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A Publisher's Legacy: The Children's Books of Douglas & McIntyre
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Canadian children's literature and publishing were slow to develop. It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that a critical mass of Canadian-owned publishers existed, fuelled by the concern with Canadian cultural identity of the baby-boomer generation. One of those pioneer publishers was Douglas & McIntyre (the original imprint of D&M Publishers), the Vancouver-based publisher of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction that was founded by Jim Douglas and Scott McIntyre in 1971. D&M has had a huge influence on the Canadian publishing industry: it was the only Canadian-owned publisher to grow successfully, over forty years, from a small regional house to one of the largest, with a Canada-wide and international market, and this without abandoning its Pacific Northwest Canadian identity. Following the recent upheavals of bankruptcy, mergers, and sales to foreign ownership of major Canadian-owned publishers such as McClelland and Stewart, D&M was the last major publisher in Canada to have remained independent and Canadian-owned. It was an icon, symbolic of a viable Canadian publishing industry and of a West Coast Canadian literature for adults and children.

Those of us who work with Canadian children's books and who believe in the value of an independent publishing industry in Canada were saddened by the announcement in October 2012 that D&M had filed for bankruptcy protection after owing its creditors more than $6 million (Lederman). By February 2013, after two extensions granted by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, D&M had found buyers for its assets, which were divided and purchased by a number of British Columbia-based publishers. It sold its natural history and environmental imprint Greystone Books to Heritage House Publishing (Woo). Harbour Publishing absorbed the remains of the flagship imprint, Douglas and McIntyre (Medley, "Harbour"). The imprint New Society Publishers was reacquired by its previous owners (Woods).

In the flurry of Canadian media coverage surrounding the D&M crisis, the situation was identified as a national tragedy, a "major catastrophe for Canadian publishing," and a sign of the demise of "the dream of an independent Canadian publishing industry" (Barber). A repeated observation was that D&M was the last of the major players left in the Canadian publishing industry to have remained independent of mergers and foreign investment (Medley, "Afterword"), despite the challenges facing this industry as a whole: "The Web, the internet, Amazon, changes to the industry and how readers access books. It's putting a lot of pressure on the business model" ("Reaction"). Since October 2012, elegiac media articles have lauded D&M for its award-winning fiction and non-fiction on Canadian art and architecture, politics, history and culture, First Nations studies, and social and environmental issues. Conspicuously absent from this conversation and national mourning was any discussion of the importance of Douglas & McIntyre in the history of children's book publishing in Canada.

I was therefore pleased when Mavis Reimer requested that I review the contribution of D&M to the children's book industry in Canada. On the surface, it would appear that its most important venture into publishing for children was its arrangement, from 1980 to 2005, to provide funding and support for the award-winning Canadian children's book publisher Groundwood Books. According to Patsy Aldana, former publisher of Groundwood, "I think it's fair to say that DM was not a children's publisher until Groundwood came along. . . . After [the business agreement between D&M and Groundwood], the children's list, whether fiction or non-fiction, buy-in or originated in Canada, was essentially created by Groundwood, though for a while we used two imprints" (Email interview). As an imprint of Douglas & McIntyre, Groundwood has issued hundreds of Canadian children's books, many of which are now considered classics. My review, however, examines the titles D&M issued on its own, without the "A Groundwood Book" imprint on the title page.

My research into books published by D&M, both its front lists and its backlists, beginning with publications from the early 1970s, revealed many more children's titles than I had expected and a variety of children's book imprints and co-publications. I...

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