The Book Trade in Canada, 1982


ISBN 0-920262-12-0




Edited by Eunice A. Thorne and Ed Matheson
Reviewed by Dean Tudor

Dean Tudor is a journalism professor at the Ryerson Polytechnical
Institute and founding editor of the CBRA.


This invaluable directory is meant for people engaged in the book trade activities of publishing, distributing, and selling books. It is also extremely useful for library reference departments, since it has value for those seeking out addresses for obscure firms. The sources of data are surveys and questionnaires; here, then, is material straight from the horse’s mouth. And it is one of the few trade items in Canada that has material on both the French and the English elements of the book business in this country.

There are 13 separately paged sections, but only two are extensive: publishers and distributors, and the booksellers. The first section lists both French and English publishers and distributors in 143 pages. Here will be found typical directory information such as the name, address, phone number, cable number, Telex number, International Standard Book Number for the publisher, its program or subject areas, the number of titles in print, when it was established, the number of employees, the hours of business, the names of top executives and sale/promotion representatives, and that all-important agency information (who handles which publishers in Canada). The 103 pages for booksellers give names, addresses, telephone numbers, and some specialties — all arranged by province and city. Unfortunately, neither of these two sections has a subject index. Such an index would be invaluable in tracking down the publishers and bookstores that specialize in a particular subject area, such as military history or theater.

The other sections, briefer in pagination only because there aren’t that many businesses, concern: sales agents and wholesalers, sell-direct publishers for the English-speaking areas of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (but surprisingly, this section omits sell-direct concerns from France and other French-speaking countries), book manufacturers, printers, designers, binders, typesetters, industry publications such as Quill and Quire (but not the Canadian Book Review Annual), sponsors of literary awards and prizes (but no listing of recent winners), government departments and agencies that provide funding for publishing and research projects, a variety of international agencies, material about the National Library’s book deposit and copyright legislation, and an alphabetical list of agencies, imprints, and series.

As I mentioned, the material is invaluable. The directory could, though, become more of a one-stop source of information if it incorporated some of the changes I suggest above. Another useful addition would be basic information on how to get books catalogued and listed properly, particularly the importance of the title page and verso data (which some publishers, like Oberon in Ottawa, blatantly ignore) and the importance of the ISBN. Such basic information, if properly presented, could greatly assist the Canadian bibliographer who tries to track down missing or misleading information. Don’t publishers know that if they put out a paperback version of a hardcover book they must have a new, different ISBN? Or that the ISBN does not cover all of the titles issued, but only one title? Shame.


“The Book Trade in Canada, 1982,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,