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Small Calgary author battles giant book retailer over money owed

Click to play video: 'Small Calgary author takes on bookselling giant Indigo over lost money, lost dreams'
Small Calgary author takes on bookselling giant Indigo over lost money, lost dreams
A small Calgary author is demanding payment and answers from Canada’s largest bookstore chain after she says it cost her not only money but also excitement over her first book launch. Tomasia DaSilva reports – Dec 5, 2022

A small, independent, self-published Calgary author is battling Canada’s largest book retailer, Indigo over money she says she’s been owed for months.

Stephanie Browne told Global News she’s been immersed in a “David and Goliath” tale since July 9, when she did a book reading and signing at an Indigo location in the city.

Calgary author Stephanie Browne at book signing. Courtesy: Stephanie Browne

Browne said the event and sale went so well, she was asked to consign a few copies of her very first book, Roots, a painted children’s rhyming board book.

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The contract stated she would be paid any proceeds within 30 days.

“A month after I did my consignment event I contacted them and said, ‘Hey, I haven’t received my cheque or anything. Is it on its way?’ and she said, ‘Yup it’s on its way, should be in the mail soon.'”

When it didn’t arrive, Browne said she was told there was an issue with her mailing address that needed to be fixed. But months later, she still hasn’t received any payments.

“It’s not like they owe me thousands and thousands of dollars. It’s not a huge amount,” she said. “But it’s the principle of it. It feels like they’re not responding to me, they’re ignoring my phone calls.”

“They’ve made money out of the book that I put all of my time, love and energy into and I haven’t received a dime.”

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Global News reached out to the Indigo location in question, which told us to contact head office.

We asked Indigo’s corporate team why the delay in payment and answers, as well as what other small authors could expect?

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The company sent us a statement advising that after looking into the matter, “We can confirm that payment was mailed to Stephanie Browne on November 30, 2022 and should be received shortly. We apologize for the delay.”

Indigo added it is committed to partnering with local authors and hoped to have an opportunity to work with Browne again.

Something the Calgary mom of four young kids said would likely not happen.

“I don’t want to do this again. This was a huge headache,” she said.

“I was so excited and now I just feel like it was way too much effort to get what I’m owed.”

Calgary author battles Indigo for money owed. Global Calgary

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Browne said local author signings are supposed to be a way to connect with the community — especially after the constraints of the pandemic.

Instead, she said she felt dismissed and “utterly unimportant”.

Still, she is grateful for the opportunity to share her story of how a tree survives thanks to the strength of its support system underground. Especially, she said, because she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without the support of family and friends.

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