Writing in the March issue of Quill & Quire, Wolsak & Wynn publisher Noelle Allen wrote an opinion piece that argues for the need for a bestseller list focused on the books published by the many Canadian-owned publishers that often disappear from lists that typically focus on top-10 titles. Allen started building such a monthly bestseller list in the fall of 2021, and it has been published by the Hamilton Review of Books.
As a follow-up, Q&Q worked with Bookmanager to compile a bestseller list of books published by Canadian-owned presses and sold by Canadian independents over the past year. The data for this list is based on reports from 234 independent bookstores collected by Bookmanager from February 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022.
The 25 bestselling titles published by Canadian-owned presses all fell within the top 75 bestselling Canadian-authored titles reported to Bookmanager.
Seven titles were published in 2021 and the oldest titles on the list were The Paperbag Princess, first published in 1980, and Love you Forever, first published in 1995. Eleven of the books on the list are children’s and YA titles; eight are nonfiction, including one calendar; and six are fiction.
A significant majority of the titles are by Indigenous authors. Bob Joseph, Robert Munch, Richard Wagamese, and Phyllis Webstad each appear more than once on the list.
Douglas & McIntrye, with three titles, has the most books on the bestseller list. Annick Press, Arsenal Pulp Press, Page Two Books, Medicine Wheel Education, and Portage & Main Press all have two titles.
1. 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality, Bob Joseph (Page Two Books)
8. A Is for Anemone, Roy Henry Vickers (Harbour Publishing)
10. Richard Wagamese Selected: What Comes from Spirit, Richard Wagamese (Douglas and McIntyre)
12. When We Are Kind, Monique Gray Smith and Nicole Neidhardt, ill. (Orca Book Publishers)
14. The Orange Shirt Story: The True Story of Orange Shirt Day, Phyllis Webstad and Brock Nicol, ill. (Medicine Wheel Education)
15. Love You Forever, Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw, ill. (Firefly Books)
16. The Paper Bag Princess (Classic Munsch), Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko, ill. (Annick Press)
17. Mushrooms of British Columbia, Andy MacKinnon and Kem Luther (Royal BC Museum)
18. Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality, Bob Joseph (Page Two Books)
19. I Sang You Down from the Stars, Tasha Spillett-Sumner and Michaela Goade, ill. (Owlkids Books)
22. Polestar Family Calendar 2022, Ruth Porter, ed. (Polestar Calendars)
24. Wilful Blindness: How a Network of Narcos, Tycoons and CCP Agents Infiltrated the West, Sam Cooper (Optimum Publishing International)