rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

'Devastating' cuts to Literary Press Group: Very bad news for employees and publishers

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou

Got Change? Want change? Spare some and get some by becoming a member of rabble.ca today.

This week, the Department of Canadian Heritage cut funding to The Literary Press Group (LPG), an organization which represents 47 small Canadian publishers.

The money represented one-third of the group's revenue.

In a press release, released on June 6, the LPG called the cuts "a body blow to Canada's independent literary publishers."

One of the major services LPG provides to its member publishers is a sales team to represent their titles in the Canadian market. Currently LPG is responsible for about 225 books.

While the LPG says it is committed to selling publishers' books for fall 2012, all of its sales representatives will be laid off on Aug. 31, and most of its head office staff on Nov. 30. Organization chair Karen Green calls the news "sudden" and "devastating" for employees.

LPG executive director Jack Illingworth called the cut "seriously misguided."

This news comes two months into LPG's fiscal year. Illingworth condemns the timing. "If we had received this news in January or February of this year ... we could have made the transition in an orderly way with much less harm to our association, our members, or their authors."

Illingworth says LitDistCo, which distributes books for members of the LPG and other publishers, will continue services uninterrupted.

Twitter is unhappy about the news.

Jacques Filippi, blogger and LPG sales rep, accuses the Canadian government of "conducting its own bookburning."

Angie Abdou, author of The Bone Cage, which received a whole bunch of good reviews, credited LPG with her novel's publication, writing, "I tried the Bone Cage w big publishers & agents: "Too Canadian, Too sporty." W/out @lpg_canada it wouldn't exist." The Bone Cage was published by NeWest Press, a member of LPG.

The UBC Bookstore also had sympathetic words, and Arsenal Pulp Press, which LPG represents, called the cuts "egregious."

The Department of Canadian Heritage does not have a press release posted on its site.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.