Publisher scrambling to get more Giller Prize books on store shelves

Gaspereau Press says it hopes to make a decision by the weekend on how to get more copies of Johanna Skibsrud’s Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel The Sentimentalists into bookstores.

TORONTO — Gaspereau Press says it hopes to make a decision by the weekend on how to get more copies of Johanna Skibsrud’s Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel The Sentimentalists into bookstores.

The tiny Nova Scotia publishing house has made headlines across the country for being unable to keep up with the high demand for copies of the novel, which won the $50,000 Giller on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Gaspereau said that despite the Giller win and flood of requests for The Sentimentalists, it was sticking to its policy of making its hand-crafted books locally with no outsourcing.

But on Thursday, Gary Dunfield at Gaspereau said he and fellow publisher Andrew Steeves are now considering “three or four options” that would allow them to produce the book more quickly.

Gaspereau prides itself on high-quality books and can only print about 1,000 copies of The Sentimentalists a week.

Dunfield says he wants the book in stores by Christmas.

“That would be my hope, yes,” he said on Thursday in a phone interview from the Gaspereau office in Kentville, N.S.

“I would expect that given the nature of this beast, we will make a decision fairly soon.”

When asked if he anticipated making a decision by the weekend, he said: “I hope so because you know what? I have lots of other things to do and I need to get on with them.

“I would hope that we can make a decision by the weekend.”

Skibsrud, who, at age 30 is the youngest Giller winner in the 17-year history of the prize, has expressed concern that readers can’t get their hands on physical copies of her debut novel (the electronic version is doing a brisk business).

Indigo Books & Music has thousands of copies of The Sentimentalists on order.

But Indigo has not a single copy in stores.

Dunfield says they’ve been in touch with Skibsrud via email as she vacations in Istanbul.

“We are listening to her and we’re concerned about what she wants,” he said.

“I have all sorts of people who are coming up to me and saying, ‘If there’s anything we can do.’

“I met a whackload of people on Tuesday evening (at the awards ceremony) and so everybody’s interested in talking but we’ll leave it at that.”

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