Apple Canada has been granted approval under the Investment Canada Act to establish iBookstore Canada. As Publishers Lunch puts it, they gained approval “in exchange for multiple ‘commitments.’” The list of commitments promises increased attention for Canadian books, which is good news for Canadian authors and their publishers. However, Apple will have a difficult time fulfilling those promises simply because many Canadian publishers are slow to consistently identify their Canadian contributors as such in their books’ metadata.
Apple’s iBookstore will no doubt use ONIX files to populate their websites as all other e-retailers do. But when a book authored by a Canadian does not have the Canadian contributor identifier in it, there won’t be anything to notify the retailer that there’s an error. The iBookstore would need to hire someone whose only job would be to look at every title for sale and make sure the author is or isn’t Canadian. This is unlikely so some Canadian books may end up slipping through the cracks. If the iBookstore also features an iBookstore Canadian bestseller list, unmarked Canadian books could miss out some more.
This is all to say that an awful lot of effort has gone into making sure Canadian authorship is prioritized in Canada, but if we don’t do our part it will be hard it won’t work. We are so proud of our Canadian books. Why aren’t we shouting it from the digital rooftops?
The easy way to find out if your Canadian book is labeled properly is to look it up in SalesData. If there’s a little red maple leaf next to the contributor field, you’re good. For information on how to make sure your books are correctly displaying the Canadian contributor click here or just get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Getting this right will help you with more than one retailer and with several other websites—not to mention with online cataloguing next year.