Founded in 1972, Livres Canada Books is a not-for-profit organization based in Ottawa. Its mandate is to support Canadian-owned and controlled book publishers’ export sales activities in order to help publishers improve their overall export results. As the only national industry association for English and French-language book publishers, Livres Canada Books connects all publishers across Canada, providing services in both official languages.
In its first 13 years of operation, Livres Canada Books, then known as the Association for the Export of Canadian Books, provided expert advice on book export sales to a number of federal departments working with the Canadian book publishing industry. Through an agreement with the Department of Canadian Heritage in 1985, Livres Canada Books took on the administration of the Export Marketing Assistance (EMAP) and the Foreign Rights Marketing Assistance (FRMAP) programs, both part of the International Marketing Assistance component of the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP). Over the past 25 years, Livres Canada Books has managed the programs in a transparent, accountable, and fiscally responsible manner, taking the lead in the development and implementation of policies and programs to assist exporting publishers in Canada.
In addition to providing direct financial assistance to publishers, Livres Canada Books has played and continues to play a significant role in advancing international sales and building export expertise among Canadian publishers. It provides a range of services to help publishers maximize their presence at key international book fairs, services like the Canada Stand, a turnkey collective exhibition stand. Livres Canada Books also develops cooperative initiatives to promote Canadian publishing. Rights Canada (a collective foreign rights catalogue) and its Canadian Studies Collection introduce Canadian books to publishers, literary agents, distributors, booksellers, librarians, and academics around the world. Book exhibits organized with trade and cultural officers at Canadian embassies and consulates around the world extend the reach of Canadian publishing beyond international book fairs. Livres Canada Books also publishes in-depth intelligence about foreign markets, offers professional development through seminars and workshops, and works closely with other publishing industry associations to ensure Canadian publishers are strongly positioned to expand into export markets.
In recent years, Livres Canada Books has been active in raising awareness of Canadian book publishers’ export-related priorities, needs and interests among industry and government stakeholders. Livres Canada Books publicizes export success stories, and advocates for support to the book publishing industry as a means of promoting Canada’s diversity, values, and identity worldwide. Combining efforts and financial resources with other industry associations and partners has enabled Livres Canada Books to develop and deliver new and expanded services and programs.
Livres Canada Books’ greatest strengths have been its capacity to serve the diverse needs and priorities of Canadian book exporters — in their publishing programs, in their targeted export markets, and in their international marketing strategies — and its ability to anticipate and adapt to economic and structural changes in the book publishing industry. With the advent of electronic publishing, Livres Canada Books has taken a lead role in keeping Canadian publishers abreast of continuously evolving technologies and business models as they affect export sales by leveraging digital communications to publish forward-looking research and offer workshops and webinars on the opportunities and challenges of publishing in the digital age.
In 2009, the Department of Canadian Heritage streamlined the Book Publishing Industry Development Program, renamed the Canada Book Fund (CBF), and responsibility for administering the Export Marketing Assistance Program returned to Canadian Heritage. Livres Canada Books continues to administer the Foreign Rights Marketing Assistance Program, which provides cost-shared funding for export sales trips and participation in international trade events.
In 2007, two years before the reorganization of the Canada Book Fund, Livres Canada Books launched a Mentoring Program aimed at the specific needs of publishers taking their first steps in export sales. The program pairs small and emerging publishers with seasoned consultants who share their knowledge and expertise and provides funding to help publishers gain first-hand experience. Its goal is to help eligible publishers evaluate the efforts needed to penetrate foreign markets, develop and implement targeted marketing strategies, and in time increase export sales and become eligible for supplementary assistance through the Canada Book Fund.
Last year, Livres Canada Books undertook steps to renew its image. The old name and logo of the Association for the Export of Canadian Books gave way to an updated and unified branding under a new trademark. Livres Canada Books’ new image is also conscious of global digital interconnectedness. Its new name is rich in key words that enhance discoverability of Canadian books and publishers, increasing their visibility and exposure to international buyers.
Livres Canada Books is governed by an experienced and representative group of exporting publishers, knowledgeable in every aspect of book exporting, who provide essential advice and direction to ensure Livres Canada Books continues to meet the evolving needs of Canadian publishers. With the careful guidance and tireless commitment of its volunteer Board of Directors, Livres Canada Books works to foster the good reputation of Canadian publishers and the quality of titles they publish around the world, especially as the digital age and new technologies take hold.
Periodic program reviews, long-range planning, and proactive management enable Livres Canada Books to ensure the stability and continuity needed to develop new and strategic programs and services to support and serve publishers’ book export initiatives into the future.
Livres Canada Books is highly regarded nationally and internationally for the work it does promoting the export of Canadian books. It is today the envy of many countries for what it has done and for what it continues to do for Canadian publishers. Canadian publishers have worked hard exporting their books. And Livres Canada Books has been there every step of the way lending a helping and encouraging hand.