Like so many sectors around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the publishing industry hard. With physical bookstores closed and launches and book tours cancelled, the effects have rippled across the landscape with devastating results. “Publishers are experiencing precarity,” says Oliver Fugler of Montreal-based Metonymy Press. “Printers in Quebec have been closed, distributors are struggling, and small presses have been falling through the cracks of available relief funding.”
But publishers continue to find ways to make their books accessible to readers and support their authors. “Our members have responded quickly and creatively,” says Anna Leventhal, Executive Director of the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec. “Those who do online sales are offering discounts and free shipping, and some have already begun to host online launches and readings.” “Véhicule Press is working hard to adapt to the quarantine requirements all while promoting its books and supporting its authors,” says Jennifer Varkonyi, on behalf of the independent publishing house that’s been operating since 1973. “Each member of our small team is working remotely, committed to the press and its mandate.”
Read on for details what Quebec’s English-language publishers are doing to keep books moving, including online sales, virtual author events, and more. Updated with new info as of June 2020!
Many AELAQ members are offering discounts on their web-stores, on books that can be delivered to your door or your e-reader:
- Linda Leith Publishing | Linda Leith Éditions is offering 50% off all spring titles (paper and digital)
- Véhicule Press is offering readers thematic Book Bundles such as poetry, women writers, and vintage noir, with savings of over 50%
- Black Rose Books is offering ebooks for free, pay-what-you-can, or 50% discount
- Renaissance Press is offering a 25% discount on online orders with the code STAYHOME
- Baraka Books and its imprint QC Fiction are offering free shipping in North America on all their titles
- McGill-Queen’s University Press is offering a number of initiatives, including giveaways and increased access to ebooks
- Prince Chameleon Press is offering free downloads of their books for teachers, parents, and kids
Other great ways to get books in your hands include buying from independent bookstores, who have been doing an amazing job keeping readers supplied:
- This map shows independent bookstores across Canada that are doing home delivery or curbside pickup. Search your location to find a bookstore near you (with thanks to Don Gorman of Rocky Mountain Books!)
- Les Libraires is a network of independent Quebec bookstores, and their online marketplace now includes English books
- All Lit Up is offering free shipping anywhere in Canada for the rest of April
Events and Author Apperances
In-person launches and readings are on hold, but AELAQ members’ authors are taking to the internet to share their writing.
- LLP | LLÉ authors are doing video readings and creating posts for Salon .ll.
- Véhicule Press author Joe Fiorito is featured reading a poem from his new book, All I Have Learned is Where I Have Been on the 49th Shelf blog, and poet Sadiqa de Meijer’s collection is featured on the All Lit Up blog
- Black Rose Books author Josh Hawley participated in a panel discussion on housing activism in a pandemic–watch the session here
- Renaissance Press is coordinating a virtual writing and publishing conference to take place at the end of May. Consult their website for details
- Pow Pow Press has a YouTube channel featuring author events
Find Out More
For more information, contact us.