What I Did on My Trip Out West

I just got back from a quick trip to Vancouver. SFU runs a PubFight league every year and so it is a good opportunity for BookNet to get out there, meet the new mpub cohort, share the wisdom of the supply chain, meet some retailers and, this year, go to Bookcamp Vancouver 2010.

This was my third bookcamp so far, punctuated by TOC, MIP, the IDPF digital conference, digital book world, O’Reilly web 2.0, barcamps, ignite events, even demo camps held in the future. I was pleasantly surprised that the Vancouver Bookcamp provided me with an informative event and the opportunity to listen in on where people are at in this, our disruptive digital age, without feeling like I’ve heard it all before.

I also visited a couple of retailers. One was Sitka, the new store opened in Vancouver just recently. It is a beautiful store and while I stood at the till going over salesdata a customer came in and was in awe that a new independent store had opened, totally against the trend, as he saw it, of indies closing. This got me thinking about just how many indies have opened recently. The Good Egg in Kensington market, Of Swallows,Their Deeds, & the Winter Below on College, Mill Street books in Altamonte, Sitka in Vancouver, Type books a few years ago now but still considered new in my books. Not a bad number really, (and if you know of more I would love to hear about them).

I finally got to visit Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks as well and had a great conversation with Barbara-jo. I was in awe of her storegorgeous fixtures, an incredible kitchen for cooking classes, author events and television shows. Someone was shooting an episode while I was there. It is just the kind of store with the whole integration of the culture of food and books, that makes for a succesful retailer. Barbara-jo has even written and self-published her own cookbook which has had brisk sales through her store. I bought a copy not just for flattery but because it was a well made book with a great story to tell. The book is called “Cooking for Me and Sometimes You: A Parisienne Romance with Recipes” about Barbara-jos trip to Paris and the food along the way. It is an intimate little book like the store, nicely illustrated, nicely bound and allin her words “making books right”. An aha moment came to me when I referred to her book as part of the slow-book movementan allusion to the slow-food movement that serves as a counter point our obsession with speed.