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HAVE GREAT TIMING

Dundurn Press produced Young Royals on Tour: William & Catherine in Canada by Christina Blizzard in time to benefit from the celebrity fever around the newlywed couple. “We printed 9,000 and we sold out about a week after getting the book and had to go back to print,” says publisher Kirk Howard.

Simon & Schuster Canada released Sylvia Nasar’s book Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius just as economists and governments everywhere needed a little inspiration.

TARGETED EXPANSION

Bucking the trend of cutting and contraction, Dundurn Press is growing. This year, the Toronto-based publisher bought two smaller houses, Napoleon & Co. and Blue Butterfly Books. Publisher Howard says this brings Dundurn’s number of acquisitions, since 1993 to 11. “I think content is important, and I think you need a certain bulk of titles to compete with the multinationals operating in Canada. We’re trying to acquire companies that are publishing in fields we’re already publishing in. Napoleon was specializing in mysteries and YA, and add quite a bit to our list that way.” Blue Butterfly has focused on publishing fresh voices and perspectives in fiction, nonfiction, and biography.

McClelland & Stewart launched its new nonfiction imprint, Signal, in the spring as a home for provocative “big idea” books. And its first list this fall is stacked with big names—Christopher Hitchens’s collection of essays, Arguably; Margaret Atwood’s In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination; and Dr. Samantha Nutt’s Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid. Though she’s certainly not as well-known as Hitchens and Atwood, M&S president and publisher Doug Pepper says this first book from Dr. Nutt, the founder and executive director of War Child North America, will be huge. “I think it’s something that can change policy, and that was the whole hope of Signal—that we publish books that make a difference when it comes to politics and religion and culture.”

Random House of Canada is expanding its culinary horizons, creating a new, as yet unnamed imprint that is expected to publish 15–20 food and lifestyle titles a year. Robert McCullough, formerly the publisher at Whitecap Books in Vancouver, will be the publisher of the new imprint.

ECW Press is venturing into YA for the first time with a series called the Dead Kid Detective Agency, written by Evan Munday, who also happens to be a publicist for Coach House Books. ECW says that the series’ 13-year-old heroine, October Schwartz, is “like Nancy Drew, if she’d hung out with corpses.”

BUILD ON SUCCESS

Kids Can Press celebrates the 25th anniversary of Franklin with an anniversary edition of Franklin in the Dark, which includes extra content, and reissues of the top 12 bestselling classics with refreshed covers. A new 3G version of Franklin and Friends launched on YTV in Canada, and it will be rolling out around the world followed by a huge merchandise program, says Kids Can president Lisa Lyons. Storybook spinouts from the television show are in the works.

YTV has also launched a television show based on Melanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel books. “Now, it looks different from the Scaredy Squirrel books,” warns Lyons. “They’ve aged him up because the YTV audience is a little bit older. He now has a job, but the response has been tremendous.” Kids Can has also launched a YouTube channel that has book trailers for Scaredy Squirrel and a Facebook fan page. This fall, a game-based app, Scaredy SOS, is also coming, the premise being that Scaredy has lost his emergency kit and players have to collect all the items in the kit to help him defeat germs, poison ivy, angry unicorns, and all of the things he’s afraid of in the books.

Annick Press has sold the rights for a live-action feature film of Robert Munsch’s beloved classic The Paper Bag Princess. Cookie Jar, the Toronto–Los Angeles production company that is making the film, plans to follow with a television series.

Second Story Press’ bestseller Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine will be made into a feature film in 2012, but this year, a new book in the publisher’s Holocaust Remembrance series, To Hope and Back: The Journey of the St. Louis by award-winning author Kathy Kacer, will be released. The book is based on the true story of the ship carrying Jewish refugees from Germany who were turned away from Canada, the U.S., and Cuba. It is told from the perspective of two people who were children on the ship and survived.

Coach House Press – takes Suzette Mayr’s acclaimed novel Monoceros, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in Canada, to the U.S. market in October.

OWLKids adds Learn to Speak Dance (Ann-Marie Williams) to its Learn to Speak Music series, created and edited by Broken Social Scene musician turned editor John Crossingham. The series demystifies music and dance for kids and encourages them to explore their own creativity. Learn to Speak Fashion and Film are yet to come.

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