The government of Prince Edward Island has axed a subsidy designed to support the province’s publishers. The Island Publishers Support Program offered up to $10,000 to PEI publishers to “encourage and develop Prince Edward Island information, stories, and authors,” and “help increase sales of Prince Edward Island books,” according to the program’s website.
For PEI’s publishing and literary communities, the cut must seem like déjÃ vu: last year the provincial government announced it would defund its publishing assistance program, but promptly overturned the decision. At the time of the reversal, Culture Minister Robert Vessey told CBC News that a meeting with the province’s publishers had convinced him to give the program another try, with the expectation that more would take advantage of it. “It’s a not a huge dollar figure but it helps the publishers and I think it’s very important that we continue that program,” Vessey said.
A representative from the Department of Tourism and Culture states that the most recent decision to cut comes after the program “saw very little uptake; in fact, this program … was for the most part accessed by one business.”
Acorn Press received funding through IPSP in 2012. Owner Terrilee Bulger is now left to once again figure out how to sustain operations in PEI. Bulger told CBC News that although 2012 has been the company’s biggest year yet, she wouldn’t have sent her full roster of 13 titles to press had she known the cuts were coming.
Irene Novaczek, director of University of PEI’s Island Studies Press, says that despite the expectation surrounding the grant’s 2011 reinstatement, her company was shut out from the program because of its institutional affiliation. “We have already swallowed our bitter pill,” Novaczek writes in an email to Q&Q. “The further blow to other publishers is most regrettable.”