January 10 – January 17, 2008 Edition

Raincoast Books Closes
Publishing Unit To Focus
on Distribution Business

VANCOUVER, BC/1/9/08–Raincoast Books, the Vancouver-based co-publisher and distributor of the Harry Potter series, is closing its publishing unit and cutting its staff to concentrate on its core business of wholesaling and distributing.

The distribution unit is the exclusive Canadian distributor for publishers from the U.K., the U.S. and Canada. The company's Toronto-based subsidiary, Publishers Group Canada, distributes titles from more than 85 publishers in Canada and the US, including the US and UK divisions of Bloomsbury, Lonely Planet, Harcourt, and Chronicle Books.

The publishing unit–including the Polestar imprint, key titles from Press Gang Publishers, and a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children–will close after its spring 2008 season.

Raincoast will cut its staff by about 10% and will close its small warehouse in Mississauga, Ontario, consolidating all fulfillment in its Vancouver warehouse. Publishers Group Canada will continue to have sales and marketing offices in both Vancouver and Toronto. BookExpress handles wholesale services throughout Canada.

Since Raincoast was partly owned by Advanced Marketing Services, which went bankrupt last year, some wondered whether the AMS debacle had precipitated closure of the Raincoast publishing unit, but a company spokesman attributed the move to appreciation of the Canadian dollar and "an irrevocable change" in the Canadian retail book market.