Publishing Houses and the Periodical Press

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Prior to Confederation and the rise of responsible government in the Canadas, books, newspapers, journals, and notices were issued and controlled by the government. Religious publishing was especially dominant in the nineteenth century. In the first several decades of the twentieth century, Canadian publishers, such as Macmillan of Canada and McClelland & Goodchild (later known as McClelland & Stewart), were either branch-plant publishers or agents primarily for foreign publishers. Although mainstream publishers often served in a subsidiary role to companies in the United States and Canada during this time, the periodical press flourished and many newspapers in towns and cities were in keen competition for readers. Textbook and educational publishing was the financial mainstay of many publishers, such as Copp Clark, Clarke Irwin, and the Book Society of Canada. In the modern era, after Canada’s Centennial in 1967, Canadian publishers have striven for a global approach in their marketing. Yet many publishers, including the small press and private presses, have necessarily restricted their audience and readership. No two publishers in Canada are the same. Some are large, some are small, and diversity characterizes contemporary Canadian publishing.