History - SaskBooksSaskBooks

History

SaskBooks is a member-based non-profit service organization that champions Saskatchewan book publishers and promotes Saskatchewan books. We are Saskatchewan’s Creative Industry Association for publishing. Saskatchewan publishers produce award-winning, high quality and, professionally designed and printed books by Saskatchewan, Prairie, Canadian, and International writers. Each year, more than 100 books are published, promoted, and marketed by these presses.

Our Objectives:

  1. promote and support book publishing and Saskatchewan-published books
  2. provide a forum for sharing information and ideas
  3. speak for the common interests of its members
  4. undertake specific projects, programs, and studies pertaining to the publishing industry
  5. work closely with other publishing and cultural organisation across Canada

SaskBooks serves its members through ongoing services, including promotion of the Saskatchewan book publishing industry and books, supporting book publishers and publishing activities regardless of business model, and researching, planning and implementing joint projects. We co-ordinate joint projects such as marketing reports and databases, sales presentations at conferences, distribution of publishers’ catalogues, and book displays. We work with other Canadian publishing associations on marketing and promotional activities, on professional development, and we liaison with related associations (libraries, book stores, writers’ groups). SaskBooks supports its members and the government in the development of book publishing policy.

We also work closely with other organisations such as the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Saskatchewan Library Association, Saskatchewan Book Awards, our primary funding agency, Creative Saskatchewan, and readers everywhere to ensure that Saskatchewan people are aware of the vibrant and professional book publishing industry in their own province.

Timeline

Prior to 1989, Saskatchewan publishers had worked together on reports and with prairie-based book publishing organisations such as the Prairie Publishers Group. As more projects and opportunities of a group nature came together, the desire for an official publishers organisation grew. SaskBooks was incorporated as the Saskatchewan Publishers Group (SPG) in 1989.

The SPG participated in Words on Wheels, a travelling book store in rural Saskatchewan; a group purchase of computer equipment, and a Saskatchewan Publishers Group directory/catalogue. The SPG hired a consultant to bring together a one-day festival focussed on books by prairie publishers. The festival was held in conjunction with the Jeux Canada Games held in Saskatoon.

1989
  • Incorporated as a Non-profit Corporation on March 10.
1990
  • Commissioned Marketing Saskatchewan Books by Mary Schendlinger.
  • September – established part-time office and part-time Executive Director.
  • Led the Alliance Against Tax on Reading and negotiated a Cultural Industries Assistance Program under a newly signed federal-provincial cost sharing agreement.
1992
  • Began working towards a book publishing policy for the Government of Saskatchewan
  • Maureen Storey completed a review of Saskatchewan publishers’ books and the Saskatchewan Curriculum.
  • Collaborated on Prairie Festival of Books and proposed Saskatchewan Book Awards
  • Held a full-scale training program, designed in co-operation with the Federal Business Development Bank, and a professional development seminar, “Accessing the Secondary School Market”
  • SPG obtained full-time staffing
1993
  • The Book Publishing Policy Committee Report released
  • A Harvest of Books by Roland Lorimer, the first comprehensive provincial publishing industry study, was completed.
  • Produced and distributed the first two issues of “Prairie Books Now”, a book news tabloid, in conjunction with Book Publishers Associations from Alberta and Manitoba
  • Worked with Saskatchewan Writers Guild (SWG) and the Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) to present Blue Sky book fair and the first annual Saskatchewan Book Awards
1994
  • Heather Wood conducted a School Marketing Feasibility Study
  • Win Sebelius completed a Curriculum Analysis of members’ books.
  • The Library Marketing Manual was completed
  • Display Program operated with a co-ordinator for the first time
1995
  • The Cultural Industries Development Strategy Committee was initiated
  • SPG published its first membership brochure and a leaflet on co-publishing as part of an Outreach program
1996
  • The Library Marketing Manual was promoted by the distribution of the Library Marketing Brochure and other fine publications from Prairie Publisher Associations.
  • The SPG logo was developed
1997
  • The Cultural Industries Development Strategy was written, vetted by the community, and submitted to the Government
  • The SPG launched its Virtual Book Festival website
  • SPG’s display program attended Regina’s Wintergreen Craft Fair; consignment sales were up 150% from 1996
  • The SPG Education Committee obtained an agreement from SaskEd for a co-operative publishing project with a commitment of $25,000
  • An interactive Book Map was launched on the website with the printing of the Saskatchewan Book Map
1998
  • SPG the Tri-Province Forum
  • SPG co-operated with her sister cultural industries in planning a cultural export forum, Flatland Culture Goes Global
  • On April 23, over 400 people celebrated Regina’s first annual Canada Book Day Fair, which SPG planned in collaboration with Regina Public Library, SWG, SLA, Saskatchewan Book Awards, Luther College, and many others.
1999
  • Membership doubled to 24 publishers
  • Request for Proposal and jury processes were implemented for the SaskEd anthology project as well as the member funding process for the first installation of the Cultural Industries Development Fund
  • The Book Box program expanded from schools to include libraries and tourist destinations.
  • [email protected], the SPG’s internal member newsletter, went digital, and PaperCuts, the external newsletter, was revived and distributed in HTML format
  • Ben Fair prepared the Saskatchewan Sampler (Book Archive), a database of all books written and published in Saskatchewan since 1905
  • SPG developed an inventory database to help manage increased sales
  • The second annual Canada Book Day in Regina entertained 1500 visitors at the McKenzie Art Gallery
2000
  • SPG launched Book Map 2000, “Saskatchewan Books: Covering the Globe”, along with the Saskatchewan Sampler (Book Archive Database) at a press conference at the Dunlop Art Gallery. The conference was attended by print, radio, and television media
  • SPG produced a Board Manual and Membership Brochure
  • Membership grew to 35
2001
  • Developed new website
  • Launched “Saskatchewan Books Go Public” radio programme on 91.3FM CJTR
  • Developed billboard promotional campaign as part of “Saskatchewan Books Go Public” marketing project
2002
  • Launched a new Book Map, featuring the official provincial map with book covers superimposed in locations corresponding to some aspect of the book.
  • Redesigned and updated the Book Archive
  • Membership rose to 45
2003
  • PaperCuts changed formats from newsletter to catalogue of members’ books
  • Increased number and variety of displays
2004
  • Produced and distributed 2004 Book Map
  • Attended the Congress of the Humanities in Winnipeg as part of the Display program
  • Increased distribution of PaperCuts to all libraries and Universities in Canada, to Rural Municipalities, and to all levels of government
2005
  • Participated in 100 years of Saskatchewan Books favourite book contest
  • Helped produce the online educational catalogue of Saskatchewan Books (Spirit of Saskatchewan)
  • Launched the Saskatchewan Book Designation project with SK Libraries
  • Updated Inventory Database to make it ONIX-compliant
2006
  • Moved to a storefront, street-level office with huge windows for a rotating display of books
  • Book Poster, Traveling Book Box, and radio programme were suspended
2007
  • Books in Schools program launched
  • Spirit of Saskatchewan catalogue was printed and distributed to all the schools in the province
  • Attended Congress of the Humanities in Saskatoon
2008
  • SPG climbed out of deficit and produced a surplus budget, after a ‘perfect storm’ of funding cuts and project suspensions.
  • Saskatchewan Arts Board became SPG’s primary funder
  • Book Poster Program resurfaced
  • Distribution Feasibility Study commissioned from Dennis Johnson
  • Administered Creative Economy Entrepreneurial Fund provided through the Saskatchewan Arts Board
  • Daniel Parr joined the team as an Intern
2009
  • Distributed PaperCuts and produced a new Book Poster
  • SPG attended the Congress of the Humanities in Ottawa
  • Membership topped 70
  • Began working on a provincial Book Policy
2010-2011
  • Produced 2 professional development seminars per year for book publishers
  • Curated on average nearly 20 book displays a year, including Congress of the Humanities across Canada
  • Memberships stabilised at ~60
  • Ceased production of the Book Poster
  • Increased distribution of the Read Saskatchewan catalogue (which had been PaperCuts) with Western Producer
  • Oversaw production of a custom-built database to manage increased sales of Saskatchewan books
  • Website overhaul and redesign
2012-2013
  • Participated in the provincial Creative Industries consultations
  • Member of the Creative Saskatchewan Working Group whose mandate was to assist the Ministry of Culture, Parks, and Sport in the creation of a Creative Industries Agency
  • Underwent rebranding in 2013
  • Adopted “SaskBooks” as our public name, to reflect our increased role as the Industry Association for book publishers