Canadian Magazine Industry News
9 November 2009,     TORONTO
Beaver coffee table book creates new revenue stream
Editor of The Beaver Mark Reid says the idea for the recently released hardcover book 100 Photos that Changed Canada started as a conversation between him and his wife, a photographer. “We thought if two people can have such an engaged conversation about photographs could we engage the nation in photographs and the ones that matter to all of us?”

Working with photo editors at The Globe And Mail and Canwest, Reid and The Beaver put together the feature “10 Photos that Changed Canada”, which
"There are photos that change the way we view history," says Reid
appeared on the cover of the August/September 2008 issue of the magazine. The issue received such a positive response Reid thought they had to do more with the story. “I thought, can we find 20, 30, 40 photos,” he says. “The numbers started to grow and that’s where HarperCollins came in. One of the representatives is a subscriber to the magazine and was thinking ironically enough that they should contact The Beaver and talk about turning the article into a book.”

HarperCollins has high hopes for the 230-page book, says Reid, because it is unlike any other piece done about photos and history before. Beaver publisher Deborah Morrison says the $45 book was produced through a royalty deal with HarperCollins but would not comment on the per cent it is receiving from each book sold.

The Beaver is using the book as an opportunity to cross-promote the magazine, inserting subscription cards into the book and running advertising in the magazine and on its website. “We promoted the book as a pre-sale to subscribers,” says Morrison. “And we are using it in a donation drive. If an individual gives enough then they get a copy of the book.”

This book might be the start of a brand extension into book publishing, says Morrison, who notes PMB statistics which say that readers of the magazine read about 22 books a year. “We will continue to look at it on a project-to-project basis,” she says. “It would certainly please me to no end to have a project like this every year.”

Morrison says though The Beaver has nothing but positive things to say about working with HarperCollins she was surprised to learn the publisher of the book had about the same amount of resources to work with. “We were under the impression that they had more resources than us,” she says. “We quickly learned that they are as tight for cash as magazine publishers. It truly has been a collaborative effort.”

Each of the 100 photos in the book is accompanied by a short essay written by contributors including Charlotte Gray, Peter Mansbridge and Christie Blatchford. Contributors were compensated as they would be for writing or shooting photography for The Beaver. “I believe that The Beaver has always paid a competitive wage and this is no different,” says Morrison.

The 100 Photos that Changed Canada is available at bookstores nation-wide. Reid and Morrison will be joined by Don Newman, former host of CBC Newsworld’s “Politics” and other contributors and photographers in a tour across Canada supporting the book. Information on the tour can be found here.

— Val Maloney
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