Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Toronto book editor Lynn Henry decided to work remotely from British Columbia for a month once Penguin Random House announced it would be shutting down its offices.

Derek O'Donnell

Toronto book editor Lynn Henry got the news during a visit with her sister in Victoria. The day she’d arrived, March 12, her employer, Penguin Random House, announced it would be shutting down its offices. She decided to work remotely from British Columbia for a month, to limit her movement and also support her sister, Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer.

The news about a beloved project came a few days later: Aislinn Hunter’s novel The Certainties, a book Henry had been editing for some two years, would not be coming out May 12, as planned.​

“It’s almost literally awaiting someone to press the button on the printer,” Henry said in an interview this week.

Story continues below advertisement

It made sense to push the publication back to August, but it was still a disappointment.

Globe Book Club, virtual edition: Join our livestream May 20 to hear Kathy Reichs talk about her new novel A Conspiracy of Bones

Spring is a busy time for book releases, and readers certainly have more time on their hands and are desperate for distraction during the pandemic-induced shutdown. But Canadian publishers have been busy pulling books from the season. Without traditional means of distribution, sales and marketing – physical bookstores closed, author tours cancelled and Amazon too busy delivering food and toilet paper – publishers know this is not an ideal time for a launch.

“We always try to publish a book at a time when it has the best chance of finding its widest readership,” says Kevin Hanson, president and publisher at Simon & Schuster Canada, which has delayed publication of several titles. “We want to give that book a shot.”

With Indigo, Canada’s largest physical retailer, shut down, along with independents across the country, he says, “it would be negligent of me to publish a book and ... damn the torpedoes.”

Some books have gone on sale and thrived: Kathy Reichs’s A Conspiracy of Bones, published in March, is a Top 10 bestseller. Others that might have been delayed were already en route and couldn’t be stopped from going into the uncertain market.

The release date of Emma Fitzgerald’s Hand Drawn Vancouver has been moved from May 5 to June 23.

But those that have been put on hold include former Olympian Perdita Felicien’s debut My Mother’s Daughter, (moved from April 14 to March, 2021) and Emma Fitzgerald’s Hand Drawn Vancouver (from May 5 to June 23). Publication is now TBD for Jordan Abel’s highly anticipated Nishga and Pasha Malla’s Kill the Mall.

In some cases, there are logistical issues: ECW Press has moved Music Lessons by Bob Wiseman from June 2 to July 6 due to a printer shutdown. Coach House Books in Toronto, which has its own presses, had to shut down because printing isn’t considered an essential service. Half the books on its spring list have been delayed into July, and that could change again.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s a tough decision, because fall is going to be jammed full of new releases – and a U.S. election. But we just don’t have the books yet,” said Coach House editorial director Alana Wilcox. “One is half-printed. The press sheets are gathering dust in our pressroom.”

Other delays are content related: Figure 1 Publishing has put off Julien Perry’s Washington Wine + Food until August, since the featured wineries are closed right now. Greystone Books pushed Stephan Orth’s travel book High Tech and Hot Pot: Revealing Encounters and Escapades Inside the Real China into the fall.

Some of the delayed books are being published earlier as e-books. Book*hug, for instance, pushed Where Things Touch: A Meditation on Beauty by Bahar Orang from May 28 to August 11, but will publish the e-book on June 14.

Other writers have had the publication of their e-books moved up, including Saleema Nawaz’s Songs for the End of the World. House of Anansi has moved up the e-book of Ian Hamilton’s latest Ava Lee novel, The Diamond Queen of Singapore, to May 26 from July 7, but moved back its print publication to August 4.

Biblioasis has pushed many of its books, but decided to publish a couple of titles in April because of their current relevance, including Menno Moto: A Journey Across the Americas in Search of My Mennonite Identity by Cameron Dueck and The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen. Both deal with themes of isolation and community.

And some books have been added to spring lists. Greystone is publishing a completely new edition of an older book by David Waltner-Toews which is now called On Pandemics: Deadly Diseases from Bubonic Plague to Coronavirus. This book will be published in the U.K. next week, and in North America in early May.

Story continues below advertisement

There will, no doubt, be more movement in the months to come: Greystone – which reports that sales in the last month are “way down” – is one of the publishers assessing its fall list to determine which books might need to be rescheduled into 2021.

“Everything depends on when the market begins to return, and with this in mind we see a few shards of light ahead,” says Greystone publisher Rob Sanders. “Not many, but some signs.”

Expand your mind and build your reading list with the Books newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies