UPDATE: June 14th
In a surprising move, probably after feeling much pressure or just realizing its mistake (which is commendable), the government has reversed its initial decision and decided to award the LPG its usual annual funding through the Department of Canadian Heritage. It doesn't mean that I will keep my job (funding could still be cut for good, next year) and the LPG might still need to make changes to its sales force team very soon, regardless of the new development. And I might just move on to other opportunities that have been offered to me in the past 10 days.
I'll keep you posted.
June 14th, 2012
LPG Statement on End to Canada Book Fund Support
In a body blow to Canada’s independent literary publishers, on Monday, June 4, 2012, the Literary Press Group (LPG) of Canada received word that the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH) has ended its financial support of the LPG’s activities for the fiscal year that began on April 1, 2012. As a result, the LPG will be obliged to shut down its sales force, an essential operation that brings hundreds of new Canadian-authored books from 47 Canadian-owned publishers to bookstores and libraries every year. Without the LPG, authors and publishers lose their access to their readers, and Canadian readers lose easy and affordable access to Canada’s literary culture.
The DCH funding represented approximately one third of the LPG’s operating budget and was its single largest revenue source. While the LPG’s finances are otherwise strong, a loss of this size means that the LPG will not be able to continue operation in its current form. The LPG is committed to selling publishers’ fall 2012 titles, but it will have to lay off all field sales representatives as of August 31, 2012 and most head-office staff will be released on November 30, 2012.
Beyond November 2012, the LPG will look to establish an agenting relationship with another sales force for publishers who wish to be a part of a new collective.
LPG Chair Karen Green said "This sudden news has been devastating, for our staff, several of whom will lose their jobs; for our members especially those in the sales force – 47 publishers are faced with sudden instability, and for Canadian literary culture, readers and writers – a large branch has fallen in the path between them."
(For the full statement, click here)
(The Literary Press Group of Canada was founded in 1975 as a project of the Independent Publishers Association (which was later re-named the Association of Canadian Publishers). The goal of this affiliate was to further the promotion of Canadian publishers producing primarily literary works. Its sales force and distribution operations were initiated in earnest in 1987 and 1988. In 1995, the LPG was incorporated as its own organization, in recognition of its importance as a sales and distribution agency, and in 1998, it shifted from using part-time, commissioned sales representatives to full-time, salaried sales staff, with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Since that time DCH has been consistent in its support of the LPG’s sales activities, recognizing their importance in being the bridge that brings Canadian-published literary books to their readers.)