The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Those ebooks you keep downloading are leading to the death of independent Canadian publishers.
Penguin and Random House will be combining in an effort to compete with Amazon, Google and Apple. The newly formed Penguin Random House will, according to a CBC News article, create the world’s largest publisher of consumer books, with control over about a quarter of the market.
The merger was necessary because of the popularity of ebooks and, in particular, Amazon’s domination of the market. Amazon isn’t really a publishing company either, it’s a side thing for it. Like another gadget in Batman’s belt, Amazon could take a hit in the ebook market with ease.
This focus on ebooks and profits is lethal poison to Canada’s independent publishers, who can’t compete with the market’s giants. So what? Adapt or die, right?
Well that’s just what’s happening. Publishers are being forced to focus on publishing bestsellers rather than best stories.
The Toronto Star recently reported that Douglas & McIntyre, a Canadian publisher of 40 years, filed for bankruptcy this October and a year earlier another major independent publisher, Key Porter, was shut down.
The danger in losing independent publishers is that we lose independent voices. Instead of getting great stories from first-time writers, and Canadians of all walks of life, we’re going to get nothing but bestsellers.
Bestsellers don’t mean best books either, books like Fifty Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games and so forth might sell well but the most important stories of all time didn’t always sell well, in fact, some great novelists were dead before their books received any acclaim.
Non-fiction books too will be hit hard by a loss of independent publishers, like a high school nerd in a popularity contest, works of journalism and history, for some reason, just can’t compete in a profit driven market.
If you look at the CanLit awards this year, 12 of the 25 short-list slots were filled by books published by independent Canadian publishers.
Like someone on a diet we need to be more concious consumers when buying our intellectual nourishment. If you want a world where your brain is healthy and fit on a diet of science, history and great Canadian works of fiction, then read the label before you buy.