, , ,

And another one gone, and another one gone, another one bites the dust. Lyrics by Queen.

Douglas & McIntyre announced they are restructuring under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. For Canadian writers, this event narrows an already narrow market even further. I have no idea whether D&M’s situation is a surprise but from a strictly business perspective the step reminds me of what occurred in other industries during the 80s and 90s as head offices were gutted leaving marketing and sales groups behind.

In an increasingly complex publishing environment, how can a smaller publisher expect to bear the costs of editorial, production, digital efforts, design, marketing, publicity, sales, rights management, distribution and so on? Particularly when profits are squeezed and demand is so unpredictable.

What could D&M have done?

  • merged with a global partner?
  • outsourced some of their business processes?
  • become more niche focused?
  • engaged with consumers differently?
  • reduced the number of imprints?
  • shifted to digital more aggressively?

Who knows … it’s a shame to see a 40 year old business head into insolvency. But then, many businesses don’t even last that long.