McArthur succeeds in print while world goes to web


By Julie Maltby, BA'96
Thursday, March 27, 2008
McArthur and Company Publishing Ltd. Founder Kim McArthur.McArthur and Company Publishing Ltd. Founder Kim McArthur.
Publisher Kim McArthur, BA'75, BEd'76, has a message for those who suggest that print is dying in the cyber world we live in. “I would say, 'not so fast'! We went through this in the '80s when CDs first appeared. More and more books appear on-line, but there's the comfort level of not having to read from the screen. I think of a book as an intrinsically beautiful object."
It was 11 years of building a list of Canadian authors at Little Brown Canada (LBC) that she started in 1987 (a subsidiary of Time Warner) and then bringing them over to McArthur and Company Publishing Ltd. (M&Co), a company she founded at her dining room table with former staff and authors who supported her goal.

“Any entrepreneur will agree it's always a difficult road. It's always been my goal to publish Canadian authors from coast to coast," McArthur says.

Her career in publishing began in sales and marketing with McGraw Hill Ryerson and Methuen Publishers. She ran LBC until Time Warner closed it in May 1998. McArthur said she was content as an executive, but when circumstances changed, she had to decide how to continue living her passion. She was in a “holding pattern" before calling her fateful meeting with supporters.

Today, M&Co publishes an impressive list of best-selling and award-winning authors of fiction and non-fiction, including Nancy Huston, Marsha Boulton, and Barry Callaghan (who was among the supporters in McArthur's dining room almost 10 years ago). The company is now one of the top three Canadian-owned publishers of Canadian fiction in Canada. In addition, M&Co publishes international authors such as Maeve Binchy, Joanna Trollope, and Bryce Courtenay. It was Callaghan and the staff who hung a sign in the booth at the trade show where M&Co was publicly unveiled just four weeks after the closing of LBC that read, “You can't sink a rainbow."

McArthur attributes her success to three factors: passion, loyalty and an exemplary team of authors and staff. “I think the base of [my success] is that I'm completely energized by what I do. I love books and authors and I want others to enjoy them, too. Entrepreneurs need to have the sense of being absolutely crazy about their jobs, because that makes up for the nights you lie awake and wonder, 'how am I going to make payroll?'

“Also at the heart of M&Co's success are our fantastic authors and staff. They share my enthusiasm and remained loyal throughout. Some people are nervous about hiring staff who are as talented as they are. I think it's great to be surrounded by all-stars, and it has served M&Co well.

McArthur has been acknowledged numerous times for her success. She has been listed as one of Canada's Top 100 Women Business Owners for the past nine years, was named Consumer's Choice Businesswoman of the Year for Toronto in 2005 and was recognized as RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year for Start-up in 2001/2002. In November 2007, the Women's Executive Network (WXN) recognized McArthur's success by naming her as one of Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. The 15 entrepreneurial awards are granted to women who own and operate Canada's largest businesses, based on sales revenue and regional population.

Before joining the publishing world, McArthur applied her Western degrees by teaching English and History at Oakwood Collegiate Institute in Toronto. She credits Western with teaching her how to do research and for creating a great learning experience. Her university experience also exposed her to some of Canada's best authors, including Alice Munro, who was a Writer-in-Residence at Western during McArthur's undergraduate years.















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