BookCamp Vancouver: Major Wrap

Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend BookCamp Vancouver (the First!). As a co-organizer, I wasn’t (very) nervous I’d be turned away with my hat (laptop) in my hands but it still felt like a privilege to be among such smart and engaging people for a full day of books and tech talkin’.

The BookCamp Van team, notably Monique Trottier, Sean Cranbury, John Maxwell, Crissy Campbell, Nick Bouton, Suzanne Norman and myself, were ably assisted throughout the day by the students of SFU’s MPub program and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how great a job they did. Can I hire you all for Tech Forum? Please?

Also, the moderators kicked some serious discussion facilitating butt. I tried to make it to as many sessions as possible throughout the day and nearly all of the groups that I dropped in on were really humming. Lectures were few and collaborations (is that a plural? It is now!) were many.

Big ideas coming out of the day (at least for me):

  • A book is not software and software is not a bookhowever, two tracks that seemed likely to run forever parallel at one time in our lives (at least mineclearly I’m getting old) have now seen more than a few intersections. There are lessons to be learned on both sides as well as in the middle where the twain shall meet.
  • We could argue about copyright and DRM all day. Seriously. Easily. And there are always risks in taking content online or really in any new business model. But there are far more risks in not doing anything at all…I really felt the energy and optimism in BookCamp attendees. It’s true that not everything is going to work…but the idea of a trade paperback was poo-pooed at one time too. For winners to exist, they have to be experiments first.
  • Open source makes everyone stronger. The more we share what we know, the less reinventing of the wheel needs to be done and the more time we have to spend on actually creating books for the future.

Big thanks to Jo-Anne Ray, Rowly Lorimer and everyone else at SFU for being such great hosts. We couldn’t have had better digs. And thanks to all the attendees for bringing such lightness of heart and sharpness of mindit was your contribution that made it a real unconference.

Anyone interested in their very own BookCamp? Email me at mcowie@booknetcanada.caBookCamp organizers past, present and future are getting together on a call in the last week of October to talk about how to bring events like this to more places across the country.