Another national bestseller for the U of R Press

By Dale Johnson Posted: May 4, 2015 9:15 a.m.

The Education of Augie Merasty reaches number 7 on the Bookmaster bestseller list.
The Education of Augie Merasty reaches number 7 on the Bookmaster bestseller list. Photo courtesy U of R Press

The University of Regina Press has another national bestselling book – the second one since U of R Press was launched in June 2013.

The Education of Augie Merasty is a memoir of life in a residential school.

This book has been featured in national media, including CBC’s The Current, the Toronto Star, The John Gormley Show. It was also recently on the cover of The Globe and Mail.

“The Globe called it ‘one of the most important books of this season,’” says Bruce Walsh, Director and Publisher of the U of R Press.

“It’s a book that we think is perfect for the school system, but it’s obviously finding a broader readership, so that’s exciting for us,” says Walsh.

This success is adding to the national profile of the U of R Press and the University of Regina.

“In less than two years, we’re a player on the Canadian publishing scene, and we’re working very hard to have a footprint internationally,” Walsh explains. At the recent London Book Fair, he secured the services of one of the world’s top literary agents to sell the film rights for The Education of Augie Merasty.

“We’re located in the prairies, and our focus is on prairie stories – but these stories are not just of regional interest, but appeal to readers everywhere ,” he says.

Even with changing technologies, Walsh says traditional paper books are still the main part of the book-publishing industry.

“The e-book has plateaued at about 20 % of the market – mostly replacing mass market paperbacks – and the traditional book remains dominant. Our focus is on the physical book, although we do have a very robust e-book program. We expect five to ten per cent of our sales will come from e-books, and the rest comes from the physical book.”

Walsh says the success of The Education of Augie Merasty – as well as the U of R Press’s other national best-seller, Clearing the Plains – means the U of R Press is being recognized nationally.

“This is the sort of thing that authors want to see. They want to publish with a publishing house that knows how to leverage the marketplace, knows how to get media, knows how to do marketing. Some authors who have been publishing with other scholarly presses are now coming to us because they see we can do for them what their current publishers haven’t been doing.”

The University of Regina Press is Saskatchewan’s only scholarly publishing house, and is built on the foundations of the former Canadian Plains Research Center Press, with a focus on aboriginal issues, the environment and other topics while strengthening its peer review process.