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ABPBC statement on Postmedia’s decision to eliminate the Vancouver Sun’s weekly local book page
April 17th, 2017
The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia is profoundly dismayed at Postmedia’s decision to discontinue the weekly local books page in the Vancouver Sun as of April 22 – including the BC Bestseller List – and to run nationally syndicated book content.
The Vancouver Sun’s book page is an important outlet for book promotion and discovery in Western Canada; with four reviews or author interviews run each week, at least two of these pieces were related to BC authors. This amounts to approximately 100 BC books featured on the Sun’s books page each year. Books Editor Tracy Sherlock has been a dedicated champion for BC book publishing and its cultural landscape.
We were encouraged when, in April 2016, the BC Bestseller List, which the ABPBC provides to the Sun at no cost, was expanded from the top 10 to the top 15 titles. This investment in highlighting local authors and stories was lauded by librarians, booksellers, and readers alike, as it ensured that BC readers heard about a wider variety of titles, not just those put out by multinational publishers with marketing and advertising budgets that are well beyond those available to Canadian-owned firms.
With a shift to nationally syndicated editorial content, we believe the Sun’s diverse and regional specificity will be diluted into a monocultural perspective, creating a gap for British Columbians seeking content that speaks to their interests and local perspectives.
A 2015 consumer study by BookNet Canada, How Canadians Buy Books, found that reviews/recommendations were one of the top three ways book buyers became aware of their purchases, with newspapers and magazines being one of the top sources of these recommendations. The influence of bestseller lists toward book purchases was also identified as a key increase over the findings of the 2013 edition of this survey.
Canadian readers look to their local media outlets to both reflect and shape their cultural understanding, and in a time when the Government of Canada has seen fit to reinvest in arts and culture, we believe that continuing local coverage of books will ensure our country’s cultural discourse remains vital.
We encourage Postmedia to reconsider this decision to discontinue local book content and have reached out to them to request a meeting to discuss alternative solutions that the ABPBC may be able to assist with.
We also encourage readers to share their concerns with Postmedia executives and Vancouver Sun editors:
Lorne Motley, Vice-President, Editorial, Western Region, Postmedia Western Region
Harold Munro, Editor-in-Chief, Vancouver Sun
Valerie Casselton, Managing Editor, Vancouver Sun
Aleesha Harris, Arts Editor, Vancouver Sun
The Association of Book Publishers of BC (ABPBC) is a provincial association of 27 BC-owned and -controlled book publishing companies. The ABPBC works to support the long-term health and success of the Canadian-owned book industry in British Columbia.