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Librex Expression | Trécarré | Stanké | Logiques | Publistar

One of the most important French Canadian publishing groups
Since January 2005, Groupe Librex has brought together five general interest publishing houses to offer a wide array of literary genres, including fiction, biographies and personal accounts, essays, how- to books, travel guides and illustrated reference works, all intended for the general public. Groupe Librex is a creative unit of more than 30 individuals whose mission is to edit, publish and promote some 120 new works annually in paper format and, since 2010, in digital format.

Groupe Librex Stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012

Hall 8.0 L956
Our books worldwide
Rights sold: Arab World (Arab Scientific Publishers)… Australia and New Zealand (Allen & Unwin)… Brazil (Vozes)… Bulgaria (Colibri)… Canada – English (McClelland & Stewart)… Canada Book Club (Québec Loisirs)… Croatia (Mladinska knjiga)… Czech Republic (Vysehrad)… Denmark (People’s Press / Art People)… Finland (Otava)… France (Solar)… France – Pocket (Le Livre de Poche)… Germany (Kösel)… Greece (Modern Times)… Hungary (Kossuth Kiado)… Indonesia (P.T. Gramedia Pustaka Utama)… Italy (Sperling & Kupfer)… Korea (HanEon Community Co)… Latin America (Editorial El Ateneo)… Norway (Kagge)… Poland (Delta)… Portugal (Guerra e Paz)… Romania (XPOSED Media)… Russia (Eksmo)… Slovak Republic (Balneotherma)… Slovenia (Mladinska knjiga)… Spain (RBA)… The Netherlands (Kosmos)… United Kingdom and USA (Dorling Kindersley)…

Rights sold: Albania (Dritan)… Bulgaria (Colibri)… Canada – English (Random House)… Canada Book Club (Québec Loisirs)… Czech Republic (Emitos)… France (Liana Levi)… France – Pocket (Le Livre de Poche)… France Book Club (France Loisirs, Grand Livre du Mois)… Germany (Kunstmann)… Italy (Nottetempo)… Japon (Sairyu Sha)… Norway (Perleblekk)… Poland (Drzewo Babel)… Portugal (Objectiva)… Romania (Spandugino)… Spain and Latin America (Alfaguara)… Serbia (Clio)… Sweden (Sekwa)… The Netherlands (Van Gennep)… United Kingdom and Australia (Clerkenwell Press)… USA (Bloomsbury) Motion picture rights: Pixcom

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Groupe Librex


An Overview
By Robin Philpot


Jack Kerouac, whose parents hailed from Québec and whose ancestors included Indian men and women, is considered by some to be a Québec writer in exile. Kerouac is known to have said that he “refashioned English to fit French images, ” and his quest for recognition as being indigenous to North America could be a metaphor for Québec. The only difference is that most of those French images are now well rendered in French, thanks to a vibrant publishing industry that has flourished since the late 1960s.

n her only book about her adopted country of Canada (The Question of Separatism: Quebec and the Struggle Over Sovereignty), Jane Jacobs wrote that Québec has its old and its new story. The old story began with the founding in the early 17th century of New France, an area that encompassed most of North America, which now explains all those French place names throughout the American Midwest. Then came defeat by the British in 1759 during the Seven Years’ War, known to Americans, tellingly, as the French and Indian War. Defeat was followed by the struggle to survive under British colonial rule and then within the Canadian federation, established in 1867. The new story, according to Jacobs, began in the 1960s with the “quiet revolution.” It involved Québec’s French-speaking majority gaining control over the levers of economic, cultural, social, and political

power—French is the #1 language for about 90% of Qu é becers. The results were far-reaching. Major strides were made in education, the economy bloomed, poverty was reduced, and the role of the French language was greatly enhanced, becoming the lingua franca, after English had dominated in most areas for more than a century. In writing the new story, Québecers—now eight million—have had to counter forms of cultural domination that stem more from demographics than from any malevolent über power. Overwhelmingly English-speaking North America (some 330 million) boasts powerful cultural industries with global reach. If Finns or Senegalese, for example, despite the great distance separating them from North America, feel a threat to local culture, it’s not surprising to learn that Québecers too feel threatened. French is a strong international language, which is obviously an asset for Québec. Yet France, with a population of 65 million people and its own global cultural industry, has also represented a threat, particularly in writing and publishing. Like the judoka who uses their opponents’ power to defeat them, Québecers have turned these threats to their advantage. Yet the prerequisite has been the development of a vibrant society and a thriving culture. For the book industry, this has meant building on homegrown talent and then ensuring that all links in the book chain are solid and viable, from writers, through publishers, printers, and distributors, to booksellers, libraries, and now e-book aggregators. Government support, both legislative and financial, has been crucial. The results speak for themselves. For instance, unlike elsewhere in Canada and the United States, Québec has not experienced the meltdown of indie bookstores. Even small towns still boast a respectable number of bookstores. Thus in the presence of huge players who dominate the English- and French-language book industries, Québec publishers have learned to put their authors’ books into the hands of readers—and into e-book readers—everywhere. Not only in these two languages but also in many other languages. Similarly, through acquisitions, they have introduced authors from throughout the world to Québecers and to other French-language readers in the world. So if Jack Kerouac had been born in 1992 instead of 1922, he would have been able to publish some of his “French images” directly in his mother tongue. Robin Philpot is the publisher at Baraka Books, which reissued Jane Jacobs’s The Question of Separatism last year..
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A conversation with Denis Vaugeois

By Luca Palladino

There was a time in the French-speaking province of Québec when illiteracy ran rampant and books and libraries were scarce and subject to moral censure. In those early days, one of the first Churchcontrolled publishing houses saw fit to issue a moral rating system for books. “For my part, recalls Denis Vaugeois in his ode ” to books and publishing entitled L ’amour du livre (For the love of books), “I would stop at the youth library every day and pile up on books for myself and some of the boarders at school; we devoured books. And I remember, I would always have to go to the principal’s office to have my reading material approved. ”

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cal figure, and Vaugeois became Minister of Cultural Affairs for the Government of Québec under the Parti Québécois. “The newspapers said that the mountain had given birth to a mouse,” Vaugeois reminisces, “but the mouse had a few tricks up its sleeve, tricks like a law regulating books and an ambitious plan for developing public libraries.” The new Minister also passed a law in December 1978 to create the SDIC (ancestor of the SODEC), an economic development agency for the arts industry. These three axes of cultural development—the Book Law (or Bill 51), the library network, and the SDIC—changed the face of the book market in Québec.

as it coincidence or fate that gave Vaugeois access to one of the only French bibliothèques in the province at a time when Québec was a literary wasteland? When he provided friends with books, offering knowledge to open minds, how was he to know—and at such a young age—that spreading words would be his mission for the rest of his life. At first, Vaugeois dabbled in all facets of the book industry. “I was a bit of an author, a bit of a publisher, I even founded a distributor, Dimedia,” he recounts in an interview. “I bought a printing press because I wanted the pages of my books sewn, but the printer I approached told me it would be too expensive. They then asked me whether I would be willing to buy their company in order to print the book, so I did.” Then, on February 28, 1978, he got a call from René Lévesque, Denis Vaugeois Québec’s legendary politi-

Made-in-Québec Book Chain

During WW II, 27 local publishers popped up to fill the void left by the war-time interruption of trade with French publishing. When the war ended, so did the good times for Québec publishers, as French books inundated the Québec market once again and all but four of 23 Québec publishers lost their budding businesses. In the 1960s, the Québec government, under Prime Minister Jean Lesage, made some laudable efforts to help the book industry, such as creating the first Ministry of Cultural Affairs, accrediting booksellers for the first time, and creating an official inquiry commission on books. But the Ministry of Cultural

Québec Édition, an international showcase for Québec and French Canadian publishing for over 25 years. Québec Édition is an Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL) committee. It is designed to support the export activities of publishers by organizing group booths at trade shows and international networking events. MEET US ANYWHERE AROUND THE WORLD Salon du livre des Rendez-vous de l’histoire de Blois Salon du livre et de la presse de Genève Salon du livre de Paris Bologna Children’s Book Fair Foire du livre de Bruxelles Frankfurter Buchmesse Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara

Québec Édition 2514 Rosemont Boulevard Montréal (Québec) H1Y 1K4 +1 514 273-8130 quebecedition.qc.ca anel.qc.ca info@anel.qc.ca

The operations of Québec Édition are made possible by the support of

Visit us at the Frankfurter Buchmesse from October 10th to 14th 2012. Booth 919, Hall 6.1


If you’ve ever been in Hall 6.1 of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Hall 29 of the Bologna Book Fair, or the main halls of the Guadalajara and the Paris Book Fairs, you may have noticed a distinctive collective stand. A stand full of activities, laughter, hugs; a collective stand where business is doing well and cocktails flow. You’ve arrived in Québec. [For more on Quebec’s international presence, see “The International Play,” p. 11.} For the last 30 years, Québec French-language publishers, via their association, ANEL, have developed a committee—the Québec Édition committee—the mandate of which is to increase the international visibility of Quebec publishers and support export activities through collective stands at international fairs. Furthermore, the committee is mandated to set up both exploratory missions and missions to receive other delegations. The Québec government financially supports Québec Édition through SODEC (the Society for Development of Cultural Enterprises), as does the Canadian government via Canadian Heritage. “SODEC gave the Québec Édition committee the important mission of organizing the collective presence of Québec book publishers in fairs all over the world,” explains François Macerola, president and CEO of SODEC. “Québec’s publishers are very active on the international scene, as proven by the total revenues for book export—C$37 million in 2010, and for the sale of rights, almost C$5 million.” The ANEL brings together approximately 100 publishers working in all publishing fields—from children’s books and school books to poetry, biographies, essays, and travel guides. Several of the publishers are active internationally and can be found at the Québec Édition collective stand during the coming months at Frankfurt, Salon du Livre de Blois (outside of Paris), Guadalajara, Brussels, Paris, Bologna, and Geneva. Along with these, Québec Édition organizes exploratory missions. In August 2012, a mission went to São Paolo and, in December 2012 will go to Haiti. Besides these exploratory missions, Québec Édition also organizes activities in which Québec publishers receive foreign publishers, usually during events in Québec, in order to build business relationships. The next two events are the Salon du livre de Montréal (Montréal Book Fair) in November 2012, where Quebec publishers will greet British and German publishers, and the Salon du Livre International de Québec (Québec City International Book Fair) in April 2013, where American publishers will be hosted. —Stéphane Labbé

To the Fairs! To Québec Édition!

d o m i n i q u e e t co m p a g n i e . co m

K-949 In Hall 8, rankfurt at the F Book Fair.

Canada | France | Belgique | Suisse

Affairs was severely underfunded and the reports of the commission were lost in bureaucracy. Québec publishers were thrown a bone in the form of the Publishers Loss Insurance Act, which committed the government to buy a minimum percentage of a publisher’s unsold books. But the law proved to be counterproductive, and, at the end of the 1960s, the situation for Québec’s publishers worsened when several American-owned publishers, such as McGraw-Hill, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, and Prentice Hall, opened offices in Montreal and entered into direct competition with French-language publishers by translating their textbooks into French. Meanwhile, Hachette, a French publisher and distributor, opened a second bookstore and expanded, adding large-scale distribution operations. The competition was fierce and Québec publishers were struggling in their own province. By 1978, the era of Catholic and Protestant committees picking morally righteous texts was a thing of the past, but Québec had failed to enter any kind of literary modernity, lagging far behind in the quantity and quality of its libraries, booksellers, publishers, and distributors. But change was in the air. With the election of the Parti Québécois in 1976 and the appointment of Vaugeois as Culture Minister, the table was set for a reversal of fortunes. Armed with a team of young, competent bureaucrats, Vaugeois introduced Bill 51, which is known in Québec as “the Act respecting the development of Québec firms in the book industry,” giving birth to the made-in-Québec book supply chain and to the modern network of libraries. Bill 51, passed in 1979, legislated an entire new accreditation process for Québec’s book industry. To qualify for this new accreditation, booksellers had to hold a minimum inventory of 6,000 unique titles, 2,000 of which had to be published in Québec. They had to receive standing orders of books from at least 25 accredited publishers and keep these standing orders of books on the shelves a minimum of 120 days. Booksellers also had to deal directly with accredited distributors. Furthermore, book sales had to represent 50% of total sales or be worth at least $300,000 if the bookseller was located in a town of more than 10,000 inhabitants or $150,000 if there were less than 10,000 inhabitants. But, above all else, booksellers in Québec had to be 100% owned by Québecers. Bill 51 landed like a bombshell in the Québec, and French, book industry. “The law introduced accreditation and forced accredited booksellers to receive their supplies from an exclusive distributor who was also accredited. It meant the end of direct purchases of French books from France,” recalls Vaugeois with a smile. “When we came out with the law regulating books, there was a huge international reaction, especially in France.

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“The best place to start for an understanding “The best place to start an understanding “The best place to start forfor an understanding of Quebec politics is to go through Quebec’s long history. of Quebec politicsto go go through Quebec’s long history. is to through Quebec’s long history. of Quebec politics is in Montreal, I’ve been reading Since arriving Since arriving Montreal, I’ve been reading Since arriving in in Montreal, I’ve been reading A People’s History of Quebec in order to better understand A People’s History Quebec in order better understand of Quebec in order to better A People’s History ofof the city wheretonow play.”understand the history I thethe history thethe city where I now play.” history of of city where I now play.” Andrew Wenger, Hermann Trophy Winner and Professional Andrew Wenger, Hermann Trophy Winner and Andrew Wenger, Hermann Trophy WinnerImpact Professional Soccer Player with the Montréal and Professional Soccer Player with Montréal Impact Soccer Player with thethe Montréal Impact

Winner of the 2012 Canadian Jewish Book Award for History Winner of 2012 Canadian Jewish Book Award for History Canadian Winner of thethe 2012the KofflerJewish Book Award for History conferred by Centre of the Arts. conferred by the Koffler Centre thethe Arts. conferred by the Koffler Centre of of Arts. “Vaugeois’s fascinating account, amply illustrated by archival “Vaugeois’s fascinating account, amply illustrated archival archival “Vaugeois’s fascinating account, amply illustrated by byof documents, is a valuable contribution to the history documents, is a valuable contribution to history of documents, is a valuable contribution to thethe history of Quebec, Canada and minority-majority relations.” Quebec, Canada and minority-majority relations.” Quebec, Canada and minority-majority relations.” The Montreal Gazette The Montreal Gazette The Montreal Gazette

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The word “salon” brings us back to the literary salons usually organized by well-to-do French ladies between the 16th and 19th century. In these salons littéraires, the aristocrats mingled with writers and philosophers, having epic debates that fomented a culture of knowledge and explosive ideas. Today’s salons du livre (book fairs open to the public) hark back to those ideals, but leave elitism behind. Québec’s salons are not for aristocrats and they’re not trade shows either; they are massive, over-the-top book bacchanals for the masses, and the masses come in droves. “There are nine salons du livre in Québec, which covers the whole of the territory,” says Robin Doucet, director of the Salon du livre de Rimouski, the first of its kind, which celebrates its 47th event in 2012. “The salon du livre is an amalgamation of stands that present new releases and earlier works from publishers. To make the words come alive, publishers invite writers to meet and truly exchange with readers through one-on-one discussions or round tables on the main stage.” In the days preceding a salon du livre, a media frenzy surrounds the event and readers start getting salon fever. In 2011, 120,000 readers invaded Montréal’s salon while Québec City’s salon hit the 60,000 mark, record years for both. People walk out dazed and confused, high on the smell of printed ink, their arms heavy with new books in large cotton bags. “I always have a waiting list for exhibitors. The demand for stands outstrips the supply every year,” says Francine Bois, director of the Salon du livre de Montréal, confirming the popularity of the event. “People simply can’t wait for the salon to open its doors in November—it has made its place in the hearts of citizens.” The salons run from October to May every year, providing authors and publishers with an extra means of promoting and selling their works. These events also encourage literary innovation by presenting the written word in multiple formats. One such example was the show Les bruits du monde (Whispers of the World) presented by the Mémoire d’encrier publishing house at the Salon du livre de Rimouski. This event mixed the sweet words of Québec, Caribbean, and First Nations authors with the sounds of Inuit throat singing and world beat drums. These salons enable the written word to jump off the page and readers to fall into books. Take out your walking shoes, count your money (so you won’t spend too much), and take a deep breath: you are about to enter a paperback paradise. —Luca Palladino

Their national publishers’ association said, ‘That’s not the way it’s going to go down.’ They accused us of protectionism and cried foul. The French wanted to stop Bill 51 because of its 100% Québec ownership rule. For my part, I would have been willing to go down to 80%, but my lawyers said, ‘Denis, if you accept 10% foreign ownership you wouldn’t be able to control it, you won’t know if it’s 10, 15, 30, or 50%. It’s 100% or you have a problem.’ So I said, ‘100%.’ ” Practically overnight, the Québec book industry developed by leaps and bounds and an entire book supply chain was created and nurtured by its stakeholders. Says Gaston Bellemare, president of the ANEL (the association of Québec’s French-language publishers), “’It’s really inspiring that, with such a small population, we were able to take hold of such a share of the market. Right now, both in bookstores and libraries, about a third of the books are published in Québec, a third come from France, and the remainder made up of international translations.” Indeed, in Québec, the number of accredited booksellers jumped from 168 in 1983 to 211 in 2000—nearly half of the 450 book retail outlets in the province—with an annual growth rate of 8.4%. What is more impressive is the selling power of accredited booksellers: between 2004 and 2006, 75% of their sales were of new books.


dias, and educational texts, while a discount of at least 40% was required for literary books. On the other hand, accredited booksellers were obligated to sell books at the publisher’s list or net price. Just short of price fixing, these policies did in fact have a positive impact on inflationary tendencies and overblown discounting that characterize much of the new releases in the Canadian—and American—markets today. Vaugeois admits that, had Bill 51 passed a few months later, books in Québec would probably have fixed prices today. “When we announced Bill 51, the French on their side were working on fixed pricing. They came out with their policy six months later. Had they announced it six months earlier, it would have been in our law too. Fixed pricing would have avoided price wars between the mid-size bookstores that cost the livelihood of few small booksellers. It would have also protected accredited booksellers from big box stores.” In the end, Vaugeois managed to rally the fiercest opponents to his Book Law, even the French, because it was successful in structuring the Québec book market through a vigorous madein-Québec book supply chain and because it created a much stronger cultural economy. Vaugeois’s idea was always to build cultural industries. “For a book to reach the public, there are two networks: booksellers and libraries. That was the basis of Bill 51.”


Bill 51 also regulated business practices for accredited distributors by determining appropriate discounts between business partners in the book chain. For example, distributors were obligated to give at least 30% discount on dictionaries, encyclope8
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Vaugeois believes that his now famous Bill 51 would have been all for naught if it hadn’t also properly funded Québec’s network of public libraries. By then, the province had to play catch up with the rest of Canada, and the Minister had to find a creative

way to finance the ambitious project of building libraries across Québec: “I asked the Finance Minister if he thought that a library could be considered part of the municipal works. He laughed and said, ‘Of course!’ I said, ‘Problem solved, then. We will get the funding from the provincial-federal agreement on municipal works.’ A fund meant for sewers, aqueducts, and asphalt helped build Québec’s libraries!” Reception in most cities was hostile at best. Citizens did not see the usefulness of the new libraries and saw them as a waste of public money. Local mayors had to convince their citizens by telling them that libraries would create jobs. “When we presented the development plan for public libraries in Montreal, the mayors didn’t believe in our plan,” remembers Vaugeois. “We told them there would be money to build a new library and if they chose to renovate an old building, there would be money to restore it. But we warned them not to build it out in the woods; we wanted it in the heart of the city, as part of the urban fabric, and within walking distance for most citizens. I guess I was thinking of how it was when I was a kid in Trois-Rivières.” “The Vaugeois Plan gave birth to our present-day public library system,” says Louise Guillemette-Labory, director of the Montreal Public Libraries Network. “It combined financial assistance to build libraries, money to develop collections, and grants to hire professional librarians—it professionalized the system and propelled our libraries into modern times.” Montréal’s public library system has never been stronger. “It was very difficult to give birth to this child, but now he is a teenager, the future is before him and he is doing very well. According to Guillemette-Labory, since 2004, Québec’s flagship library, the Grande Bibliothèque, “is a success that shows no signs of abating. It welcomes three million visitors every year, which makes it the most frequented French-language library in the world. The Montreal Public Libraries Network had 30% more loans between 2006 and 2010. That represents 10 million loans per year; it is an unprecedented success.” Thirty years ago, Vaugeois imagined the library as a permanent place for popular education. Today, Guillemette-Labory’s vision expands that idea by sharing the vision of a familiar friend: “We want to use France’s idea of the library as the third most lived in community space for citizens. From storytelling for children to senior citizens’ activities, modern public libraries must be living environments from the cradle to the grave.” ■ Luca Palladino is a freelance writer living in Montréal. In 2007 he founded L’écorce fabuleuse (The Enchanted Bark), an ecological short story competition that has awarded up to 50 writing scholarships to high school and college students.




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Une société de Québecor Média


Une société de Québecor Média



Québec and the global market



This vast French-speaking territory located north of New England that receives, year in, year out, some 500,000 American tourists—some of whom visit its capital, Québec City; others, its metropolis, Montréal—has produced an impressive list of stars and international cultural successes. Children all over the world know Caillou, the star of the eponymous book series. Teenagers on all seven continents sing and dance to the music of Simple Plan; and the whole world can appreciate the success of Céline Dion, the Cirque du Soleil, Robert Lepage… not to mention the triumphs of the province’s movie industry, including the Oscar-winning Les invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions).

Human Nature reminds us that we are part of nature and it offers a number of examples to help us understand life around us as well as our own.

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“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

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t’s all the more impressive when considering that Québec, the producer of such cultural successes, has a population of approximately eight million people and evolves in French within the world’s largest concentration of English-speaking people. Going against the current of all great cultural-exportation theories, Québec, despite its small population, its linguistic situation, and its history of French and British colonization, innovates, stands out, distinguishes itself, and shines on the international scene because of these successes. The Québec book industry is no exception to this tradition: international literary successes are abundant, and many Québec publishers have a significant presence on the international scene. Whether it be with children’s literature, literary publishing, general publishing, scientific and technical publishing, or even derivative rights, Québec publishing has been able to penetrate the world market.

Children’s First

Children’s literature is probably the genre that enabled Québec to obtain its first successes in the international market. This sector was built upon the foundation of such publishers as Éditions Dominique et Cie, Éditions Chouette, Tormont Publications, Éditions de la Courte Échelle, and Éditions Phidal.

The list of successes published by Dominique et Cie, which produces novels and illustrated books for children up to 12 years old, is notable. The book Le Gros Monstre qui aimait trop lire (Taming Horrible Harry) by Lili Chartrand, illustrated by Rogé, is available in French, English, Spanish, Danish, Japanese, and

Korean. Pétunia, princesse des pets (Petunia, the Fart Princess) by Dominique Demers, illustrated by Catherine Lepage, is a big bestseller in France. Likewise, the collection Passepoil (Doggie) by Elaine Arsenault created an international craze, while Le Vieux Thomas et la petite fée (Old Thomas and the Little Fairy) by Dominique Demers, illustrated by Stéphane Poulin, remains Dominique et Cie’s greatest international success. Barbara Creary, who is in charge of international rights, believes that the success of Québec’s children’s literature industry “is due to its unique illustration style”—a style that merges both the European and North American cultures at the heart of Québec’s history. Éditions Chouette, the publisher of Caillou, a character known internationally, publishes a wide range of books, from board books to novelty books and illustrated books. Three age groups are targeted: up to 2-year-olds, 2–4-year-olds, and 3–6-year-olds. With a longtime presence on public television (the educational program Caillou began in 1997), as well as considerable visibility in more than 20 countries and more than 20 languages, Éditions Chouette and its favorite four-year-old character have made their mark, according to Simon Payette, license and business development manager. Two factors explain the success, Payette says. First, “the content in our books really and truly addresses kids and not their parents. Furthermore, they try to help kids develop, kids all over the world.” It’s not an easy thing to do, but clearly it has been a proven recipe for Éditions Chouette.

The Literary Side

Literary publishing has also received its share of accolades. Pierre Szalowski’s novel Le froid modifie la trajectoire des poissons (Cold Changes the Fish’s Path), published by Éditions Hurtubise, was translated into Spanish, Catalan, Italian, German, and several other languages; likewise, Gil Courtemanche’s Un dimanche à la piscine à Kigali (A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali), published by Éditions du Boréal, is an international literary success in more than 23 countries. Kim Thuy’s Ru, first published by Éditions Libre Expression, is now published in more than 20 countries, including France, where it sold more than 50,000 copies. Bloomsbury USA will publish it in November 2012. Finally, the picture wouldn’t be complete without the international visibility of the graphic novels published by Drawn & Quarterly. According to Johanne Guay, v-p at Groupe Librex, and her colleague from the International

Rights department, Carole Boutin, “the success of Québec’s literary publishing is probably due to a certain American je ne sais quoi on a European historical background.” As well as a certain fearlessness—the fearlessness of a young industry that only wants to grow more and more. Québec’s literary publishing industry, for children or adults, can boast incredible successes, but general publishing is not left behind. One example is QA International and its Dictionnaire Visuel (Visual Dictionary), with more than eight million copies sold in more than 35 languages. [See “Case Study,” p. 25.] Groupe Librex has triumphed with Richard Béliveau’s Les aliments contre le cancer (Foods to Fight Cancer) in more than 30 countries and Serge Gauthier and Judes Poirier’s La maladie d’Alzheimer: Le guide. Academic presses are no exception: their visibility is also worldwide and their publications are of an impressive variety. There is, for example, the internationally renowned catalogue of McGill–Queen’s University Press, whose successes are exported as well as copublished (most noticeably, David Wilson’s Ireland, a Bicycle and a Tin Whistle), and the important international presence of the Presses de l’Université du Québec.

Enabling Factors

There are several factors behind the international success of Québec publishing, including book production, which in Québec is diverse and dynamic, combining high-quality standards and fresh, innovative content. Québec’s geographical position as well as its European origins also enable it to be an essential platform for international publishing and a meeting point for diverse cultures. But if Québec shines on the world stage thanks to the visibility of its translated work, it remains a dynamic exporter, publishing under the name of its own publishers throughout French-speaking countries, especially France. Moreover, its English publishers sell directly in the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world. Québec publishers also have success with imports. For instance, La Cuccina delle Nonne, purchased from Rusconi Libri in Italy and published in French by Éditions Caractère, has sold more than 40,000 copies in Québec and France. Steven Raichlen’s How to Grill, purchased from Workman by Les Éditions de l’Homme, performed very well in Canada. And Diana Gabaldon’s historical series, published in Québec by Libre Expression, became very popular. It would be impossible to talk about Québec’s presence on the international stage without mentioning public funding granted to Québec publishers, which helps defray costs for book fair presence and also in translation costs.
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Richard Prieur, director of the ANEL (the association of Québec’s French-language publishers), and Robin Philpot, publisher and a member of the AELAQ (association of English-Language Richard Prieur publishers), both agreed that it is time for the Québec publishing scene to speak directly to its American audience. It is a story they are proud to convey to the Publishers Weekly readership. “The aim of the Robin Philpot ANEL and the AELAQ is to spotlight Québec for its excellence in publishing and for the ingenuity of its unique book industry. The ANEL is also celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012, so I believe the timing was right to have a North-South exchange,” says Prieur. Along with its international committee, Québec Édition, the ANEL gives publishers the tools they need to develop and reach their markets internationally. “With our partners, the SODEC and the Canada Book Fund, we make our trade expertise available to all so that they may benefit from the practical experience we acquired all over the world,” he says. —Luca Palladino


The Future

The digital future is as much a part of Québec’s present as in any country. Print on demand, social marketing, and crowdsourcing, to name a few important trends, will be energetically discussed by expert panelists during the Salon du livre de Montréal (November 14–19, 2012) and at the Salon International du livre de Québec (April 10–14, 2013). Québec is also one of the leaders in e-book technologies [see “Québec’s Digital Warehouse,” p. 16.] For more information on Québec publishers, refer to the online list of publishers available at www.Quebecedition.qc.ca/ directory. ■ Stéphane Labbé, a former publisher, is a researcher at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique and an occasional publishing consultant.

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mantle Upper posterior portion of the body between the head and the tail. wing Flight appendage made of hollow bones and feathers, and comprising the forelimb; in some species, it is not adapted for flight. throat Anterior lateral portion of the neck between the chin and the breast. breast Anterior portion of the body between the throat and the abdomen bearing the wings. tarsus Portion of the limb formed of long bones and covered in scales; it connects the tibia to the toes. wing covert Short feather covering the upper portion of the base of the wing; it maintains internal body temperature. nape Posterior portion of the neck below the head. bill Horny formation covering toothless jaws; the bird uses it to feed.

rump Posterior portion of the body formed by the last vertebrae and bearing the tail feathers. tail feather Long stiff tail feather carried on the rump; it controls direction during flight.

flank Lateral portion of the body between the wing and the abdomen. thigh Long bone fused to the fibula between the femur and the tarsus.

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Digital Book Warehouse
By Luca Palladino

Every minute, a title is added—5150 rue des Ormes, I Hate Hockey, L ’envers de l’assiette, À fleur de peau; every hour, a new author is categorized—Patrick Senécal, François Barcelo, Laure Waridel, Martine Latulippe; every day, a new publisher signs on—


elcome to L’Entrepôt du livre numérique (vitrine.entrepotnumerique.com), a digital, state-ofthe-art warehouse that stretches as far as the finger can scroll. L’Entrepôt du livre numérique (literally, the Digital Book Warehouse) is a brave new world where e-books are available in .pdf and .epub formats. It provides Quebec content to local online booksellers as well as corporate players. Ginette Péloquin, an e-book specialist at the ANEL, says that the creation of L’Entrepôt du livre numérique came out of publishers’ common desire to be ahead of the digital book revolution curve. Working within a small French-speaking population lost in a swarm of North American English and Spanish and other

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languages (in North American, the ratio is 50:1 against French speakers), French-language entrepreneurs simply cannot afford to ignore the coming changes. It’s a question of economic survival or “a business opportunity,” says Marc Boutet, president and CEO of De Marque, the company that engineered L’Entrepôt du livre numérique. “We’ve always considered the whole of the French-speaking countries as a business opportunity.” Boutet, 37 years old, is a self-taught home- Marc Boutet grown computer prodigy. A child of the information revolution, he has been at the helm of De Marque for the past 22 years. At the tender age of 15, he became one of Canada’s youngest businessmen to receive an entrepreneurship award. Considered to be one of the builders of the Canadian multimedia industry, Boutet met with ANEL’s publishers and immediately saw a cultural and business opportunity. “Since 2008, when the members of the ANEL first decided to create this common platform,” says Boutet, “we have published nearly 10,000 e-books and sold 185,000 publications. Between C$100,000 and C$200,000 worth of e-books are sold every month. Right now, we are seeing spectacular growth that is three to four times what it was last year.” “It’s very exciting,” says Martin Balthazar, v-p at Groupe Ville-Marie, part of the Quebecor Media communications group. “The only thing missing in the Québec market is the userfriendly, one-click shopping that Apple or Amazon provides.” Québec may not have that online boutique experience yet, but thanks to De Marque and the innovating publishers of the ANEL, the Qu é bec market has one of the most trusted digital warehouses for e-books on the planet. “What makes L’Entrepôt du livre numérique so desirable as a platform is its extreme reliability, with hundreds of parameters—anything from the author’s name to international rights acquisitions—that need to be catalogued for each e-book. Last year, we had a 99.9993% reliability,” Boutet proudly says. “In Italy, they analyzed 21 technologies from all over the world, benchmarking them in extensive tests, and they chose us.” According to Ginette Péloquin, “Québec is definitely at the forefront of e-book warehousing technologies. France’s Eden and Italy’s Edigita are clones of the Québec model. And there is even interest coming from the United States, where e-book technologies abound.”

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Language barrier, economic opportunity
The chorus of voices sounding off from associations, publishers, writers, and tech companies all seem to converge in Québec. There is a sense that even if they are competitors vying for a share in what could best be described as a niche market of just nine million French-language consumers (Québec and Frenchspeaking Canada), these key players all know that they are in the same boat and on the same page, pun intended. Quebecor Media may well be Québec’s largest print producer and supplier, owning some of the biggest publishers, distributors, and book retailers, but its attitude toward the market is not one you would expect from a communications multinational. “In 2015, it is estimated that one out of every two books sold or borrowed in the United States will be digital,” says Balthazar at Groupe Ville-Marie, part of Quebecor. “We aren’t following this course in Québec because we aren’t ready to deal exclusively with the major players that would have a multiplying effect on sales. In Québec we have a very complex market and we must protect the key players of our book supply chain.” Indeed, Québec took dramatic steps in 1979 by passing Bill 51, which ensured local ownership of each part of the book

supply chain (publishers, distributors, retailers). Again, there is a sense that Québec publishers have built something special over the past 30 years, that the strategy for developing e-books doesn’t emanate from a corporate boardroom; rather, it comes from the shared vision of wanting to shape the culture as well as the economy and to retain a certain Québec flair. Péloquin from the ANEL notes that when L’Entrepôt du livre numérique came about, publishers sought public funding from the SODEC and the Canada Book Fund from Canadian Heritage in order to capitalize the project. “The SODEC supports the book supply chain as a whole,” says François Macerola, president of the SODEC. “It is an ecosystem whose balance must be preserved for paper books as well as e-books. The SODEC offers financial aid programs and also developed a special fund for the digitalization of.” Many pundits believe that this public-private innovation established within Québec’s traditional book and e-book markets stems from the French-language barrier that isolates these publishers. “There is a kind of protectionism here,” says Martin Balthazar. “Québecers know they will benefit by choosing a model that corresponds to their smaller reality.” “Paradoxically, by instigating mechanisms that protect our industry, we opened ourselves up to the world,” says Péloquin. ■

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books. Once I have read a book, I don’t hold on to it, I give it to someone else or I abandon the book on a park bench so that it finds its way into someone else’s hands. ”


By Luca Palladino

Erwan Leseul


Cooperation. Balance. Business. Erwan Leseul does business the way he leads his life: everything in its right place. Vice president of publishing at Les Éditions de l’Homme, Québec’s venerable publishing house, Erwan Leseul doesn’t own a bookcase: “My professional life is brimming with


y passing from one hand to another, Les Éditions de l’Homme has changed many times over the past six decades, selling, worldwide, over 25 million books in the process. In the 1990s, the publishing house dove headfirst in what was then a niche market: self-help books. Now, Les Éditions de l’Homme is Québec’s premiere book publisher, the third best seller of self-help books in France, a seller of foreign rights for more than 500 titles, and an emerging buyer of American rights for self-help, psychology, cooking, coffee-table, and reference books. “In the last decade, there has definitely been a sense that the perception French and American publishers have of Qu é bec publishers has changed,” says Leseul. “Gone are the days when French publishers would fight tooth and nail for

the worldwide rights of a book. Now, with the current market conditions, they prefer purchasing rights in collaboration with a Québec publishing house so that they can spread the investment or share costs. There is an emerging triangle between English-language publishers, Québec, and France.” Louis-Frédéric Gaudet of Lux Éditeur also notes how Québec publishers have gained in confidence and means. “By opening a Paris office in 2008,” he says, “it became easier for us to acquire the rights to important translation projects. Since then, our sales have seen a substantial increase, which has positioned us as the most influential independent publishing house of progressive books in the French-speaking world. This status is largely due to our American translations.” ship triangle appears to be a win-win-win situation. Qu ébec publishers have access to the titles they want, French publishers share the risks of costly foreign rights purchases, and American publishers receive excellent promotion and increased sales. Qué bec publishers like Les Éditions de l’Homme and Lux Éditeur rely heavily on their well-developed networks in both Québec and France to ensure the success of a book. When Lux introduced author Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion), he was virtually unknown in both Québec and France, but thanks to Lux’s grid of connections with national French-language media, university circuits, and prestigious progressive magazines, all were able to create real excitement with promotional strategies that fed off each other on both sides of the Atlantic. For its part, Les Éditions de l’Homme has enjoyed quite a few translation successes but on a much larger scale. Steve Raichlen, the master of the BBQ pit, has had an enviable run in Québec, shattering sales records with hundreds of thousands of copies sold of his culinary books Planet BBQ! and the Barbecue! Bible series. Bestsellers from Les Éditions de l’Homme in both Quebec and in France include Lâcher prise (The Secret to Letting Go) by spiritual guide and author Guy Finley, La puissance de votre subconscient (The Power of Your Subconscious) by Joseph Murphy, and other classics of practical psychology, such as Je réinvente ma vie (Reinventing Your Life) by Jeffrey E. Young, which consistently sells thousands of copies a year. Leseul

Promotional (s)tragedies

According to Erwan Leseul, French publishers quickly realized that buying the rights to the Québec market wasn’t very profitable. Instead of benefiting from well-planned promotional strategies, good books with great marketing potential would often wind up as promotional tragedies. “There was no optimal exploitation of American foreign rights in our Québec market. On the flip side, American publishers and agents realized that sales were superior in Qué bec when a foreign book was promoted by a local publisher.” In this way, the emerging partner-

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says that the publishing house’s philosophy is all about attaining equilibrium. “As a publisher, our mission is to help people in all facets of their lives so they can feel good, so they can feel better,” he says. “We want to give them the tools they need to deal with their health problems, their body issues, and to discover their spirituality. From self-help to cooking to spiritual books, Les Éditions de l’Homme has a holistic approach to mind, body, and soul.” For Lux, publishing is about bringing indignation into action. Lux has been successful in building a catalogue around such English-language intellectuals as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and John Berger. “Our publishing philosophy is a throwback to another era of book publishing, when houses published only a few enduring books from memorable authors,” says Gaudet, “a time when publishers themselves did in-depth research and editing, when sales reps and publicists relentlessly promoted ideas, when booksellers meticulously followed a publisher’s list because of its coherence, and readers faithfully awaited a new literary season to discover new books and authors.” and Whiteside, Random House, and Penguin Canada, to name but a few,” he says. “Together with these companies we have begun to elaborate projects in both English and French simultaneously. Instead of waiting to sell or buy the rights at the end of a project and have to start a book all over again, we collaborate at the onset to design a book that will be even better adapted to each publisher’s market reality.” Gaudet from Lux Éditeur agrees that the key to a successful business partnership is proximity, “Frequent direct contacts between our editors and American authors is an undeniable advantage,” he says. “In the last year alone, our editors have gone to Boston, New York, Chicago, and the West Coast a dozen times. We are at ease both with the American sense of pragmatism and the French sense for abstraction and ideas. Feeding and merging these two currents allow us to innovate.” Examples of collaboration abound at Les Éditions de l’Homme, such as the gorgeous coffee-table book on fair trade practices by Éric St-Pierre, Le tour du monde équitable (Fair Trade: A Human Journey), which traces the photojournalist’s 15-year journey through fair trade communities. “What is marvelous with Éric’s book is that we were able to sign the rights to the Netherlands, to Germany, and we sold 20,000 copies in Canada. We are never alone,” says Leseul. “It is really by mixing all our different energies that we can arrive at our destination.” ■

A better-balanced business model

Passionate for food, passionate for well-being, passionate especially for balance, Erwan Leseul promotes collaboration as a business model. “We’ve established a relationship based on trust with several Canadian publishers such as Robert Rose, Fitzhenry

More than ever, our top priority is to encourage literature in all its forms.

Il pleuvait des oiseaux
Jocelyne Saucier

Les doigts croisés
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Hervé Gagnon




Case Study

A Visual Approach to Knowledge
By Stéphane Labbé

If there were ever a case that illustrates the quality, diversity, and innovation of Québec publishing, it’s the Dictionnaire Visuel, or Visual Dictionary, published by QA International. Since its first French edition in 1986, the Visual Dictionary has been published in more than 35 languages, in more than 100 countries, selling more than eight million copies. What’s more, the world’s largest publishers, including Merriam-Webster, have become QAI’s international partners.

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he dictionary has been praised by the international press: “There has never been such a playful d i c t i o n a r y. Yo u want to open it just to look at it”: Madame Figaro, France; “An assortment of visual delights”: USA Today. It has also earned such prestigious prizes as Best Reference Source 1987 (School Library Journal) and Best Reference Books published in the ’80s (Booklist). The Visual Dictionary continues to receive great feedback and distinguished awards. And ever since it went online (www.ikonet.com/en/) and developed its own apps, the Visual Dictionary has made a splash in the virtual world by quickly becoming the App of the Week in more than 15 countries and by being part of the App Store Essentials’ Hall of Fame. Listing the international press’s enthusiasm for QA International and its products or enumerating the prizes and awards received by the publisher throughout the years could easily fill up these pages. QAI and its products distinguish

themselves in three ways: the quality of the illustrations, the confidence readers have in the content, and the flexibility QAI shows when collaborating with its partners and adapting the dictionary. QAI leads in this corner of the industry. But the Visual Dictionary is not QAI’s only product. This way of presenting reference information is available for such topics as the Junior Visual Dictionary; Sports: The Complete Visual Reference; The Visual World Atlas; a series of reference books for children, including The Living Earth and the Atlas series; the Visual Food Encyclopedia; The Visual of the Human Body (also with an app) and Family Guide to Health. What does QA International have in store for the future? Caroline Fortin, publisher at QAI, says that new developments are planned for the MultiDictionnaire, a popular reference book on the French language and its traps. Literary books for adults and children, published nationally, will have international rights offered. Fortin adds that the digital world will be at the heart of its international strategy for the next decade. ■

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A Minority Within a Minority

By Mélanie Grondin

Contemplating Canada’s publishing industry, most publishers located outside the country think of Toronto, especially when it comes to English-language books. Few realize that there is a small group of independent, English-language publishers hailing from the one Canadian province usually associated with the French language: Québec.

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few of these publishing companies are still quite young; Baraka Books, publisher of Ishmael Reed’s Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media, is only three years old, and Linda Leith, founder of the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, recently established a new publishing company: Linda Leith Publishing. Others, however, have been around long enough to help build the foundation of what Québec English-language publishing is today. Celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, Véhicule Press, whose Techniques in Home Winemaking by Daniel Pambianchi has had unexAvec le numérique, vous ajustez à une taille confortable.

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pected and constant success in the United States since 1999, was among the founding members of the Association of EnglishLanguage Publishers of Québec (AELAQ). “A big part of the history happened in the 1980s with the establishment of the Québec Writers’ Federation, the QSPELL books prizes, and the AELAQ,” explains Simon Dardick, Véhicule Press’s owner and publisher. He continues: “In the beginning, none of these organizations received any funding from the Québec government, unlike their French counterparts, so we requested a meeting with the Culture Minister. At the time, the buzzword in the province was ‘respect,’ and we told her that we too needed respect. Francophone writers and publishers were getting their organizations, and we wanted to be dealt with the same way.... The strength of the industry today is a real proof of how important it is to have institutions and this structure to support writing and publishing. I think what’s really great is that we work collaboratively.” Collaboration, it appears, is something that Québec publishers value highly: “This is the advantage of being a small group,” adds Dardick. “I think that there’s a real sense of commu- Simon Dardick nity among the writers, and people find that there’s less backstabbing.” But Robin Philpot, owner and publisher at Baraka Books, believes that more collaboration is still necessary. “One of the problems is that the industry is very Torontocentric,” Philpot says. “If you’re not in Toronto, the industry won’t necessarily see your book or hear about it. They don’t know who you are as a publisher. It’s very hard to get attention, especially if you’re trying to bring out a new author. That’s why I think that it’s in our interest to work together with the overall publishing industry. I don’t think we’ve done it enough.” Collaboration with French-language publishers is just as important. Philip J. Cercone, publisher at McGill–Queen’s University Press, Québec’s largest English-language publishing company, established in 1960 and one of AELAQ’s founding members, explains: “We do feel a strong collaboration with our French-language counterparts, particularly Les éditions du Septentrion with whom we have a strong trading relationship, both buying and selling rights. Being very close geographically enables our editorial and rights departments to meet with other Québec publishers on a regular basis. We notice that the Frenchlanguage public prefers intellectually stimulating reads, and we have titles that have worked well in translation for the Québec market.” It’s not uncommon for most English-language publishers to have a particular trade relationship with one or two French-language publishers. While publishing in English in Québec has its share of disadvantages, it also has quite a few advantages. On the one hand, “the English-language market in Québec is very small and so, by necessity, much of what we publish is of national and international interest,” says Cercone. “An English-language publisher in British Columbia or the Atlantic region has an easier
26 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ S E P T E M B E R 1 7 , 2 0 1 2

time exploiting regional interest titles,” Dardick concurs. “There has to be a universal aspect to whatever it is you’re selling, and it’s important for Québec publishers to target the U.S. market. For us, it’s another English-language market right next door to us. There is some really good quality writing in fiction and nonfiction that is coming out of this province, both in French and in English.” This, explains Philpot, is also the solution to the problem of bookstores closing. Though the problem isn’t quite as acute in Québec thanks to the Book Law, or Bill 51, publishers still cannot rely on the local market, which is limited, nor can they rely on the Canadian market alone, because the number of bookstores is plummeting. “The Canadian market is dominated by one chain,” Philpot concludes, “so you have to be able to reach other markets, and the American market is big.” Another disadvantage is the entire distribution process. While French-language publishers print, sell, and distribute their books without leaving the province, English-language publishers have to use a sales force and a distributor located in Toronto. In short, English-language publishers in Québec use the English-language system to get books to their readers. A French-language distributor wouldn’t know the English-language market and wouldn’t have contacts in the rest of Canada. A bookseller from Winnipeg, Manitoba, would never buy a book from a French distributor. The relationships required for such transactions simply do not exist. On the other hand, the Québec government offers a tremendous amount of support in the form of grants and a progressive e-book conversion program. “The Québec government understood that the program was useful and that it could help publishers deal with the book industry crisis,” says Philpot, “so they provide good support.” Although most of the English-language publishers in Québec indicate that the Québec Book Law doesn’t directly affect their sales, they still benefit from it because there are more independent booksellers in the province—particularly in Montreal, where most of the English-language market resides—to buy their books. It could be said that these publishers have the best of both worlds: they get to be in Québec, with all the government funding and the independent bookstores, while they publish in the continent’s dominant language, which enables them to easily sell their books to the United States and the rest of Canada. “And we have the advantage of living in Montreal,” laughs Dardick. ■ Mélanie Grondin, editor at the Montreal Review of Books, served as project manager for this supplement.

For additional articles on publishing in Québec, please go to publishersweekly.com/quebec2012.

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