Another one bites the dust

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.

4 thoughts on “Another one bites the dust”

  1. Many times, a bankruptcy results in a reorganization of the company. Right now, they cannot meet their financial obligations, so the court intervenes and a judge will decide who gets paid and how much. Later, they can reenter the marketplace with a fresh new identity and without any debts or legal obligations. Business failure is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s a natural and necessary part of any healthy economy. Failure allows the owners to gain experience for future endeavors. Look at how Lee Iacocca turned around a failing Chrysler and made it into a huge success.

      1. Maybe if they changed their name to S&M and sold books like “Fifty Shades” they’d solve all their money problems.

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