Indigo starts a new chapter

Canada’s largest bookstore chain hopes a sale will help turn its story from tragedy to triumph.

What happened: After a year defined by a cyberattackboard upheavals, and continued financial losses, Indigo is going private in a sale to Trilogy Retail Holdings and Trilogy Investments, companies owned by the husband of Indigo founder and CEO Heather Reisman.  

  • It’s all part of a plan to revive profits and refocus on books. By going private, it can carry out changes without the intense scrutiny of publicly reported earnings.  

Why it matters: As the nation’s biggest seller, buyer, and marketer of books, Indigo is crucial to the health of the entire Canadian publishing industry. If it went kaput, Canada’s book supply chain would crack like the spine of an old paperback. 

  • When Indigo shut down last year following the cyberattack, it sent publishers into a spiral. Sales evaporated and launches for new books tanked without in-store visibility.

Stat line: Canadian book sales numbers are murky, but independents likely account for just ~15% of sales, leaving Indigo and Amazon to account for most of the remaining 75%. With Canadian bookselling essentially a duopoly, it’s no wonder publishing is in a precarious place.—QH