Raincoast Books cofounder and long-time CEO Allan MacDougall dies

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      A major figure in the B.C. book publishing and distribution industry has died at the age of 71.

      Allan MacDougall cofounded Raincoast Books, a division of Raincoast Book Distribution, in 1971. The company began distributing other publishers' books in 1988, when it signed a deal with Chronicle Books.

      From there, it grew to distributing books for more than 100 publishers.

      MacDougall's biggest coup as a book distributor was obtaining the deal for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, repeatedly setting records for the largest domestic print runs in Canada.

      This success was one reason why MacDougall was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Media and Entertainment in 2004.

      The company was a major supporter of the Vancouver Writers Fest during MacDougall's tenure as CEO. He retired in 2009, a year after the company shut down its publishing arm.

      Over the years, its authors included Anne Fleming, Nick Bantock, George Bowering, Alison Pick, and Paul William Roberts.

      His son Peter told the Vancouver Sun's John Mackie that MacDougall "had a huge, huge heart" and that he "just had a lot of time for everyone".

      "Allan believed that the culture of a company is its most important asset," states a February 20 media release from Raincoast Books, "and he led by example while building Raincoast into the largest book distributor and wholesaler in Canada. Allan had a never-ending supply of energy, a mischievous sense of humour and deep and abiding interest in people from all walks of life."