Archive for May, 2008

Fewer book sales have domino effect

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Despite ongoing studies that show the link between student achievement and adequately funded and staffed school libraries, those same libraries are not prospering in east or west. In spring 2005, a Toronto Star article titled “Shelves of musty books” described dated resources out of step with the current curriculum and diverse student population.

Sooner or later, less library book purchasing was bound to take its toll on suppliers. Which brings us to spring 2008. Canada’s book trade journal Quill and Quire reported in its May issue (and earlier online) that one Ontario library wholesaler was closing down and another had laid off staff. National Book Service, based in North York, ceased operations at the end of March after 27 years in business.

Meanwhile, its competitor, S&B Books, laid off three employees in March. “We’re overstaffed based on the volume,” said owner Arthur Gale, who attributed the layoffs to a seasonal slowdown (school budgets not yet approved) and to restructuring in advance of a new computer system.

These changes in Ontario do not bode well for library wholesalers in other provinces. How are BC wholesalers doing, for instance? Good news that would be celebrated by the Association of Book Publishers of BC as well as school librarians from Alert Bay to Zeballos would be reinstatement by the provincial government of the School Library Book Purchase Plan.

Association of Book Publishers of BC. Library Book Purchase Plan. [accessed May 26, 2008].
Kalinowski, Tess. (2005, March 11). Shelves of musty books. Toronto Star.
MacDonald, Scott. (2008, May). National Book Service calls it quits. Quill & Quire, 22.
National Book Service. Company website. [accessed May 26, 2008].
S&B Books. Company website. [accessed May 26, 2008].
Sheen, Jacob. (2008, May). S&B lays off three. Quill & Quire, 22–23.

Naomi Pauls
Writer / Editor