The book business as we know it today started with John Saunders in 1963, as an off shoot of his dad's stationary and office equipment store. Jack Saunders originally started with a photography shop and studio in 1945 after returning from the war.
John started with a small workspace at the back of the store by taking selections of books out to the local schools for them to have a look at and then place orders.
The catalyst to future successes came when John made an arrangement with a few larger publishers in Toronto, to stock quantities of titles, which allowed him to take selections of books into the schools.
John, at that point, was a one-man show doing all of the selling, stock ordering, deliveries, and invoicing, etc. The space was quickly outgrown and staff was hired. In 1966, an old house at 48 Ste. Marie Street was purchased and the book division moved there.
The business continued to grow and the company was moved to 199 Campbell St., which was 7,200 sq. feet. It served as an office and warehouse, then later as an office call center. This location is now closed as of 2013.
In 1970, we were a wholesaler selling library books from many distributors and to schools and public libraries. We had 3 sales people and 7 or 8 people in the office. We were covering counties close to home as well as Northern Ontario, but we continued to go farther and farther a field. We grew to be one of the larger Canadian wholesalers with a presence right across the country. In 1985, after several years of trying, John made the change from wholesaler to exclusive publisher's agent.
The first publisher that we became an agent for was Gareth Stevens, who John met at a book fair in Frankfurt and later made an agreement with. This was a significant deal for both John and Gareth. This was our first agency from which the rest followed and for Gareth he had yet to print his first book. As we continued to grow we caught the attention of other U.S. publishers.
29 Stewart Rd, Collingwood, ON L9Y 4M7, Canada
Tel : 705-445-4777