Provincial book publisher funding cut again on P.E.I.

The province has eliminated subsidies for book publishers on P.E.I., worrying many in the industry that fewer Island stories will land on bookstore shelves.

The province has eliminated subsidies for book publishers on P.E.I., worrying many in the industry that fewer Island stories will land on bookstore shelves.

The Bookmark bookstore has a large selection of books by and about Prince Edward Islanders.

"We really have a boost in the summer market, we really have a boost at Christmas where everyone wants to send their uncle, their grandmother, their father local books," said Lori Cheverie, Bookmark's store manager.

A few of those books come from large, national publishing houses, but most are from P.E.I.'s fledgling industry.

"It's short-sighted because our Island identity has a lot to do with our culture and what better way to show our culture than through our books?" said Deirdre Kessler, an author.

The province only re-instated funding for book publishers last year after cutting it the year before.

The budget was just $10,000, but the government says it's concentrating efforts on other programs with broad appeal.

Not that publishers of local books are raking in the profits.

The owner of Acorn Press says this will be her most prolific year, with 13 new books coming out.

But Terrilee Bulger said she wouldn't have sent all those books to the presses if she'd known government would pull its funding.

"Forty-eight per cent of people on the Island are struggling with literacy, they like to read stories about us, about our places and our history," Bulger said.

Just over a year ago Acorn Press was at the heart of a letter-writing campaign to have the book publishing subsidy reinstated the last time it was cut.

Now Bulger says she's ready to start all over again, but this could be the last time.

She says she's tired of having to fight on P.E.I. for something every other province provides for its literary industry and she's talking again of simply moving the entire operation elsewhere.