Independent publishing house D&M Publishers Inc. says it is filing for bankruptcy protection.

The Vancouver-based publisher says it is working to locate an investor or purchaser for its assets.

D&M, which includes Douglas & McIntyre and Greystone Books, says it plans to continue operations while it restructures.

It says its subsidiary New Society Publishers Inc. is a separate legal entity, is not included in the bankruptcy filing and will continue business as usual.

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The original company that became D&M Publishers published its first book in 1971. (CBC)

Rowland Lorimer, director of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University, says American publisher Harper Collins is expected to buy the struggling Canadian company — a sign of the times for Canada's publishing world.

"What I expect to happen is that Harper Collins will assure the authors and everyone that it will continue D&M's publishing program and then it will come in and gradually examine each of the title areas and figure out which ones make enough money to continue and so forth," he said.

Lorimer says increasingly, well-heeled international publishing houses are the only outfits that can afford to do business in today's changing publishing climate.

Lorimer advises D&M authors to start looking for another publisher, as there's no guarantee the company's new owners will honour outstanding contracts.

D&M identifies itself as "Canada's pre-eminent independent publisher, with over forty years of success."

 It has published books that include the non-fiction work Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre, novels like Wayson Choy's The Jade Peony and art books such as The Art of Emily Carr.

The company, originally J.J. Douglas Ltd., was founded in 1970 in Vancouver and published its first book in 1971.