news | Wednesday September 4, 2013
We are very pleased to share that this August saw the completion of a renewal plan for Talonbooks, which was set in motion when the press was acquired by Kevin and Vicki Williams on December 31st, 2007. The plan consisted of a number of goals, which are outlined below.
- Installation and implementation of an integrated enterprise computer system – a system that would run sales, inventory, accounting, and royalty functions, with each transaction being handled once (avoiding the necessity to input data multiple times in multiple locations). This was done in 2008/2009.
- The launch of a new website with a front-page newspaper design, featuring new content frequently and regularly and including reviews and articles about Talon books and authors. This was completed over 2009/2010/2011. (For fun, see our old website here and our even older, more embarrassing website here.)
- Revision and expansion of the metadata (information about books) – reviews, author biographies, awards, book descriptions – used on the website and in the data feeds that supply online bookseller web pages. Completed between 2009 and the present.
- Launch and development of Talon’s presence in social media and integration of these activities in the ongoing running of the website. Completed between 2009 and 2012 (and improving as we continually learn). (Find us on Twitter and Facebook, among other sites!)
- Transition to a new editorial and production team. September 2011 saw the retirement of long-time Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Karl Siegler as well as long-serving production manager Christy Siegler. Kevin Williams assumed the role of Publisher, Greg Gibson Managing Editor, Ann-Marie Metten Editor, and Les Smith designer and e-book publisher. Gibson was already on staff, and Metten and Smith began in the spring of 2011 to ensure a seamless transition. These staff changes were complete in 2011/2012.
- Publication of the Talon list in ebook form. This was begun in 2011 and is ongoing. New titles are published simultaneously in both print and ebook form. Talon produces most of its ebooks in-house but also takes advantage of sponsored conversion opportunities. All ebooks are rigourously proofread and then distributed to multiple ebook vendors through a consolidated ebook distributor, Constellation, which is owned by the Perseus Books Group, which also owns Talon’s U.S. distributor, Consortium. Talon has sold over 550 ebooks, the bestsellers being They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars and Taking My Life by Jane Rule.
- Publication of a new edition of Modern Canadian Plays, Volume One, 5th Edition. This was the first new edition since 2002. Since the volume contains 15 plays, permissions and printing were a considerable expense. This book was published in 2012.
- Publication of a new edition of Modern Canadian Plays, Volume Two, 5th Edition. This book has just been published, in August 2013.
Each step in the renewal plan required a degree of capitalization but, with the publication of the second volume of Modern Canadian Plays, Talon can look forward to a few years of normal operations within a context of a modern, updated infrastructure, one that comes close to rivaling that of a large press. Efforts now will focus on building sales and presence in the U.S. market and continuing the task of publishing the whole list in both print and electronic forms. We will also launch a new version of the website in the next six to eight months, one of its new features being the ability to sell ebooks directly from the site in a more efficient manner.
Talon looks forward to continuing its publishing activities in accordance with its mandate: making high-quality literary offerings to Canadian culture. We thank all our authors, readers, and supporters for their encouragement and participation in the world of books. We invite each of you to explore our Fall 2013 catalogue – we are making some good books this year! – and to watch our event listings page for more opportunities to participate.