Sitting in with the BC Booksellers Association

A month or so ago I was sitting in the office of Boxcar Marketing with Monique Trottier.  We were sitting around and discussing our usual panoply of concerns about the state – if not stasis – of the book publishing industry as well as BookCamp Toronto when she received an email from Rob ‘President for Life’ Wiersma.  He was looking for someone to speak to booksellers about using social media to get the word out and build communities online.  Monique would be on tour at the time so she recommended me.  Rob, clearly out of options, agreed.

When I arrived at the Marriott Hotel downtown and walked into that conference room I felt an immediate tingle of trepidation.  Wait a minute… who are all these people?  I recognize Rob, Ria from Duthie Books, a few others but I had never seen so many booksellers in one room before.  It was crazy.

Luckily I snuck in quietly as they tore the representative from some government retail agency apart over a number of cryptic issues involving credit card transactions.  Then Lee Trentedue of Galiano Island Bookstore spoke very eloquently about cats and building and supporting communities through a Buy Locally program.

Steve Osgoode, Director of Digital Marketing and Business Development for Harper Collins Canada, was up next.  Minor wardrobe malfunction aside he did an excellent job of speaking to new developments in the digital book world – from electronic galleys, to ebook sales to the ongoing improvements to digital catalogs.

I was up next and spoke for about 30 minutes on social media – blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc… – and managed to do well enough that no one passed out from boredom.

In the afternoon there were several roundtable discussions focusing on issues specific to the BC book trade and every bookseller participated.  The discussions were lively, everyone was engaged and Rob Wiersma deserves a lot of credit for putting it all together.  I look forward to more of it next year.

Over the next few days I will start to post links to various booksellers whom I met over the weekend and provide some thoughts on what and how to bring independent bookselling into the present with eyes to the future.  I was really excited by all the people that I met over the weekend and look forward to getting to know them more.

Sean Cranbury is the Executive Editor of Books on the Radio. He's also Founder and Creative Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. Sean is General Manager at the legendary Storm Crow Tavern and consults with literary arts organizations on digital communications strategies.

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