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Book Fund

Grants to Ontario Book Publishers for COVID-19
Support and Marketing Activities to Promote Authors

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Funding Source:

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Ontario Creates - Book Fund

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

06/04/20 5:00 PM ET


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Grants to Ontario book publishers for international marketing support to local authors as well as operational support to local authors impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Funding is intended to support publishing houses' business development and job creation to enhance the local economy. Eligible uses of funds include promotional activities to foreign and domestic markets, providing Canadian-authored books to local schools, and promoting Canadian authors nationally and internationally through festivals, readings, school appearances, and other events.

Ontario Creates understands that COVID-19 has created many challenges across the creative industries. While the 2020-21 program application processes and deadlines will remain unchanged, please note:

  • Projects may address necessary COVID-19 responses, in keeping with the program objectives. Companies will be permitted to budget funds for operations-related costs, including salaries. Project outcomes should account for these types of necessary expenses.
  • The cost of participating in virtual activities/events that facilitate international business and audience development will be eligible including costs associated with the preparation of marketing materials. 
  • As the COVID-19 situation evolves, successful applicants will be permitted to make activity changes as necessary.
  • Please contact the program consultant in advance to discuss the specifics of the circumstances and projected deliverables.

The evaluation criteria for this program includes a bonus score for projects/activities that support and reflect diversity and gender parity in Ontario, and/or applications from Francophone, Indigenous, culturally, and otherwise diverse applicants.

Eligible projects and activities may include, but are not limited, to:

  • book/ imprint launches;
  • creation of additional marketing tools and/or materials;
  • enhanced advertising and co-op programs;
  • specialized catalogs and mailings;
  • consumer contests;
  • backlist promotions;
  • attendance and costs associated with attending and exhibiting at international fairs, trade shows, conferences, provided these are not ones requested for support from the Export Fund - Book program. Costs supported by the Export Fund are not eligible for support under the Book Fund;
  • re-launch/re-brand activities;
  • redesign/upgrade of website to include shopping cart for direct consumer purchases;
  • author podcasts, videos, webcasts;
  • digital rights management;
  • interactive game based on book content;
  • search optimization of titles and/or catalog;
  • digitization of backlist for institutional and library sales;
  • original content in digital format, or bundled packaging of certain books or genres for exploitation on digital platforms;
  • exploration of alternate sales channels;
  • research and development of a digital transformation strategy/business plan

Activities relating to assistance for authors to travel and participate at readings, festivals, signing, conferences, and other events are supported under the Book Fund.

For additional project eligibility, including Author Tour Support Activity and Canadian Books projects:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 189200

Estimated Size of Grant:

Eligible applicants may apply for funding based on levels of eligible sales revenue. Successful applicants are eligible to receive up to $150,000 depending on eligible sales revenue, capped at 75% of the total project budget.

Eligible sales revenue: over $1,500,000 - Total funding available: $150,000
Eligible sales revenue: $500,001 to $1,500,000 - Total funding available: $100,000
Eligible sales revenue: $150,001 - $500,000 - Total funding available: $80,000
Eligible sales revenue: $20,000 to $150,000 - Total funding available: $30,000

For publishers with eligible sales revenues of less than $75,000, the funds requested should be proportional to sales, with total request not exceeding 33% of eligible sales revenues and in keeping with 75% of total budget.

Term of Contract:

Applicants are expected to begin incurring expenses related to the project no more than 90 days following funding approval notification. Projects should be completed with all expenses incurred and all deliverables provided by the applicant’s final report date, and no later than February 15, 2022.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants:
Independent, Canadian-owned-and-controlled, Ontario-based book publishers may apply for this program.

In the case of affiliated companies and subsidiaries, Ontario Creates will accept applications from independent, Canadian-owned-and-controlled, Ontario-based book publishers for which the same person, or group of persons, holds or controls the majority of shares, but only where the applicant companies maintain full control over the editorial processes, have editorial autonomy from any other publisher applying for this program, and produce separate financial statements.

To be eligible to apply, the corporation must:
- be a book publisher, defined as a corporation that undertakes professional activity involving the selection, development and editing of manuscripts or draft manuscripts, entering into contractual agreements with authors or copyright holders, publishing books under the publisher’s own imprint, in printed or other form, and assuming the risks associated with the production and marketing;
- be Ontario-based, with its central place of business located in Ontario, file Ontario corporate taxes and carry out three of the following primarily through its Ontario office: editing, production, marketing, sales, distribution or management. In addition, at least 50% of the publisher’s employees must be based in the Ontario office;
- be Canadian-owned and controlled, as defined in the Investment Canada Act (Canada);
- have been incorporated in a Canadian jurisdiction for at least two fiscal years;
- have published at least two books per year for the previous two years or have published a minimum of four books during the previous two years;
- distribute its books through normal bookselling channels;
- have annual net book sales revenue of at least $20,000 (calculated as the average of the most recent two fiscal years);
- derive more than 50% of the total sales revenues for the applicant Company from book sales;
- have at least six Canadian-authored titles in print;
- provide financial statements for the past two complete fiscal years including a balance sheet and an income statement at time of application. Review engagement and/or audited financial statements are preferred; however, Noticeto-Reader financial statements will be accepted. Exceptions may be considered for companies with less than two years of operations. Companies in this situation
should contact Ontario Creates in advance of the application submission deadline;
- be financially solvent and be deemed by Ontario Creates to be an ongoing entity;
- be in good standing, i.e., not in default of any contractual obligations, with Ontario Creates at time of application submission. This includes any reports, interim or final, that are to be submitted by or prior to the deadline date of this application round. Applications from publishers not in good standing with Ontario Creates will be considered ineligible and will not be accepted.

Additional eligibility requirements about publishers, partnerships, and other relevant information can be found at:

Eligible Project Budget Expenses:
The funding from this program can represent up to a maximum of 75% of the total budget, with the remaining 25% of the total budget from the publisher and/or other funding sources including other government sources, and third party participation (such as retail partners).

Ineligible Expenses:
Expenses that are ongoing operational costs are not eligible. For digital projects and/or projects with digital components, capital expenses related directly to the project (i.e., hardware, software) may be included to a maximum of 15% of the total project budget. For projects which are enhancements of an activity already underway any expenses incurred up to notification of project funding are not eligible. The exception is, as indicated previously, expenses related to the development of a digital transformation strategy/business plan, or a component thereof.

For new projects being undertaken, it should be noted that Ontario Creates will not relate to expenses incurred prior to notification of project funding in August.

Ineligible expenses include costs associated with:
- salaries and wages of staff not directly related to the project;
- staff benefit costs;
- fixed overhead costs (such as machine costs: telephone, fax, photocopier, computer); however, costs for long distance phone and fax, paper costs, couriers and other expenses directly related to the project may be included;
- occupancy costs (rent or mortgage of facilities); and
- hospitality.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an upcoming Ontario Creates Book Fund Information Session. Please complete the online registration form by 5:00 pm ET on the day prior to the Information Session. Unregistered guests will only be accepted if space permits. The same information is provided in both sessions.

Webinar #1:
Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm ET

Webinar #2:
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2020
Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm ET

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline: Thursday, June 4, 2020, 5:00 PM ET
Decisions will be communicated to applicants in August 2020

Successful applicants will receive funding during the course of the activities, triggered by pre-determined deliverables as follows:
- 60% on execution of the Ontario Creates agreement;
- 25% on delivery of a satisfactory interim report; and
- 15% on delivery of a satisfactory final report and all deliverables outlined in the agreement

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online Application:

Bianca Spence, Program Consultant, Industry Initiatives

Inquiries regarding the Online Application Portal (OAP) should be directed to: applyhelp@ontariocreatesca

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Ontario

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