canada’s support to the book industry and the provision of increased choice of Canadian-authored materials to Canadian readers.”
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (herein referred to as the Standing Committee; for names of the Committee members, please see Appendix A) met during the thirty-sixth Parliament, in the second session which took place from October 12, 1999 to October 22, 2000. Of the forty-four meetings the Standing Committee had, fourteen were dedicated to the topic of Canadian book publishing. 
In order to fully understand the Canadian book publishing, the Standing Committee held a series of meetings in order to assess the current publishing operating environment and to learn firsthand, through interviews with representatives of the publishing industry, the operational struggles the industry was facing.
After hearing much testimony from key publishing industry representatives, the Standing Committee concluded that there was sufficient cause for government involvement beyond its traditional support. The subsequent Standing Committee hearings were a catalyst for the congregation of key stakeholders from all facets of the industry – providing a venue for discussion, and in the end, presenting recommendations to be brought before the Canadian government on behalf of the Canadian publishing industry.
4.0 The Government of Canada – Support for the Canadian Book Publishing Industry
Cultural industries are an intrinsic element of society that make substantial contributions to social cohesion and social capital that pays off nationally and internationally. Culture is valued by the Canadian federal government as a means of building social cohesion. As cultural artifacts, Canadian books are an expression of the culture, ideas, and the experience of the nation, and as such, they are valued by the government for their contributions to Canadian life, culture, and national identity.
Canadians, as a population, are devoted readers. The report Reading and Buying Books for Pleasure: 2005 National Survey, states that 87 percent of those polled were readers (having read at least one book per year), with 54 percent reading for pleasure every day. Forty-three percent stated they greatly enjoy reading, and 85 percent of respondents reported that “reading is very important to them.” The average number of books read for pleasure is approximately seventeen per year, while 13 percent of the population, considered “heavy readers,” read more than fifty books per year. One half of the Canadian population (the median) reads more than seven books per year. Fifty-nine percent of Anglophones for whom English is the mother tongue stated they regularly read books for pleasure, the same is true for 45 percent of francophones and 44 percent of those whose mother tongue is neither English nor French.
Direct financial support programs by all levels of government contribute to the structure of the marketplace for books in Canada. Financial and operational difficulties encountered by Canadian publishers are the primary reason the federal government provides support to the Canadian book publishing industry. The federal government’s direct support to Canadian publishing is made through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) within the Department of Canadian Heritage.
The Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible for national policies and programs that promote Canadian content, foster cultural participation, active citizenship and participation in Canada’s civic life, and strengthen connections among Canadians. The growth of Canadian literature over the last thirty years can be attributed, in part, to a strong framework of public policy instruments that have promoted Canadian publishing and nurtured Canadian writing.
The Book Publishing Industry Development Program
Established in 1979, the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) provides formula-based funding to publishers across the country. With an annual budget of approximately $39 million, BPIDP is the federal government’s most important and comprehensive instrument for book publishing in Canada and strengthens the capacity of the Canadian-owned book industry. The principal objective of the program is to ensure access to a diverse range of Canadian-authored books in Canada and abroad. The program’s four components – Aid to Publishers, Supply Chain Initiative, Collective Initiatives, and International Marketing Assistance – are designed to foster a strong and viable Canadian industry that publishes and promotes Canadian-authored titles. The Book Publishing Industry Development Program supports over 200 Canadian publishers of both official languages every year.
Program literature describes the Aid to Publishers (ATP) component as the “cornerstone” of the BPIDP program. This main component of BPIDP is designed to support the ongoing production, marketing, and distribution of Canadian-authored books by Canadian owned-and- controlled publishers. Aid to Publishers promotes public access to Canadian content by providing assistance to eligible publishers through financial contributions based on their previous year’s sales of eligible books in a variety of genres.
Only book publishing firms are eligible for ATP funding. At the time of application, the publishers must have completed at least thirty-six months of operation as a book publisher. The publisher must also be at least 75 percent Canadian-owned-and-controlled; have its headquarters and at least 75 percent of its employees based in Canada; be a private-sector firm or university press; be financially viable, and have fulfilled all contractual obligations with authors with regards to royalty payments and all other forms of payments. A publisher is not eligible if the net sales of its own titles were $20 million or greater in the reference year and the average profit margin for the three financial years ending with the reference year was 15 percent or greater. 
By the end of its reference year, the publisher must also have published a minimum of fifteen new Canadian-authored trade books or ten new educational or scholarly titles. During the three previous years ending with the reference year, a firm must have published a minimum of twelve new Canadian-authored trade books or six new Canadian-authored educational or scholarly books. During the reference year, it must have published at least one new Canadian-authored book. Normally a firm must have minimum annual sales of its originated titles of $200,000, or $130,000 for official-language minority publishers and Aboriginal publishers. A list of ineligible title, besides vanity titles, includes directories, calendars, maps, games, colouring or sticker books, catalogues, books underwritten by a political party, software and musical recordings, books that contain advertising other than the publishers’ promotional material, periodicals, and books that contain content such as hate literature, obscene or pornographic, material that is denigrating to an identifiable group, and excessive and gratuitous violence.
Eligible books must be either written by a Canadian author or adapted or translated by a Canadian; at least forty-eight pages in length, except for children’s books, which can be less than forty-eight pages; clearly and publicly attributed to the author(s) or translator(s); the publisher’s own title and bear an ISBN assigned to or acquired by the publisher; published under the publisher’s imprint or under an imprint for which the publisher has acquired publishing, management and marketing rights, and be printed in Canada, except for co-published books or books with an acceptable justification.
Aid to Publisher contributions must be used to offset spending for activities that support the production, marketing and distribution of eligible books, including editorial, design, printing, author development, author royalty, salary, overhead, promotion, advertising, packaging, shipping, and capital expenditures.
Other support mechanisms for publishers within BPIDP are under Collective Initiatives and include funding for two main areas: the marketing and promotion of Canadian-authored books, and strengthening the infrastructure of the industry. Subcategories of Collective Initiatives include funding for marketing and promotion, professional development, industry research, business planning, and publishing internships.
Funding under International Marketing Assistance is intended to aid in the development of foreign markets and increase export sales of Canadian titles. This funding is primarily for promotional and logistical assistance, and well as for research to gain insight into foreign markets.
The funding activities in the Supply Chain Initiative will be described in full detail further into this report; however, a brief synopsis is that supply chain funding provides support for publishers’ adoption of innovative publishing, marketing, communication, and data management technologies. The supply chain component was designed to build the industry’s capacity to use new information technologies to improve ordering, shipping, inventory control, and sales-tracking processes. From 2002-2003 to 2007-2008, the primary focus of the supply chain funding for publishers was on the development of bibliographic data.
5.0 The Hearings of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, 1999-2000
The first meeting the Standing Committee held with regard to the Canadian book distribution industry was on December 7, 1999. Briefings were provided from representatives from BPIDP, the Canadian Booksellers Association (CBA), and two independent booksellers. Sheryl McKean, executive director of the CBA, said at the time:
Like many other sectors of the economy, Canada’s book selling business has undergone tremendous changes in the last ten years. Technological innovation has affected every stage of our business, from writer to reader, including publication, marketing, distribution, and retailing. These changes are significant enough to justify a close examination by parliamentarians of the legislation and regulations in place in order to ensure that they still respond to public policy objectives.
Given the concerns in the industry during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Standing Committee determined there was sufficient reason to undertake a background study of Canada’s book industry – particularly on the circumstances of distribution, wholesaling, and retailing.
A background study of the Canadian book publishing industry was conducted between December 1999 and February 2000 by Library of Parliament researchers in collaboration with expert consultants. In order to develop a solid understanding of the Canadian book distribution industry, the research team began its study by contacting government agencies including the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Statistics Canada, and key industry stakeholders, including the CBA, for example. The information requested by the researchers included:
- Longitudinal data on federally-funded publishing grants and programs.
- Available information on the outcomes of federal grants on publishing in Canada.
- Longitudinal data on the number of Canadian-authored titles and their sales.
- Publisher viability before and after federal subsidies.
- Information on the current state of wholesaling, distribution, and retailing practices in Canada and elsewhere.
- Relevant data on domestic and international book buying and selling patterns.
- Longitudinal data on independent booksellers.
- Relevant data on electronic commerce and its impact on book distribution.
- Data on the evolving nature of market share in Canada’s book selling industry.
Database and literature searches, as well as telephone interviews and meetings with select industry stakeholders were also conducted.
Following the results from that fact-finding study, the Standing Committee decided to conduct a more focused review. Four televised roundtable discussions were held in Ottawa on February 24 and 29 and March 2 and 14, 2000. The first roundtable addressed the experiences and concerns of Canada’s largest retail booksellers. The second discussed the related concerns of some of Canada’s smaller, independent book retailers, while the third brought together some of Canada’s publishers and distributors. The final roundtable was a forum for other individuals with a vested interest in Canada’s book industry. (For the questions which were addressed at the roundtable discussions, please see Appendix B). The Standing Committee heard testimony from over fifty-five witnesses representing publishers, writers, wholesalers, retailers, librarians, consumers, industry analysts, government officials, and industry analysts.
The discussions were centered on three shifts in book industry practices noted during the late 1990s and into 2000:
- Innovations in information technology, which have fostered the possibility of new types of computer-mediated commerce (e-commerce).
- The arrival of the retail superstore, which is reconfiguring the book retailing and distribution landscape.
- New trends in book wholesaling practices and ownership, representing a threat to the distribution and availability of Canadian-authored materials to Canadians.
During the testimony before the Standing Committee, publishers emphasized the low profitability of the publishing business, their limited access to capital, and how overwhelmed they were at the rapid rise of digital technology and its impact on the marketplace. It was also noted that despite the growth and the national and international acclaim for Canadian writers and writing, the majority of Canadian-owned publishing ventures would simply not be profitable if it were not for support from the Government of Canada. A briefing submitted by The Writer’s Union of Canada stated, “There is a desperate need for all government departments to recognize that cultural marketplaces are like no other…in a cultural marketplace, there has to be a measure beyond fiscal concern.”
Independent book retailers also commented on the erosion of their livelihoods when faced with the competition of books sold in book super-chains, supermarkets, department stores, and through e-commerce. Peter Woolford, senior vice-president of policy for the Retail Council of Canada testified:
The real challenge for booksellers of all sizes today is that their competition is international…it’s even tougher today that it was ten or fifteen years ago, when the independent grocers or the independent pharmacist or the independent hardware store went through this process. They at least did not have to face large multinational companies working from a low cost case in the United States, out of a warehouse in an industrial suburb. These folks do today. They’re going head to head with amazon.com every day.
Through the witness testimony and information gathering and assessment, the Standing Committee wrote a final report in June 2000 entitled The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry and the report was presented to the Government of Canada. The report examines the numerous issues and influences bearing on the state of the Canadian publishing industry at the turn of the twenty-first century.
6.0 Recommendations from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to Improve the Book Supply Chain
The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry documented twenty-five recommendations made by the Standing Committee to the Government of Canada on behalf of the Canadian book publishing industry. These recommendations encompassed a range of issues pertaining to the industry – from data collection, foreign investment, book taxes, author royalties and book tours, to support for the National Library of Canada and literacy programs, the development of Electronic Data Interchange standards, and technological assistance start-up programs.
Of the twenty-five recommendations made by the Standing Committee, the following four are relevant with regards to the Canadian book supply chain: Recommendation 6.1, 6.4, 6.5, and 6.6. (For the purpose of this report, only the recommendations specifically relating to the book supply chain will be discussed.)
The Committee recommends that the Department of Canadian Heritage establish a five-year technological transition program to strengthen all segments of the Canadian book industry. This must include authors, publishers, distributors, wholesalers, marketers, retailers, and libraries.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Canadian Heritage assist in the development of an industry standard for Electronic Data Interchange within Canada’s book industry.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Canadian Heritage co-fund a study with key industry players aimed at developing workable strategies to reduce and eventually eliminate book returns. The outcome of this work should be an agreed upon initiative to reduce returns by a measurable amount for a set number of years.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Canadian Heritage introduce a technological assistance start-up program to assist smaller independent, Canadian-owned booksellers and small publishers with electronic commerce initiatives.
Prompted by the report from the Standing Committee, the Government of Canada committed to assisting the publishing industry in its transition to the new economy. A section from the Speech from the Throne on January, 2001 states, “The Government will assist the book publishing…transition to the new economy. It will continue to support the development of digital content for the Internet and other new media in French and English.”
The Government of Canada Responses to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
Approximately one year after the Standing Committee’s report was published and presented, in May 2001, the Government of Canada responded with The Government’s Response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s report. The Government’s report addressed the concerns and recommendations presented by the Standing Committee.
The Honorable Sheila Copps was the Minister of Canadian Heritage at the time of the reports. In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Standing Committee, Clifford Lincoln, Minister Copps notes,
The report [The Challenges of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry] presents the Government with a very accurate reflection of the state of Canada’s book industry, and a thorough examination of the issues facing all sectors of the industry…The Government’s framework for support of culture is designed to provide assistance to the cultural continuum, which in the case of the book industry includes authors, publishers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and libraries. The Government of Canada accepts the Committee’s assessment of the industry’s needs, and is working towards identifying appropriate means of addressing them….The Government of Canada believes in that responding to the Standing Committee’s report, it can assist the Canadian book industry in its efforts to adapt to the unique challenges and opportunities presented.
The following are the government’s responses to the recommendations made in the report from the Standing Committee pertaining to the book supply chain:
Response to Recommendation 6.1 and 6.6
The Government recognizes that the book industry is undergoing dramatic transformations as a result of the evolving technological environment, and continues to adjust its support to meet the industry’s needs…. In keeping with the 2001 Throne Speech commitment to assist the book publishing sector to make the transition to the new economy, the Government is enhancing and restructuring its existing support to all sectors of the Canadian book industry….Strategic investment in the technological and information infrastructure is needed for the entire industry to achieve the benefits of better supply chain management. The Department is developing a number of initiatives which will help lay the groundwork for the collection system, the adoption of a standardized communications format, and the development of an accurate and up-to-date bibliographic database. The Department will assist publishers, booksellers, distributors, and wholesalers in their adoption of these efficient-creating technologies.
Response to 6.4
The government agrees that in order to enhance the capacity, within the Canadian book industry, for fast and efficient exchange of information, a standard for electronic data exchange must be established. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards currently in use by the Canadian book industry are those established by the Book Industry Systems Advisory Committee (BISAC), the American EDI standards body. The Canadian Telebook Agency (CTA) currently acts as a mediator between the BISAC and the Canadian industry, in order to ensure that the standards maintained for the American industry are appropriate for, and can be used by, the Canadian industry. Additional research into the feasibility of encouraging the use of EDI is required. The Department of Canadian Heritage has initiated a study of the industry’s current EDI enablement, and will support the industry’s efforts toward developing and using a standard, if required.
Response to 6.5
The government agrees that problems which have cross-sectoral implications, such as book returns, should be addressed through collective efforts on the part of industry stakeholders and government officials. While publishers depend, to some degree, upon the unlimited returns policy as a means of ensuring shelf space for as many of their books as possible, most witnesses appearing before the Committee agree that the uncertainty as to the number of books that will be returned, and the cost of handling them increased the overall cost of publishing books. The Department of Canadian Heritage has taken steps, within the context of the Canadian Book Industry Forum, to begin the process of facilitating collective solutions to industry issues. The Department of Canadian Heritage, with the support of the Canadian Book Industry Forum, has initiated work on a study of the issue of book returns, the impact of this practice upon the health of the industry, and possible strategies to reduce that impact.
The Government of Canada’s responses to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee regarding issues related to the supply chain management were the catalyst for the creation and implementation of a new component of BPIDP – the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative.
7.0 Creating a New Book Supply Chain for Canada
The work towards creating the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (herein known as SCI) stemmed from the Government of Canada’s response to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on behalf of the Canadian book publishing industry. As previously indicated, at that time, the book publishing industry was facing a crisis situation surrounding the issue of book returns, and a long-term strategy for alleviating the problem was necessary. The birth of the SCI began as a partnership between the Publishing Policy and Programs Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage (at the time, the Heritage branch responsible for book and magazine publishing) and members of the Canadian book publishing industry.
Because the Canadian book industry is international, with books published not only by Canadian publishers, but by publishers from around the world, the Canadian marketplace is saturated with domestic and imported books. The sheer number of titles available for readers makes the Canadian industry vulnerable to the negative effects of an inefficient supply chain. According to Ed Carson, president of Penguin Group Canada at the time,
Bibliographic standards and certification, as well as the accuracy of data shared among publishers, retailers, and wholesalers, is an ongoing challenge for publishers and distributors in Canada. It’s not sexy, but in a country where just about every book in English (and French) from the rest of world is published or distributed, maintaining clean lines of information and rights management is complex and evolving almost daily.
To distribute such a wide array of books in a manner that is fast and cost-efficient, the Canadian book industry needed to develop cross-sectoral relationships, gain access to accurate information about the availability of titles, and adopt a means for fast and effective communication among all industry partners.
One of the characteristics of an efficient supply chain is visibility – the ability of publishers and retailers to accurately access the performance of titles in the market. At the time, Canada was the only English-language book market that did not have a sales tracking-and-analysis service. The United Kingdom (UK), the United States, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa all collected data from retail point-of-sale and provided reports and analysis to publishers and booksellers. This market data analysis allowed publishers to make effective printing and reprinting decisions, better manage their marketing budgets, and focus their sales efforts.
Examining Best Practices in the UK – a Book Supply Chain Model for Canada
The Canadian Book Industry Forum (CBIF) was an industry and governmental group formed by the Department of Canadian Heritage in order to discuss issues of cross-sectoral concern. One of the recommendations (Recommendation 6.2) from The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry, stated:
The Committee recommends that the Department of Canadian Heritage contribute to the creation of an industry-wide forum for Canadian book industry stakeholders to deal with industry (e.g. developing a strategy to reduce book returns. This forum would meet on an annual basis and be co-sponsored by the Department.
The CBIF was established by the Government of Canada as a result of the hearings from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage as an advisory group. It represented the interests of each individual sector of the Canadian book industry. Members of the CBIF included directors of the major Canadian publishing associations – the Association of Canadian Publishers, the Canadian Publisher’s Council, the Canadian Booksellers Association, the Book and Periodical Council, the Association of Canadian Book Wholesalers, The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Literary Press Group, as well as a representative from the National Library of Canada. By the early spring of 2001 (May), the French and English member of the CBIF had six meetings, worked in conjunction with the Department of Canadian Heritage official in researching a POS data system, and had developed terms of reference for a study of book returns in Canada. Through the CBIF international supply chain models were examined for their applicability to the Canadian marketplace.
The UK employed a high level of technological enablement, the availability of value-added services, and strong cross-sectoral industry relationships. These factors had contributed to an efficient and productive book industry in the UK, providing a good example for the Canadian industry to emulate. As a result of this interaction with the UK, the Publishing Policy and Programs Branch in the Department of Canadian Heritage built strong relationships with key UK book supply chain representatives, including UK firms, associations, and service providers.
In the spring of 2001, the Publishing Policy and Programs Branch initiated dialogue between the Canadian book industry and UK supply-chain specialists. (UK return rates were known to be as low as 12 percent, where the return rate in Canada was 30 percent or higher.) Many of the strategies used to solve the problematic supply chain in Canada would be based on examples from the UK book market, as the two markets were similar in size and scope.
In March 2001, Richard Knight of Whitaker BookTrack (Whitaker BookTrack provides market information on sales through UK bookshops, which is supplied to publishers and other businesses) attended meetings in Ottawa hosted by the Department of Canadian Heritage with French-and-English-language market industry representatives. The discussion centered around point-of-sale data collection and analysis.
Later that spring, in June 2001, the Publishing Policy and Programs Branch organized a delegation of UK supply-chain specialists to Canada. A panel discussion was held at BookExpo Canada with UK supply chain representatives Richard Knight from Whitaker BookTrack, and Peter Kilborn, a publishing consultant from Book Industry Communication (the book industry’s independent supply chain organization, committed to improving the efficiency of the trade and library supply chains, reducing costs, and automating processes, based in London). A UK book publisher, a UK book retailer, and Canadian publishing representatives from both official-language markets were also in attendance. Both Knight and Kilborn spoke about the various services available in the UK market which had resulted in the benefits Canadian publishers sought in Canada. The UK publisher and retailer both provided first-hand accounts of how their businesses and the UK industry had benefited from better supply chain management.
In July 2001, the Publishing Policy and Programs Branch then consulted with members of the Canadian book publishing industry to identify Canadian supply chain issues and areas for improvement. This groundwork was the foundation for the SCI.
The Formation of Committees to Move the Supply Chain Initiative Forward
Over the summer of 2001, work relating to the SCI was driven by two committees: A Steering Committee (made up of predominately English-language publishing representatives including publishers, retailers, and distributors, and representatives from the Department of Canadian Heritage. For member names and affiliations of the Steering Committee, please see Appendix C), and an Information Technology (IT) Committee (made up of over thirty technology experts from all sectors of the industry, representatives of industry associations, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the National Library of Canada).
The Steering Committee was established to oversee work on supply chain improvements and to act as the initiative’s champion. It also aimed to secure total industry participation in practices to improve the supply chain for books. The goal of the IT Committee was to assess the objectives identified by the Steering Committee and develop strategies for their implementation. The two committees were set up and overseen by the Department of Canadian Heritage and its advisory group, the CBIF.
A similar SCI project was already underway by members of the Francophone book publishing market, as they faced many of the same challenges as the Anglophone marketplace. As the two groups moved forward in their efforts, they exchanged ideas and approaches, and coordinated actions where appropriate.
8.0 The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative
Officially formed in September 2001, the mandate of the SCI was to identify inefficiencies in the Canadian book publishing supply chain (the movement of books from one point in the chain to another; from the author to the publisher to the warehouse to the library and bookseller and often times, back), to recommend strategies for improvement, and to implement change in the industry. An improved supply chain for books in Canada would result in increased efficiencies, resilience to change in supply and demand, and improved industry viability.
According to long-time Canadian publisher James Lorimer,
Everyone with computer access will soon be able to find out, in real time, at no cost, whether a book is actually available from its publishers in Canada or not. They’ll be able to find out, accurately, who its author is, what its title is, what its price is – and a lot more besides. Publishers will be able to tell the world tomorrow that one of their books went out of stock today – instead of waiting for weeks or months for the bibliographic sources of data to catch up with a reality that won’t stand still.
In the fall of 2001, the Steering Committee agreed upon the importance of meeting the following objectives for achieving book supply chain improvements in the Canadian market:
- To realize an improved means of collecting and maintaining bibliographic data, and ensuring access to a clean, complete database for all titles available in Canada.
- To ensure industry-wide access to an efficient and accessible electronic communications platform which adheres to international standards.
- To gain the capacity to collect and share point-of-sale data on the Canadian market for books for the purpose of strategic business planning and the management of returns for all sectors.
9.0 Establishing Book Supply Chain Fundamentals
An improved supply chain meant an examination of and strategies for improvement and implementation of the following three book supply chain fundamentals: bibliographic data, electronic data interchange (EDI), and point-of-sale (POS) data collection.
Having access to up-to-date source and publishing data on Canadian books would result in improved efficiencies in retail ordering and inventory management processes. In addition, accurate bibliographic data is a key component to sales data analysis. It allows for the facilitation of online sales and promotion, and enables retailers to make more informed purchasing decisions.
The challenge in the industry in the early 2000s was that there was a lack of timely and accurate bibliographic data, which was preventing access to information on the availability of titles. This was impeding the implementation of efficiency-improving technologies.
In order to address that issue, dialogue with bibliographic data aggregator RR Bowker was initiated in December 2001 (the English-language industry had been using Bowker’s Books in Print since 1994). The company outlined its commitment to improving the level of service to the Canadian industry and detailed a plan for future product innovations and participating in ongoing dialogue with the SCI. The model used in Quebec by the Société de gestion de la banque de titres de langue française was also reviewed. Also, an assessment of the industry’s technological capacity to create and transmit bibliographic records, the benefits to be achieved in pursuing improvements to the data, and the issues related to data collection in the market was undertaken.
Research into international standards for bibliographic data management was also conducted, as was the proposed creation of a bibliographic data utility-and-certification agency.
The Importance of ONIX in Bibliographic Data Management
Established in 1991, the international book industry consortium, EDItEUR, made up of members from seventeen countries, including Canada, the United States, and the UK, was created to coordinate the development of international standards infrastructure for electronic commerce in the book and serials sectors. The company’s specialties lie in Electronic Data Interchange and other e-commerce standards for book and serial transactions, bibliographic and product information, standards infrastructure for digital publishing, and rights management and trading.
In 2000, EDItEUR partnered with the Association of American Publishers to develop and release ONIX for Books Release 1.0, in order to standardize an electronic system for transmitting universally recognized data among publishers, data aggregators, wholesalers, booksellers, and any other party involved in the sale of books. ONIX is an international, XML-based markup language used to tag metadata elements, such as ISBN, title, author’s name, title description, artwork, subject category, etc. ONIX uses 148 element tags, of which forty-two are considered the minimum bibliographic data required for a book.
ONIX carries both core data about the book, such as title and ISBN, and enhanced metadata, such as book reviews and cover art. XML was considered ideal for the transmission of complex documents between computers, is easily enhanced and modified, and many databases include tools for importing and exporting data between ONIX and other formats.
ONIX 2.0, or Online Information eXchange, was released in 2001 and recommended by the IT Committee as the official bibliographic data transmission standard for use in Canada. Although not in widespread use at the time, ONIX was gaining support throughout the international bookselling community.
With ONIX, when publishers export bibliographic data from their databases (on a weekly or monthly basis), the receiving supply chain partners can receive all of the data via the ONIX message, allowing them to refresh all of the title information in their databases – ensuring that partner databases contain the most accurate title information, direct from the publisher’s own database, with every new transmission.
The result of standardized bibliographic data across the Canadian publishing industry would allow for better access to information on availability of book titles and is integral to selling books online. Solid bibliographic data is necessary for building electronic ordering systems and sales data tracking capability.
Publisher compliance with the bibliographic certification process was considered essential for facilitating the movement of bibliographic data through the supply chain.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
Thomas Woll, author of Publishing for Profit (2002) states that “it is axiomatic today that anyone providing publishing fulfillment, whether an in-house function, an outside service, or a distributor, must use electronic data interchange.”
Increased use of common transactional electronic data interchange (EDI) documents results in faster, more accurate fulfillment of orders and payment of invoices. The use of EDI better informs decision making and helps in cost savings for all industry trading partners. Electronic data interchange allows for the electronic interchange of orders and of accounting information, directly from the buyer’s computer system to the publisher’s, and vice versa. “Orders and returns can be processed quickly and effectively, without the need to generate hard copy orders, chargeback, and other forms of transaction data that were the norm before computers revolutionized the process.”
A large issue in achieving common EDI practices was that industry participants were using a range of technologies for order transmission, customer service inquiries, and account resolution, including EDI, Internet-based communication, telephone, fax, and mail.
The challenges in implementing EDI were a lack of technological capacity to support EDI documents, and a lack of specific information on the industry’s existing level of technological enablement. This lead to the need to identify specific areas for improvement.
An examination of a set of EDI document specifications currently in use in Canada was undertaken by the SCI Committee. Consensus was reached that the EDI specification to be adopted in the Canadian market would be ANSI X.12 version 4010. X.12 was a well-developed standard in wide use throughout the North American industry. The book industry variants of X.12 are reviewed and maintained by the Book and Serial Industry Systems Advisory Committee (BISAC) in New York and by the Canadian Book Industry Standards Advisory Committee (CBISAC) in Canada (an industry body which had provided a forum for the discussion of industry standards, their formats, specifications, and implementation.
Five EDI documents forming the core of the book industry EDI were identified for adoption in the Canadian book publishing industry. They were revised and certified by CBISAC. The five documents were:
- Purchase Order (850)
- Purchase Order Acknowledgement (855)
- Advance Shipping Notice (856)
- Invoice (810)
- Bill/Ship Notice (857)
Adopting standardized EDI documents would lead to faster and more accurate fulfillment of orders, better customer service, and timely payment of invoices. This would help reduce costs related to order processing and customer service. The earlier Canada Telebook Agency (CTA; which was an initial attempt at a standardized EDI program for the Canada book trade, but later failed to gain industry acceptance) relied on leased telephone lines for transmission and was therefore relatively expensive. The new EDI system used the Internet for connectivity, so transmission costs were next to zero.
Canadian industry representatives would also be participating in the ongoing evolution of EDI standards through active memberships in international standards organization like EDiTEUR and BISAC.
Point-of-Sale Data Collection (POS)
A lack of access to current and accurate data on book sales results in an inability to track inventory and predict customer demand. Access to point-of-sale (POS) data results in more informed decisions regarding printing, distribution, and marketing, and improved market intelligence leading to more targeted sales and fewer returns. The challenges of implementing a POS system were many: the quality and timeliness of bibliographic data currently available in the Canadian market would not support a POS system; the benefits to Canadian publishers and support of the retail sector were yet to be quantified, and finally, barriers to technological implementation by retailers had to be determined.
To address these challenges dialogue between the SCI Committees with existing POS service providers was undertaken, including John Whitaker and Sons, AC Nielsen, and the Book Manager.
10.0 The Launch of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, 2002-2003
In May 2002, the Steering Committee drafted a report presenting recommendations for action in support of supply chain improvements in English-language Canada. The plan focused largely on means of providing access to accurate bibliographic information, providing a common and accessible electronic communications platform, and eventually securing a POS data analysis service for Canada.
Later that month, support for the 2002-2003 SCI component of BPIDP was introduced. The Book Publishing Industry Development Program committed an amount of $1.2 million in project funding for the SCI, and $1 million to publishers for improvement to bibliographic databases.
In June 2002, at a book industry summit held at BookExpo Canada in Toronto, three hundred-and-fifty book publishing industry representatives attended a presentation by the Steering Committee, IT Committee, and the Publishing Policy and Programs branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage on supply chain improvement strategies. It was a panel discussion entitled Making Every Book Count: The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, and was hosted by the Steering Committee and the Book and Periodical Council, and sponsored by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Steering Committee unveiled its business plan, and funding priorities from the Department of Canadian Heritage were released at this gathering.
The following priorities for the SCI were made in 2002-2003:
- Publishers – the assistance to create, populate, and maintain high-quality bibliographic databases.
- Distributors and wholesalers – the acquisition of computer hardware and software, and equipment for the implementation of standard EDI documents (including invoices, shipping notices, order confirmation, and receipts).
- Retailers – support for the adoption of a unified electronic communications platform and the improvement and availability of bibliographic data.
Priority for funding supply chain initiatives was given to projects that involve the adoption of functions complementary to the industry’s access to better bibliographic and point-of-sale data, as well as its adoption of EDI. This included investment in computer hardware and software, the acquisition of warehouse infrastructure, the purchase of services, and the acquisition of training.
The SCI contribution specifically for book publishers was based on the level of the applicant’s net sales of titles eligible under the ATP component of BPIDP:
Table 10.1 SCI contribution specifically for book publishers, based on the level of the applicant’s net sales of titles under the ATP component of BPIDP
During its first year of funding in 2002-2003, contributions were provided to sixteen industry organizations and one hundred and forty-four publishers.
11.0 The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative – Chronology
The following table illustrates the chronology of the SCI:
Table 11.1 The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Chronology
12.0 The Development of a Canadian Book Supply Chain Agency for English-language Canada
In addition to the BPIDP funding through the SCI for publishers, distributors, and retailers and to meet its supply chain objectives into the future, the Steering Committee had to ensure that full-time resources were available. To have access to full-time resources, the industry had to rely to funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage. (The Department would only provide full funding for projects if the request came from a not-for-profit organization.)
The Steering Committee therefore recommended the creation of a new, not-for-profit agency that would:
- Promote and oversee a strategic approach to supply chain management.
- Provide training and assistance to trading partners during the transition period.
- Choose international bibliographic and EDI standards to be used, and implement a certification process to ensure compliance across the industry.
- Maintain membership in, and participate in, regular meetings of international standards organizations.
- Supervise and approve the work of the Canadian Book Industry Systems Advisory Committee (CBISAC).
- Merge the Canadian Telebook Agency’s (CTA) role into its expanded mandate.
- Identify means of achieving new efficiencies for the supply chain on an ongoing basis.
After having looked at models from similar POS data collection systems, including Whitaker Book Track in the UK and BookSpan in the United States, it was agreed that a Canadian version was feasible.
The Steering Committee recommended that the new agency should not be an aggregator, but a facilitator for the transmission of accurate and timely bibliographic data to a preferred aggregator. The new agency would also serve as the industry facilitator for the exchange of electronic documents between trading partners. And lastly, the agency would encourage sales tracking.
An Operational Plan for the New Agency
The Steering Committee proposed an operational plan for the establishment of the new agency to oversee the supply chain improvements in Canada. The first step was its creation. This involved merging the CTA into the new agency. This would expand the new agency’s mandate to promote and oversee a strategic approach to supply chain improvement. Services provided by the new agency would include training and assistance to trading partners, the selection of international standards and certification of practices, and participation in the activities of international standard organizations. It would also supervise the work of CBISAC.
Next, a board of directors had to be created. It was proposed that the board of directors be comprised of two representatives from the Canadian Booksellers Association (CBA), two representatives of the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP), two representatives of the Canadian Publishers Council (CPC), one representative of the Canadian Libraries Association, one representative of the Association of Canadian Book Wholesalers, and one representative of the Book and Periodical Council (for a full list of the BookNet Canada founding board members, please see Appendix E). The board would then elect a chairman, a vice-president, and a secretary-treasurer whose term of office would be two years.
A funding request then needed to be submitted to the Department of Canadian Heritage for the agency’s operational budget. Major costs related to the new agency would be salaries, consultants (hired to provide training and assistance, and conduct research for the new agency), and travel expenses (members of the new agency would be traveling to visit members of the industry to promote the new agency’s initiatives). After the funding was secured, hiring a managing director for the new agency would be the primary priority.
The Canadian Book Industry Systems Advisory Committee (CBISAC) would continue monitoring ongoing international standard development. (CBISAC was at that time a participant in North American standard development through its membership in EDItEUR.) The new agency would then expand its role in keeping the industry informed of all ongoing standard development.
A survey of booksellers’ readiness had to be prepared and conducted by the new agency, as would selecting a preferred bibliographic data aggregator through requests for proposals by potential bibliographic data aggregators for the Canadian market. The new agency would play a role in monitoring the quality of the aggregator’s bibliographic products and also in monitoring data collection from publisher and distributors. Following that, the implementation of EDI standards would have to be overseen by the new agency.
Finally, the identification of sales tracking needs and the selection of a preferred sales tracking method would have to be evaluated and adopted by the new agency. The Steering Committee believed that a survey should be conducted to identify what level of information should be made available to the whole industry, and how it would be used. A request for proposal was also to be sent to potential sales tracking partners. The request would have the final objective of integrating the services of a sales data aggregator into the Canadian market.
Other priorities for the new agency were to facilitate the adoption of a standard and accessible platform for electronic communication, and to examine options for implementing POS data collection for the Canadian book trade.
It was understood that the new agency would undertake the following activities to achieve its objectives:
- Conduct research related to supply chain improvements.
- Liaise with Canadian stakeholders, share results of research, recommending standards and best practices, lead industry discussions related to supply chain improvement.
- Assist stakeholders in the implementation of recommended supply chain improvements, which include measuring companies’ ability to adopt standard practices, and develop bibliographic data and EDI certification processes.
- Liaise with third party service providers to ensure the supply chain needs of the Canadian industry are addressed.
- Represent the Canadian book industry on international book industry and supplychain related organizations.
The new agency would also take on the role of the CTA, which would then be wound down. The agency would assume the CTA’s role in promoting EDI usage and standards.
The timeline for achieving the objectives in the operational plan for the new agency was anticipated to take place from August 1, 2001, and ending April 1, 2003. (For more detail, please see Appendix F.)
In December 2002, the newly-created, not-for-profit agency – called BookNet Canada – was formed. Governed by an industry-appointed board, BookNet Canada’s mandate is to introduce innovation into the supply chain for books in English-speaking Canada.
BookNet Canada introduced its plan to the industry at BookExpo Canada in the Spring of 2003. It immediate priorities were:
- To ensure the industry had access to a cost-effective and efficient electronic communications platform.
- To improve the quality and accessibility of commercial databases available to the Canadian book trade (i.e. RR Bowker’s Books in Print).
- To work toward the provision of point-of-sale aggregation services.
- To explore a scheme for group buying of supply chain enhancing products and services.
Once BookNet was created, the Steering Committee and the IT Committee were disbanded. The Department of Canadian Heritage announced $2.5 million per year in long-term support for BookNet in June 2003. A Working Group consisting of industry members from the ACP, the CPC, and the CBA was formed in order to oversee the development and roll-out of the new agency. (For names and affiliations of the Working Group, please see Appendix D.)
BookNet Canada and the Société de gestion de la banque de titres de langue français – setting a Canadian standard for Bibliographic data certification, EDI, and POS data collection for Canadian publishers
After much research into proven industry supply chain practices, input from the Canadian book publishing industry, and a detailed operational plan tabled by the SCI Steering Committee, BookNet Canada (BookNet) was also developed with the assistance and expertise of its French-language predecessor, Société de gestion de la banque de titres de langue française (BTLF). Established in 1996, BTLF had been successfully operating and managing the French-language supply chain requirements in Quebec. A representative from BTLF was on the SCI Steering Committee, providing knowledge and guidance for the formation of BookNet.
Both BookNet and BTLF are agencies providing supply chain solutions across Canada. Both are assisted by BPIDP.
13.0 Bibliographic Data Certification – A Priority
Since its inception in 2002, BookNet’s immediate priority was to ensure the industry had access to clean, complete bibliographic data.
BookNet used a three-level approach for meeting bibliographic standards and for moving electronic information around the supply chain: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Publishers obtained a Bronze certification by using a standard Excel document with the minimum amount of basic bibliographic information required (title, author’s name, ISBN, etc). Silver was reached when the same information in the Bronze template is converted into an ONIX file. (BookNet has a converter which publishers can use which takes an Excel template and converts it into an ONIX XML file.) At the Gold level, publishers were expected to supply dense, well formatted, metadata rich ONIX files (additional marketing elements such as title descriptions, author biographies, and images. For detailed BookNet bibliographic data standards, please see Appendix G).
As part of a successfully functioning book supply chain, it is pertinent for publishers to provide information about their books in an ONIX-compatible format in order to reach their target market. The more metadata fields a publisher fills out in ONIX, the higher their bibliographic certification level, and thus the better chance a reader will find the publisher’s book. Titles with as much rich metadata as possible, most notably images, outsell those without rich metadata eight times to one.
The Société de gestion de la banque de titre de langue francais houses over one million bibliographic records for French publishers. Their bibliographic certification standard is ONIX version 2.1, revision 2. The Société de gestion de la banque de titres de langue française has two levels of certification: Minimal and Enrichi. Like BookNet, these are based on the number of ONIX fields provided by publishers.
Besides bibliographic certification, BookNet services also includes Pubnet (an EDI service contracted from RR Bowker), and BNC SalesData (a POS tracking system). These investments represent major steps toward improved gathering, management, and flow of data throughout the supply chain.
14.0 The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative: 2002-2003 – 2007-2008 Results
From 2002-2003 to 2007-2008, the SCI provided nearly six million dollars to support over 200 publishers in establishing high-quality nationally-standardized bibliographic data. The SCI has also supported the development of national sales data analysis infrastructure in both official languages, leading to greater knowledge of Canadian book industry trends and improved inventory management for publishers, distributors and retailers. The following information documents quantitative bibliographic data results from the SCI from 2002-2003 to 2008-2009:
Table 14.1: Supply Chain Initiative Recipients and Funding Provided
Table 14.2: Bibliographic Certification Results – English-language Publishers*
Table 14.3: Bibliographic Certification Results – French-language Publishers*
Table 14.4: Cumulative Certifications (English and French Publishers)
* Note: a number of BPIDP recipients, most notably those in the educational sector, do not sell to retail outlets. Therefore, they may not see value in obtaining bibliographic certification.
Summative Evaluations from the Department of Canadian Heritage
In order to fulfill Treasury Board reporting requirements, the Department of Canadian Heritage undertakes a summative evaluation of BPIDP every four years. These evaluations address the issues of program design, effectiveness and efficiency by program relevance, impact, cost-effectiveness, and alternatives.
The summative evaluation undertaken in the government fiscal year 2004 indicate that among publishers who had applied to the SCI, “more than 70 percent believe that the SCI is still needed to ensure the strengthening and modernization of the supply chain for books in Canada.” Two-thirds of the publishers surveyed said they expect the Canadian book industry to become more efficient in responding to changes in supply and demand as a result of the initiative. And among successful SCI applicants, “70 percent said that the SCI has enabled their firm to make investments in technology that would otherwise have been impossible, and 72 percent expect their firm to become more efficient in responding to changes in supply and demand as a result of these funds.”
Several publishers noted that the SCI was an important initiative that will ultimately result in greater efficiency in the supply chain for books in Canada, and that the SCI was successful in orientating the book industry toward the need for technological advances in areas such as EDI, bibliographic data, and POS data.
The last summative evaluation took place between January and July 2008 and covered the years of BPIDP program activities from the government fiscal years of 2003-2004 through 2006-2007. The evaluation focused on three major issues: relevance, success in achieving program outcomes, and whether the program delivers good value for Canadian taxpayers.
The 2008 summative evaluation indicated the following percentages of publishers reporting some or considerable positive impact of the SCI on aspects of their business:
Creating and exporting ONIX – 67%
Improved access to large retail chains – 73%
Management of bibliographic data – 82%
Developing efficiencies – 96% 
With regards to the SCI, the summative evaluation concludes that:
There is ample anecdotal evidence from publishers who reported that SCI had some or considerable positive impact in several areas of their business. These include their capacity to produce, transfer and manage electronic bibliographic data, digitize business processes, improve access to large retail chains, and develop efficiencies overall.
In terms of the relevance of the SCI, the 2008 evaluation notes that, “The SCI is relevant given the changes in the Canadian book industry supply chain requiring that publishers use new technologies to create efficiencies and savings.”
The SCI was deemed successful in that it,
Has contributed to industry-wide efficiencies and has assisted publishers to more effectively interact with customers through collective projects and by providing funding directly to publishing firms… Publishers indicated that the SCI has helped improve the strategic orientation and competitiveness of the Canadian-owned publishing industry as a whole.
15.0 The Ongoing Function of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative
For the first six years, from the government fiscal years of 2002-2003 to 2007-2008, priority funding from the SCI was provided in order for Canadian publishers to attain bibliographic data certification, to capitalize on the advances they had made and progress beyond their bibliographic data certification level, as well as for projects delivering an impact to the industry’s technological infrastructure. After six years, the SCI funding structure changed.
In 2008-2009, after a successful six-year investment in bibliographic data improvements through the SCI, BPIDP reoriented its support for new technology initiatives. This was based on the findings from several industry studies conducted by BPIDP which identified the need for increased training and professional development in the area of new technology, including information sharing, print-on-demand publishing, content digitization, and issues concerning digital rights management.
The new SCI funding support is designed to enable publishers to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by technological advancements in the publishing, distribution, and marketing of books.
The Book Publishing Industry Development Program currently funds up to 75 percent of eligible expenses for business planning projects with a strong emphasis on innovative technology. Publishers may also receive funding to offset the salary of an intern hired to work primarily on projects related to technology. Technology-focused professional development projects for publisher associations are also eligible for the same level of support. This assistance is not a permanent measure, but rather a limited initiative to help the industry build the foundation for the effective application of new technologies. BookNet and BTLF continue to receive support through BPIDP.
Over the past ten years – since the initial examination by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage of the book publishing industry began in 1999 – much has changed. During a time of immense apprehension and strain, the Government of Canada and the Canadian book publishing industry worked together to address constraints and concerns and lay the foundation for building not only an efficient book supply chain in Canada, but building sustainable industry capacity.
The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative is evidence of this collaboration. All evidence points to the SCI having succeeded in meeting its objective of supporting the Canadian book industry’s adoption of innovative technologies. Along with sound bibliographic data, EDI, and POS data, the industry now has the capacity to use information and communications technologies to improve and accelerate its ordering, shipping, inventory control, and sales-tracking processes.
As noted by Diane Ouellet with the Société de gestion de la banque de titres de langue française:
The emergence of new information and communications technologies has radically transformed how information is managed in the book supply chain. The increase in editorial production, rising consumer demand, and the pressure to obtain more fully developed data on titles and updates in real time represent a significant challenge to all database administrators. Interventions by BPIDP through support for the Supply Chain Initiative program have assisted in the implementation of a centralized communications and electronic exchange infrastructure.
From its beginnings in collecting and distributing bibliographic data, BookNet has evolved into a multifunctional supply chain management agency. Along with its core focus on bibliographic data, support for EDI (through a contract with RR Bowker’s subsidiary Pubnet), sales data analysis, and international standards to enhance supply chain efficiencies, BookNet also performs market research and manages BNC SalesData – the national book sales reporting and analysis service. BookNet estimates that its BNC SalesData tracks 75 percent of all Canadian book sales.
BookNet Canada is a testament to the labour and commitment made to improving the English-language book supply chain from all members involved in book publishing in Canada, and remains in integral part of the publishing industry into the future.
The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative has helped the book publishing industry in Canada become more efficient, viable, and resilient to changing technological standards and practices. By improving the industry’s capacity to take advantage of the opportunities offered by technology, and vastly improving the book supply chain distribution infrastructure, book publishers in Canada continue to be able to produce, market, and distribute Canadian books for readers at home and around the world.
Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
Pierre de Savoye
Clerks of the Committee:
Research Staff of the Committee (Research Branch, Library of Parliament):
Terrence J. Thomas
Six Key Questions from the Roundtable Discussions
As part of a study of Canada’s book distribution industry, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage held four televised roundtable discussions with book publishing and distribution associations, book publishers, retailers and distributors, book industry analysts, writers associations, retail and consumer associations and library associations. These roundtables were held in Ottawa on February 24 and 29, and March 2 and 14, 2000.
The Committee was specifically interested in the impact of electronic commerce, the concentration of bookstore ownership, and the ways in which books are distributed to Canada’s booksellers. The Committee also wished to understand how these factors were affecting the availability of Canadian-authored materials. As such, the roundtable participants were invited to address six key questions.
1. Based on the available evidence, what can be said about the state of book publishing, distribution and retailing in Canada?
2. Based on the available evidence, what information is lacking regarding the state of book publishing, distribution and retailing in Canada?
3. What are your views on current industry trends and challenges (e.g., new technologies, electronic commerce) and their potential impact(s)?
4. What industry trends and challenges do we need to better understand and monitor?
5. What kind of relationship do you see between your organization/association and other industry players?
6. What role can the Government of Canada play to best serve the interests of the Canadian book publishing and distribution industry?
Names of the Supply Chain Initiative Steering Committee and Affiliations
McGraw Hill Ryerson
Nicholas Hoare Booksellers
Kids Can Press
Éditions du Trécarré
McArthur & Company
Random House Canada
Indigo Books & Music
Department of Canadian Heritage
Department of Canadian Heritage
The Supply Chain Initiative Working Group for BookNet Canada
The Working Group was created at a meeting held by the Department of Canadian Heritage on July 18, 2002. The Working Group met on five occasions – from July 26 to September 9, 2002. The Working Group reviewed the report prepared by Marc Laberge from the Steering Committee and reviewed three issues with respect to the formation of the new supply chain entity: governance, the role of the entity, and roll-out.
Members of the Supply Chain Working Group:
ACP (Association of Canadian Publishers)
Jim Lorimer, Kevin Williams, Monique Smith
CPC (Canadian Publishers’ Council)
John Dill, Harold Fenn, Jackie Hushion
CBA Canadian Booksellers Association)
Todd Anderson, Susanne Brooks, Susan Dayus
(Also invited were Hamish Cameron, Doug Minett, and Brad Fenn)
Founding BookNet Canada Member Organizations and Founding Board of Directors
Association of Canadian Publishers
Canadian Publishers’ Council
Canadian Booksellers Association
Association of Canadian Book Wholesalers
The Department of Canadian Heritage
BookNet Canada Board of Directors:
Kevin Williams (Raincoast Books)
Jim Lorimer (Formac Publishing)
John Dill (McGraw Hill Ryerson)
David Clarke (Scholastic Canada Ltd)
Todd Anderson (University of Alberta Bookstore)
Doug Minett (The Bookshelf)
Peter Waldock (North 49 Books)
Victor DiRisio (Indigo Books & Music)
Allan Clarke (Department of Canadian Heritage)
Gantt Chart of the BookNet Canada Timeline (Set Up To Completion)
Current Bibliographic Certification Standards for BookNet Canada
BRONZE – contains the minimum mandatory data required to trade in the supply chain to ensure that titles are listed accurately by key bibliographic databases like Indigo, BookManager, and Bowker Books-in-Print.
Product Form Code
Replaced by (ISBN)
On Sale Date
Dimensions (height, width)
Availability Status Code
Pack or Carton Quantity
Returns Conditions Code
Terms of Trade
Territorial Rights and Sales
Contributor Name (last name)
Contributor Name (first name)
Corporate Contributor Name
SILVER – contains the same data elements found at the Bronze level, but is transmitted through ONIX 2.1. Data elements included in the Silver level of the standard represent a minimum amount of bibliographic data publishers and distributors need to store and transfer when trading in ONIX.
Bronze level identifiers, plus:
Product Form Detail
GOLD – contains all Silver requirements plus additional marketing information such as cover image, set and edition details, number of pages and reviews or descriptive text.
Silver level identifiers, plus:
Number within Series
Series Title of indicator
Year of Annual
Dimension (spine thickness)
Number of Volumes
Number within a Set
Number of Illustrations
Illustrations and Other Contents
Number of Pages
Audience Restriction Note
Text Type Code
Publisher Opinion of the Impact of the Supply Chain Initiative, 2004
The Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) was implemented in 2002-2003 with the objective of “encouraging the industry’s participation in the strengthening and modernization of the supply chain for books in Canada by facilitating the adoption of technologies and practices related to supply chain management.” In its first year, SCI funding was provided to sixteen industry organizations and 144 publishers.
The chart below illustrates the opinions of publishers with regard to the impact of SCI :
Publisher Opinion of the Impact of the Supply Chain Initiative, 2008
1 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Printed Matters; Book Publishing Policy and Programs; Annual Report 2003-2004 (Ottawa, 2003-2004), 32. RETURN
2 Bill Martin, “Publishing in the New Economy: A Knowledge-based Perspective,” Markets for Electronic Book Products, Edited by Bill Cope & Dean Mason (Victoria, Australia: Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd., 2002), 208. RETURN
3 Herbert S. Bailey Jr., The Art & Science of Book Publishing (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1970, 1990), 11. RETURN
4 John P. Dessauer, Book Publishing; A Basic Introduction (New York, New York: The Continuum Publishing Co. 1989), 31. RETURN
5 Thomas Woll, Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-line Management for Book Publishers (Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press, Inc. 1998, 2002), 259. RETURN
6 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Creating Canada Together: 25 Years of Support for Canadian Books (Ottawa, 2004), 34. RETURN
7 Thomas Woll, Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-line Management for Book Publishers (Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press, Inc. 1998, 2002), 280. RETURN
8 Ibid. RETURN
9 Richard Curtis, This Business of Publishing: An Insider’s View of Current Trends and Tactics (New York, New York: Allworth Press, 1998), 176. RETURN
10 Ibid., 177, 4. RETURN
11 Ibid., 5. RETURN
12 Marshal L. Fisher, “Managing the Value Chain,” Harvard Business Review: On Managing the Value Chain (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2000), 127. RETURN
13 Mike Shatzkin, “Rethinking book distribution,” Quill & Quire, October 1, 1997, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=864 RETURN
14 Turner-Riggs, Book Distribution in Canada’s English-language Market (Report commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2009), http://www.pch.gc.ca/pc-ch/org/sectr/acca/ pblctns/bk_dstrbtn_lv/dst_eng/index-eng.cfm RETURN
15 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Overview” (Presentation to the National Library of Canada, Ottawa, June 25, 2003). RETURN
16 Scott Anderson, “The decade ahead,” Quill & Quire, January 1, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1662 RETURN
17 Erin Elizabeth Williams, “The Chapters Effect on British Columbia-based Literary Publishers” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 11. RETURN
18 Roy MacSkimming, The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada 1946-2006 (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2003, 2007), 361. RETURN
19 Erin Elizabeth Williams, “The Chapters Effect on British Columbia-based Literary Publishers” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 12. RETURN
20 Roy MacSkimming, The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada 1946-2006 (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2003, 2007), 361. RETURN
21 Evans & Company Retail Consultants Inc. Retail Market Study: A Review of the Canadian Book Industry (Prepared for the Association of Canadian Publishers, February 2001), 5. RETURN
22 Roy MacSkimming, The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada 1946-2006 (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2003, 2007), 365. RETURN
23 Ibid. RETURN
24 Ibid. RETURN
25 Ibid. RETURN
26 Roy MacSkimming, The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada 1946-2006 (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2003, 2007), 362. RETURN
27 Erin Elizabeth Williams, “The Chapters Effect on British Columbia-based Literary Publishers” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 49. RETURN
28 Robert Fulford , “The Turmoil Over Chapters Book Chain,” The National Post, July 29, 2000, http://www.robertfulford.com/Chapters.html. RETURN
29 Scott Anderson, “2001: What Odyssey?” Quill & Quire, February 1, 2001, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1987 RETURN
30 Scott Anderson, “Reversals of fortune,” Quill & Quire, July 1, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=4693 RETURN
31 Erin Elizabeth Williams, “The Chapters Effect on British Columbia-based Literary Publishers” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 41. RETURN
32 Ibid., 55. RETURN
33 Ibid., 77. RETURN
34 Ibid., 80. RETURN
35 Canada. Competition Bureau Canada. “Competition Bureau Reaches Agreement with Trilogy, Chapters and Indigo” April 5, 2001, http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/00492.html RETURN
36 Roy MacSkimming, The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada 1946-2006 (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2003, 2007), 365. RETURN
37 Erin Elizabeth Williams, “The Chapters Effect on British Columbia-based Literary Publishers” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 80. RETURN
38 Ibid. RETURN
39 Roy MacSkimming, The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada 1946-2006 (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2003, 2007), 377. RETURN
40 Erin Elizabeth Williams, “The Chapters Effect on British Columbia-based Literary Publishers” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 72. RETURN
41 Ibid. RETURN
42 Rowland Lorimer, Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2009), 157. RETURN
43 Roy MacSkimming, The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada 1946-2006 (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2003, 2007), 378. RETURN
44 Ibid. RETURN
45 Ibid., 379. RETURN
46 Ibid. RETURN
47 Rowland Lorimer, Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2009), 157. RETURN
48 Derek Weiler, “Small-press GDS clients may receive special Canada Council funding,” Quill & Quire, August 16, 2002, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=3744 RETURN
49 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, The Book Report: Book Publishing Policy and Programs (Ottawa, 1993-2003), 2. RETURN
50 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Book Publishing Industry Development Program; Publications; Audits and Evaluations; 2004 Summative Evaluation,” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/em cr/evaltn/2004/indexeng.cfm RETURN
51 Roy MacSkimming Consulting, Making Policy for Canadian Publishing: A History of ACP Policy Proposals and Federal Responses, 1970-2002 (Ottawa, October, 2002). RETURN
52 Nathalie Atkinson, “Picking up the pieces after the Stoddard GDS collapse,” Publisher’s Weekly, February 24, 2003, http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA278372.html RETURN
53 Dalia Riback, “E-books pose no threat to publishers,” Quill & Quire, September 1, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1881 RETURN
54 Albert Greco, The Book Publishing Industry, 2nd edition (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005), 284. RETURN
55 Scott Anderson, “E-book questions,” Quill & Quire, November 24, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=5360 RETURN
56 Ibid. RETURN
57 Carol Toller, “Digital Rights Technology and Canadian Politics dominate a quiet BEA,” Quill & Quire, June 6, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=4170 RETURN
58 Derek Weiler, “Slouching towards 2000,” Quill & Quire, May 1, 1999, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1403 RETURN
59 Ibid. RETURN
60 Scott Anderson, “The decade ahead,” Quill & Quire, January 1, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1662 RETURN
61 Divine Whittman-Hart, Canadian Book Industry: Transition to the New Economy (Report, Ottawa, April 30, 2001), 5. RETURN
62 Rowland Lorimer, Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2009), 153. RETURN
63 Scott Anderson, “The decade ahead,” Quill & Quire, January 1, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1662 RETURN
64 Canada, Statistics Canada, “Canadian Culture in Perspective: A Statistical Overview 2000 Edition,” http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection-R/Statcan/87-211-XIB/0009987-211-XIB.pdf RETURN
65 Ibid., 102. RETURN
66 Evans & Company Retail Consultants Inc., Retail Market Study: A Review of the Canadian Book Industry (Prepared for the Association of Canadian Publishers, Toronto, February 2001), 78 RETURN
67 Sarah Dingle, “Canadian books to readers everywhere: An examination of book policy development at the Department of Canadian Heritage” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 8. RETURN
68 Rowland Lorimer, Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2009), 154. RETURN
69 Canada, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2000), 1. RETURN
70 Scott Anderson, “The decade ahead,” Quill & Quire, January 1, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1662 RETURN
71 Canada, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2000), 1. RETURN
72 Canada, House of Commons, “Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage,” http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeMeetings.aspx?Cmte=CHER&Language=E&Mode= 1&Parl=36&Ses=1 RETURN
73 Canada, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2000), 4. RETURN
74 Canada, House of Commons, “Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage,” http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeMeetings.aspx?Cmte=CHER&Language=E&Mode= 1&Parl=36&Ses=1 RETURN
75 Rowland Lorimer, Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2009), 126. RETURN
76 Sarah Dingle, “Canadian books to readers everywhere: An examination of book policy development at the Department of Canadian Heritage” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 4. RETURN
77 Createc +, Reading and Buying Books for Pleasure: 2005 National Survey (Survey was commissioned by the Research, Analysis and Industry Development Directorate of the Publishing Policy and Programs Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage and its partners, Ottawa, March 2005), 5, 8, 9. RETURN
78 Rowland Lorimer, Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2009), 114. RETURN
79 Sarah Dingle, “Canadian books to readers everywhere: An examination of book policy development at the Department of Canadian Heritage” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 7. RETURN
80 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, http://www.pch.gc.ca/index-eng.cfm RETURN
81 Canada, The Government’s Response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s Report: The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, May, 2001), 1. RETURN
82 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Book Publishing Industry Development Program,” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/padie-bpidp/dem-app/atp/atp2009-eng.cfm RETURN
83 Sarah Dingle, “Canadian books to readers everywhere: An examination of book policy development at the Department of Canadian Heritage” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 19. RETURN
84 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Book Publishing Industry Development Program,” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/padie-bpidp/dem-app/atp/atp2009-eng.cfm RETURN
85 Ibid. RETURN
86 Ibid. RETURN
87 Ibid. RETURN
88 Ibid. RETURN
89 Ibid. RETURN
90 Canada, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2000), 2. RETURN
91 Ibid. RETURN
92 Ibid., 7. RETURN
93 Ibid. RETURN
94 Canada, House of Commons, “Heritage Committee to Hold Roundtable Discussions on the Canadian Book Distribution Industry,” news release (Ottawa, February 10, 2000), http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031326&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl =36&Ses=2 RETURN
95 Canada, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2000), 2. RETURN
96 Ibid., 3. RETURN
97 Ibid. RETURN
98 Ibid. RETURN
99 Canada, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2000), 71. RETURN
100 Ibid., 72. RETURN
101 Ibid. RETURN
102 Ibid. RETURN
103 Canada, House of Commons, “Edited Hansard; Speech from the Throne” (Ottawa, January 30, 2001), http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=37&Ses=1&DocI d=1228739#LINK1 RETURN
104 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, The Government’s Response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s Report The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Ottawa, May, 2001), n.p. RETURN
105 Ibid., 11. RETURN
106 Ibid., 14. RETURN
107 Ibid., 15. RETURN
108 Josh Kerbel, “Canada market in a word: tight: a flat market and supply-chain issues trouble publishers, but burgeoning alternative markets hold out hope,” Publisher’s Weekly, Vol. 254, Issue 19, May 7, 2007, 13. RETURN
109 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (Ottawa, December, 2001). RETURN
110 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Printed Matters; Book Publishing Policy and Programs; Annual Report 2003-2004 (Ottawa, 2003-2004), 31. RETURN
111 Canada, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2000), 71. RETURN
112 Devin Crawley, “Industry committees seek supply chain improvements,” Quill & Quire, September 18, 2001, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=3194 RETURN
113 Canada, The Government’s Response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s Report The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, May, 2001), 13. RETURN
114 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Delegation of Canadian Industry Professionals to the UK,” internal document (Ottawa, n.d.). RETURN
115 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, Government/Industry Partnership” (Presentation to the Association of BC Book Publishers, Ottawa, April 25, 2003). RETURN
116 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Printed Matters; Book Publishing Policy and Programs; Annual Report 2003-2004 (Ottawa, 2003-2004), 18. RETURN
117 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (Ottawa, December, 2001). RETURN
118 Ibid. RETURN
119 James Lorimer, “The missing links: The supply chain initiative must work for small publishers and retailers too,” Quill & Quire, October 1, 2002, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm article_id=2495 RETURN
120 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (Ottawa December, 2001). RETURN
121 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, brochure (Ottawa, n.d.). RETURN
122 In a survey by SIBYL FREI DeGros Marsh Consulting commissioned by the ACP entitled Supply Chain Survey (November 2001 – January 2002), nearly 40% of ACP members provided data directly to RR Bowker, from a low of 25% of the smallest publishers to almost 65% of the largest, 7. RETURN
123 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (Ottawa, February, 2002). RETURN
124 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative: Update and Action Items,” internal document (Ottawa, February 20, 2002). RETURN
125 Ibid. RETURN
126 EDItEUR, “About,” http://www.editeur.org/2/About/ RETURN
127 Elizabeth Anne Grabham, “The real world of bibliographic data: managing and exchanging marketing data at Arsenal Pulp Press” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2007), 5. RETURN
128 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (Ottawa, February, 2002). RETURN
129 Elizabeth Anne Grabham, “The real world of bibliographic data: managing and exchanging marketing data at Arsenal Pulp Press” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2007), 6. RETURN
130 Thomas Woll, Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-line Management for Book Publishers (Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press, Inc. 1998, 2002), 261. RETURN
131 Ibid. RETURN
132 In a survey by SIBYL FREI DeGros Marsh Consulting commissioned by the ACP entitled, Supply Chain Survey (November 2001 – January 2002), only 25% of ACP members when surveyed indicated that they know – or think they know – whether their current software applications are XML compliant, 7. RETURN
133 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative: Update and Action Items,” internal document (Ottawa, February 20, 2002). RETURN
134 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (Ottawa, February, 2002). RETURN
135 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (Ottawa, December, 2001). RETURN
136 John W. Maxwell, “PEXOD: The Publishers’ Extensible Online Database,” Edited by Rowly Lorimer, Jillian Schoichet, and John W. Maxwell, Book Publishing I (Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2005), 330. RETURN
137 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative: Update and Action Items,” internal document (Ottawa, February 20, 2002). RETURN
138 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Printed Matters; Book Publishing Policy and Programs; Annual Report 2002-2003 (Ottawa, 2002-2003), 19. RETURN
139 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, brochure (Ottawa, n.d.). RETURN
140 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Overview” (Presentation to the National Library of Canada, Ottawa, June 25, 2003). RETURN
141 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Book Publishing Industry Development Program: Support for the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, Applicant’s Guide, 2002-2003 (Ottawa, 2002-2003), 6. RETURN
142 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Book Publishing Industry Development Program; Publications; Audits and Evaluations; 2008 Summative Evaluation,” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/em cr/evaltn/2008/indexeng.cfm RETURN
143 Marc Laberge, The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Business Plan: Prepared for the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Steering Committee (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, June 2002), 4. RETURN
144 Ibid., 5. RETURN
145 Ibid., 8-19. RETURN
146 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “BookNet Canada Inaugural Meeting,” news release (Toronto, December 11, 2002). RETURN
147 Ibid. RETURN
148 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Printed Matters; Book Publishing Policy and Programs; Annual Report 2002-2003 (Ottawa, 2002-2003). RETURN
149 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Overview” (Presentation to the National Library of Canada, Ottawa, June 25, 2003). RETURN
150 Meghan MacDonald (Intern, BookNet Canada, Toronto), email correspondence to the author, August 28, 2009. RETURN
151 Société de gestion de la banque de titres de langue française, “A propos de la BTLF,” http://www.btlf.qc.ca/ RETURN
152 Turner-Riggs, Book Distribution in Canada’s English-language Market (Report commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2009), http://www.pch.gc.ca/pc-ch/org/sectr/acca/ pblctns/bk_dstrbtn_lv/dst_eng/index-eng.cfm RETURN
153 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Book Publishing Industry Development Program; Publications; Audits and Evaluations; 2004 Summative Evaluation” (Ottawa, June 23, 2004), 31. RETURN
154 Ibid. RETURN
155 Ibid., 42. RETURN
156 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Book Publishing Industry Development Program; Publications; Audits and Evaluations; 2008 Summative Evaluation,” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/em-cr/evaltn/2008/indexeng.cfm RETURN
157 Ibid. RETURN
158 Ibid. RETURN
159 Ibid. RETURN
160 Ibid. RETURN
161 Ian Wallace (Manager, Book Policy, Book Publishing Industry Development Program, Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa), correspondence with the author, August 25, 2009. RETURN
162 Ibid. RETURN
163 Ibid. RETURN
164 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Creating Canada Together: 25 Years of Support for Canadian Books (Ottawa, 2004), 33. RETURN
165 BookNet Canada, “About BookNet Canada,” http://www.booknetcanada.ca RETURN
166 Canada, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, 2000). RETURN
167 Canada, House of Commons, “Heritage Committee to Hold Roundtable Discussions on the Canadian Book Distribution Industry,” news release (Ottawa, February 10, 2000), http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031326&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl =36&Ses=2 RETURN
168 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative (Ottawa, December, 2001). RETURN
169 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Report of the Working Group on the Supply Chain Initiative Agency,” internal document (Ottawa, September, 2002). RETURN
170 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “BookNet Canada Inaugural Meeting,” news release (Toronto, December 11, 2002). RETURN
171 Marc Laberge, Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Business Plan: Prepared for the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Steering Committee (Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, June 2002), 24. RETURN
172 Meghan MacDonald (Intern, BookNet Canada, Toronto), email correspondence to the author, August 28, 2009. RETURN
173 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Summative Evaluation of the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) Final Report” (Ottawa, June 23, 2004), 31. RETURN
174 Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, “Book Publishing Industry Development Program; Publications; Audits and Evaluations; 2008 Summative Evaluation,” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/em-cr/evaltn/2008/indexeng.cfm RETURN
Anderson, Scott. “2001: What Odyssey?” Quill & Quire. February 1, 2001. http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1987 (Accessed November 2, 2009).
−−−. “E-book questions.” Quill & Quire. November 24, 2000. http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=5360 (Accessed September 7, 2009).
−−−. “Reversals of fortune.” Quill & Quire. July 1, 2000. http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=4693 (Accessed October 17, 2009).
−−−. “The decade ahead.” Quill & Quire. January 1, 2000. http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1662 (Accessed July 14, 2009).
Atkinson, Nathalie. “Picking up the pieces after the Stoddard GDS collapse.” Publisher’s Weekly. February 24, 2003. http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA278372.html (Accessed July 16, 2009).
Bailey, Herbert S. Jr. The Art & Science of Book Publishing. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1970, 1990.
BookNet Canada. “About BookNet Canada.” http://www.booknetcanada.ca (Accessed July 28, 2009).
Canada. Competition Bureau Canada. “Competition Bureau Reaches Agreement with Trilogy, Chapters and Indigo.” April 5, 2001. http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/00492.html (Accessed October 3, 2009).
Canada. Department of Canadian Heritage. Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry. Ottawa, 2000.
−−−. The Government’s Response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s Report: The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry. Ottawa, May, 2001.
−−−. “Book Publishing Industry Development Program; Publications; Audits and Evaluations; 2004 Summative Evaluation,” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/emcr/ evaltn/2004/index-eng.cfm (Accessed August 28, 2009).
−−−. “Book Publishing Industry Development Program.” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/padie-bpidp/dem-app/atp/atp2009-eng.cfm (Accessed August 28, 2009).
−−−. “Book Publishing Industry Development Program; Publications; Audits and Evaluations; 2008 Summative Evaluation.” http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/emcr/ evaltn/2008/index-eng.cfm (Accessed August 4, 2009).
−−−. “Book Publishing Industry Development Program; Publications; Audits and Evaluations; 2004 Summative Evaluation.” Ottawa, June 23, 2004.
−−−. “BookNet Canada Inaugural Meeting.” News release. Toronto, December 11, 2002.
−−−. Report of the Working Group on the Supply Chain Initiative Agency. Internal document. Ottawa, September, 2002.
−−−. Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative. Ottawa, December, 2001.
−−−. Summative Evaluation of the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) Final Report. Ottawa, June 23, 2004.
−−−. The Book Report: Book Publishing Policy and Programs. Ottawa, 1993-2003.
−−−. “Department of Canadian Heritage Home Page.” http://www.pch.gc.ca/indexeng. cfm (Accessed August 20, 2009).
−−−. Book Publishing Industry Development Program: Support for the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, Applicant’s Guide, 2002-2003, Ottawa.
−−−. Creating Canada Together: 25 Years of Support for Canadian Books. Ottawa, 2004.
−−−. Delegation of Canadian Industry Professionals to the UK. Internal document. Ottawa, n.d.
−−−. Printed Matters; Book Publishing Policy and Programs; Annual Report 2003-2004. Ottawa, 2003-2004.
−−−. Printed Matters; Book Publishing Policy and Programs; Annual Report 2002-2003. Ottawa, 2002-2003.
−−−. Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative. Ottawa, December, 2001.
−−−. Signatures: Newsletter of the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative. Ottawa, February, 2002.
−−−. The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Overview. Presentation to the National Library of Canada. Internal document. Ottawa, June 25, 2003.
−−−. The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative, Government/Industry Partnership. Presentation to the Association of BC Book Publishers. Ottawa, April 25, 2003.
−−−. The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative. Brochure. Ottawa, n.d.
−−−. The Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative: Update and Action Items. Internal document. Ottawa, February 20, 2002.
Canada. House of Commons. “Edited Hansard; Speech from the Throne.” Ottawa, January 30, 2001 http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode= 1&Parl=37&Ses=1&DocId=1228739#LINK1 (Accessed November 7, 2009).
−−−. “Heritage Committee to Hold Roundtable Discussions on the Canadian Book Distribution Industry.” News Release. Ottawa, February 10, 2000 http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031326&Lan guage=E&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=2 (Accessed November 8, 2009).
−−−. “Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Meetings.” http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeMeetings.aspx?Cmte=CHE R&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=1 (Accessed July 20, 2009).
Canada. Statistics Canada. “Canadian Culture in Perspective: A Statistical Overview 2000 Edition.” http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection-R/Statcan/87-211-XIB/0009987- 211-XIB.pdf (Accessed November 8, 2009).
Crawley, Devin. “Industry committees seek supply chain improvements.” Quill & Quire. September 18, 2001. http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=3194 (Accessed September 15, 2009).
Createc +. Reading and Buying Books for Pleasure: 2005 National Survey. (Survey was commissioned by the Research, Analysis and Industry Development Directorate of the Publishing Policy and Programs Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage and its partners.) March, 2005.
Curtis, Richard. This Business of Publishing: An Insider’s View of Current Trends and Tactics. New York, New York: Allworth Press, 1998.
Dessauer, John P. Book Publishing; A Basic Introduction. New York, New York: The Continuum Publishing Co. 1989.
Dingle, Sarah. “Canadian books to readers everywhere: An examination of book policy development at the Department of Canadian Heritage” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006).
Divine Whittman-Hart. Canadian Book Industry: Transition to the New Economy. April 30, 2001.
EDItEUR. “About.” http://www.editeur.org/2/About/ (Accessed September 14, 2009).
Evans & Company Retail Consultants Inc. Retail Market Study: A Review of the Canadian Book Industry. Prepared for the Association of Canadian Publishers. Toronto, February 2001.
Fisher, Marshal L. “Managing the Value Chain.” Harvard Business Review: On Managing the Value Chain. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2000.
Fulford, Robert. “The Turmoil Over Chapters Book Chain.” The National Post. July 29, 2000 http://www.robertfulford.com/Chapters.html (Accessed November 25, 2009).
Grabham, Elizabeth Anne. “The real world of bibliographic data: managing and exchanging marketing data at Arsenal Pulp Press” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2007).
Greco, Albert. The Book Publishing Industry. 2nd edition. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.
Kerbel, Josh. “Canada market in a word: tight: a flat market and supply-chain issues trouble publishers, but burgeoning alternative markets hold out hope.” Publisher’s Weekly. Vol. 254, Issue 19. May 7, 2007.
Laberge, Marc. Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Business Plan: Prepared for the Canadian Book Industry Supply Chain Initiative Steering Committee. Department of Canadian Heritage. Ottawa, June 2002.
Lorimer, James. “The missing links: The supply chain initiative must work for small publishers and retailers too.” Quill & Quire. October 1, 2002 http//www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=2495 (Accessed June 26, 2009).
Lorimer, Rowland. Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada. Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2009.
MacDonald, Meghan. Intern. BookNet Canada. Toronto. Email correspondence to author, August 28, 2009.
MacSkimming, Roy. The Perilous Trade: Book Publishing in Canada 1946-2006. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2003, 2008.
Martin, Bill. “Publishing in the New Economy: A Knowledge-based Perspective.” Markets for Electronic Book Products. Ed. Cope, Bill & Mason, Dean. Victoria, Australia: Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd., 2002.
Maxwell, John W. “PEXOD: The Publishers’ Extensible Online Database.” Ed. Lorimer, Rowly, Schoichet, Jillian, and Maxwell, John W. Book Publishing I. Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 2005.
Riback, Dalia. “E-books pose no threat to publishers.” Quill & Quire. September 1, 2000, http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1881 (Accessed September 9, 2009).
Roy MacSkimming Consulting. Making Policy for Canadian Publishing: A History of ACP Policy Proposals and Federal Responses, 1970-2002. October, 2002.
Shatzkin, Mike. “Rethinking book distribution.” Quill & Quire. October 1, 1997 http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=864 (Accessed July 14, 2009).
Société de gestion de la banque de titres de langue française. “A propos de la BTLF.” http://www.btlf.qc.ca/ (Accessed August 28, 2009).
Toller, Carol. “Digital Rights Technology and Canadian Politics dominate a quiet BEA.” Quill & Quire. June 6, 2000 http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=4170 (Accessed November 4, 2009).
Turner-Riggs. Book Distribution in Canada’s English-language Market. Report commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage, 2009 http://www.pch.gc.ca/pcch/org/sectr/ac-ca/pblctns/bk_dstrbtn_lv/dst_eng/index-eng.cfm (Accessed August 7, 2009).
Wallace, Ian. Manager, Book Policy. Book Publishing Industry Development Program. Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa. Correspondence with the author. August 25, 2009.
Weiler, Derek. “Slouching towards 2000.” Quill & Quire. May 1, 1999. http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=1403 (Accessed September 10, 2009).
Weiler, Derek. “Small-press GDS clients may receive special Canada Council funding.” Quill & Quire. August 16, 2002 http://www.quillandquire.com/omni/article.cfm?article_id=3744 (Accessed September 10, 2009).
Williams, Erin Elizabeth. “The Chapters Effect on British Columbia-based Literary Publishers” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2006).
Woll, Thomas. Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-line Management for Book Publishers. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press, Inc. 1998, 2002.