My morning paper included a glossy 12-page ad supplement from Indigo. You know, the place that used to be a bookstore? Now, I like Indigo; they’ve sold a lot of my books. Plus they have more than half of the Canadian book market so attention must be paid. But Indigo is well on its way to becoming something else. In addition to the featured books, other advertised items include a vase, paperweight, tea pot and plates, sachets, honey, greeting cards, a scarf, and a tote bag.
I understand the business case. The items on the latter list have high profit margins. But so do books. Indigo makes more per book than either the publisher or the author. And, if a book doesn’t sell, Indigo can send it back to the publisher. Try doing that with a tote bag or a tea pot.
But while all of this might be irksome, to my mind what’s even worse is the selection of books offered in this Mother’s Day Gift Guide. Of the three dozen books shown, by my reckoning twenty of the authors are American. Second place goes to Britain with eight authors. France has two. All other countries, including Canada, are represented by one author. The lone Canadian book I could identify was Web of Angels by Lilian Nattel.
It wasn’t so long ago that Indigo played up its Canadian roots. The motto was “More Canada.” I’m happy sharing shelf space with sauces and saucers, but let’s not forget that there are thousands of books written by Canadian authors each year. Would it hurt to publicize more than one of them at a time?