Canadian publishing house and book distributor Thomas Allen & Son has announced that it will cease operations at the end of March 2023. The company’s distribution client list will be taken over by Firefly Books, which will also take on additional staff from the closing company.
Thomas Allen & Son was founded in 1916 and grew to be one of Canada's largest distribution companies. The firm has had exclusive distribution contracts for some 25 U.S. and U.K. publishing imprints in Canada, including Workman and its subsidiaries, as well as others, such as Interlink Publishing, Merriam-Webster, and Sleeping Bear Press, among others. The company cited ongoing industry consolidation, and in particular Hachette’s acquisition of Workman and resulting loss of that distribution contract, as the reason for the company closing.
Jim Allen, is the latest member of the family to serve as president and CEO of Thomas Allen & Son. “For over 100 years, Thomas Allen & Son has established long-standing agreements with major American publishing firms,” he says. “The success of the company as a book distributor was built on these close relationships, which in the beginning were made with a hand-shake between Allen family members and the principals of these American firms.” He went on to express is gratitude to clients and customers alike.
For his part, Lionel Koffler, president of Firefly Books, which has its own distribution list, said, “Firefly Books looks forward to continuing to build on these strong relationships with personal attention that will benefit booksellers and their valued customers.”