Media Release: Alberta Publishers Renew Call for an Alberta Book Publishers Fund
Alberta’s Book Publishers Renew Call for an Alberta Book Publishers Fund
Alberta – After receiving no increase in funding in the 2017 Alberta Budget, the book publishing industry in Alberta has renewed its call to the Government of Alberta to implement the proposed Alberta Book Publishers Fund (ABPF), which was designed by the Province in the early 2000s, but never funded.
The Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA) points to the aggressive and successful funding approaches taken by other provinces—including BC, Ontario and Quebec—which have captured key Alberta publishing companies and assets and grown their own industries during this same period.
“Even Nova Scotia has found the resources to more than quintuple its support to book publishers since 2016,” says BPAA President Glenn Rollans. “It makes sense for Alberta to begin now to consolidate and grow this essential contributor to a mature community, rather than waiting yet another year. Book publishing is part of the solution to Alberta’s economic and diversification challenges.”
The proposed ABPF would invest $15 million over 3 years in Alberta’s book publishing industry.
The BPAA and its members are also concerned by the shift of book publishing funding from the Alberta Media Fund (AMF) to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA).
By providing book publishing support through the AMF, the province indicated its recognition of, and interest in, broad cultural and economic goals for the sector, including but not restricted to specifically artistic goals. This move back to the AFA, with funding decisions subject to approval by the AFA board, seems to at least partially reverse this, and it appears to make the creation of an Alberta Book Publishers Fund much less possible. The retention of funding for film producers within the AMF signals more strongly than ever that the province’s cultural industries policy is really a cultural industry policy, singular.
Author and poet Alice Major points to the importance of having the work of Alberta writers curated by publishers here. “We can’t depend on publishers in other parts of Canada to bring out books that tell our stories or explore issues important to Alberta,” she says. “If we don’t have publishers in this province to bring out such titles, our stories will never reach the larger world.”
“We greatly appreciate the support our industry now receives from the Province of Alberta,” says Rollans. “But we encourage the Government of Alberta to reconsider its recent changes to the way in which it provides that support, and we will continue our advocacy for the creation of an Alberta Book Publishers Fund.”
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