By Kelly Laycock
The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library is proud to announce our recent membership with SaskBooks as a Developing Publisher. SaskBooks (also known as Saskatchewan Publishers Group) is Saskatchewan’s Creative Industry Association for publishers. It is a non-profit association of local publishers dedicated to promoting Saskatchewan books and supporting and promoting the book publishing industry in our province. Through initiatives like the Read Saskatchewan catalogue and joint efforts with other creative industry associations such as SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Arts Board and Saskatchewan Library Association, among others, SaskBooks works to make the public aware of the great programs that exist in our province by highlighting locally produced books by Saskatchewan-based publishers.
One of the services they provide to member publishers is professional development sessions, and as a new member, we were excited to have the opportunity to participate in the Spring 2015 Publishers Forum held in Saskatoon on March 19 and 20. It was a chance for us to see what is happening in the industry in Saskatchewan and meet some of the big names in our local publishing community.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of SaskBooks, and so part of the celebration included a birthday party (with delicious red velvet birthday cake!) and a panel discussion with Don Purich (Purich Publishing), Nik Burton (Coteau Books) and Jackie Forrie (Thistledown Press), all long-time contributors to our vibrant publishing scene. They discussed some of the changes they’ve seen in the industry during their careers, some of the difficulties we are facing in the changing landscape of ebooks and online distributors, as well as their expectations for a healthy future for Saskatchewan authors and publishers.
One of the highlights for me was attending the sessions and being surrounded by such knowledgeable and experienced members. The sessions included the following topics:
- The Best Practices in Sales Repping and Why It Is Important (Jean Chichon of Manda Group)
- How to Get Your Books in Schools (Ronald Sirois of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation)
- Book Distribution and Why You Need It (Nancy Wise of Sandhill Book Marketing Ltd.)
- Industry Update (Erin Dean of Creative Saskatchewan)
We also got to see book displays from the attending publishers, and I thoroughly enjoyed our more candid conversations during meals and coffee breaks, where we discussed our own experiences and concerns as they relate to our respective organizations. I found the group to be animated and engaging, and I’m thrilled that our local publishers view themselves as allies rather than competitors in the market. It is a community I am proud to be a part of.
- There are over 40 book publishers in Saskatchewan.
- Up to 100 new titles are produced in Saskatchewan each year.
- There are approximately 600 people working in the book publishing industry in Saskatchewan.
- Book publishing in Saskatchewan generates close to $2.25 million annually in net sales.