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Posts Tagged ‘James Adams’

Previewing Book Expo Canada

The Globe and Mail’s James Adams looks at the upcoming Book Expo Canada – the smaller, kinder, more Canadian version of BEA – and wonders whether putting it on year after year is really worth it. The booksellers, publishers, distributors and wholesalers, authors, agents, librarians and Expo organizers who attend each year agree that “it’s a good thing,” as several said in recent interviews, but most haven’t got a precise notion about what it’s good for, beyond a chance to network. Laurie Greenwood, a mainstay among Edmonton independent booksellers for more than a quarter-century, expressed a common sentiment to Adams when she observed: “Every year I waffle about attending and then every year I go.”

It’s not for lack of trying on Reed Exhibitions’ part. his year, to give the publishers what they want, Reed has worked with International Readings at Harbourfront and the inaugural Luminato festival to run a mini-festival called “Booked! Three Days Between the Covers.” It will involve a potpourri of readings, panel discussions, workshops, lunches and Friday’s tribute to Stephen King that is being billed as his first-ever professional visit to Toronto. And the city, too, is part of the problem. Patrick Crean, publisher of Toronto-based Thomas Allen Publishers, thinks there should be “serious consideration to be given to moving it around. Why not Halifax? Is Montreal too much of a stretch?” McClelland and Stewart publisher Douglas Pepper concurred: “I don’t need any more book events in Toronto. … We have to remember that while this is obviously the largest and most dominant geography for book publishing, it’s not the only scene in the country.”

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Plagiarism Charges Halt Shipment of Canadian Bestseller

Yes, it’s another plagiarism story. And somehow, it seems a good bet there will be more of them. This week’s edition features Toronto author and Harper’s magazine contributor Paul William Roberts, who has admitted that his 2004 book THE WAR AGAINST TRUTH: AN INTIMATE ACCOUNT OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ, contains “elements [that] . . . closely resemble or are indistinguishable from passages” in an article in the Sept. 29, 2002, Atlanta Journal-Constitution by deputy editorial-page editor Jay Bookman, reports the Globe & Mail’s James Adams.. The breach was brought to the attention of the Atlanta newspaper by blogger Matthew Skirvin late last year.

In a Jan. 19 letter of apology to a lawyer for the newspaper, Roberts called his failure to acknowledge the use of Bookman’s material in five of his book’s 350-plus pages “a journalistic travesty” and “an egregious lapse of professional conduct,” but he said the failure was inadvertent, more the result of “the dangers of sloppiness” than an act of malice or bald plagiarism. As a result of the flap, Roberts’ publisher, Raincoast Books, halted shipments of the title to Canadian and U.S. customers on Jan. 8, shortly after it received notice of the breach and “highlighted comparisons” from Atlanta. The stay affects about 2,000 copies of the $24.95 trade paperback currently in the Raincoast warehouse, according to the company’s vice-president of marketing, Jamie Broadhurst.

Controversy for Canadian Publishers Marketing Plan

The Globe and Mail’s James Adams reported yesterday on a new pilot project that has many independent bookstores steaming mad – because the emphasis of this $120,000 project, which highlights themed books and backlist by notable small publishers like MacArthur & Company, House of Anansi, McLelland & Stewart (Random House Canada owns them, so they aren’t exactly small) and Raincoast Books is focused exclusively on the chain bookstores Chapters & Indigo, while also pleading for additional funds from the Canadian government.

One of the key figures in the consortium, McArthur and Co. founder and president Kim McArthur of Toronto, is unapologetic about the scheme, or at least its goal. Canadian-owned publishers have drastically declined in number in the past 10 years, she said last week, and those remaining lack the resources of foreign-owned firms such as Random House of Canada and Penguin Canada. Hence, the need for government support “for Canadian titles from Canadian-owned firms.” As for the emphasis on the Chapters/Indigo stores owned by Indigo Books & Music, “we can’t help it that Indigo is such a big part of our market.” Indeed, McArthur estimated the company, with its 230-plus stores nationwide, “accounts for 70 per cent of our business.” A pilot project “has to start somewhere, and why shouldn’t it be with a national retailer?”

But Susan Dayus, executive director of the Canadian Booksellers Association, which represents about 1,000 bookstores, including the Indigo chain, wasn’t happy with the scheme. “We are adamantly opposed to the balance of that budget, the $80,000, going to one retailer, regardless of who that retailer is,” she said. “We understand it’s a pilot project, but it’s a pilot project for one bookseller.” Frans Donker, owner of the five-store Book City mini-chain in Toronto, agreed. “I don’t buy the ‘pilot project’ argument at all. . . . It’s just smoke and mirrors to try to keep the independent booksellers and their associations quiet.” Last week, he was threatening to sharply reduce the presence in his stores of any of the titles the consortium placed with Indigo, if the plan went ahead unchanged. “This one really irks me a lot.”