10 November 2010
Small Nova Scotia printer wins big with Scotiabank Giller Prize
KENTVILLE, N.S.—Last night’s 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize ceremony marked a big night for author Johanna Skibsrud’s and her novel The Sentimentalists, but also one for the books for independent printer and publisher Gaspereau Press.

Co-publisher at the Kentville, N.S.-based printer and publisher Andrew Steeves says it is the first time to his knowledge that a small literary house outside of Toronto has won the prize. Gaspereau Press printed a typical first run of between 600 and 800 copies of the award-winning book more than a year ago and Steeves says he has no plans of sending the work elsewhere now. “We are not dialing a big company in Toronto to dump out a big amount of books for us,” he says. “The plan is to keep printing here, we may enlist the help of some other printers in Nova Scotia but we won’t be sending it out of province and we are certainly doing the bindery here.”

Gaspereau Press was established in 1997 and can produce a press run of about 1,000 books a week, says Steeves. For those who can’t wait the week or so to get the book it is also available on the KOBO e-reader, but Steeves encourages people to go to local bookstores and ask for the printed version. “We are all about the tactile book,” he says. “The e-book is just a team player, something for people who want the book right away," he says. "Most of the book sellers we have dealt with have been super, they are thrilled to see someone who is not a big national company involved. They will be happy to show customers who look for this book other books while they wait for this to come in. I would encourage people to go to their independent bookstores, it will also be available through Chapters Indigo but if they don’t go to the local bookstores they won’t have them. Much like the local printers."

If past Giller Prize winning book numbers are to be believed, The Sentimentalists could sell between 40,000 and 70,000 copies. Steeves says bring it on. “I am up for the challenge,” he says. “We’ll see if the consumers are.”

The Scotiabank Giller Prize was founded in 1994 and rewards excellence in Canadian fiction. It comes with a prize of $25,000, the largest for literature in the country.

— Val Maloney
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