First, some context…
2009 was a year of immense uncertainty in the book publishing industry as the digital revolution penetrated every level of the business from the readers all the way back to the writers.
In Canada, the change was massive and it seemed that every day there was a news story about another traditional publishing institution taking a hit as the ceaseless development of new technologies – and consumer expectations – redefined the landscape.
The doddering behemoth of a BookExpo Canada – the annual industry conference – finally crashed to the ground in the spring of 2009 when several of the major publishing houses decided that their money and attention were better spent elsewhere. The rest of the industry responded to the news with a collective shrug.
The publishing landscape was fast becoming a bleak, windless terrain and it was getting dark. The threat of the digital revolution had finally and irrevocably invaded the territory. New rules were being written, the natives were getting restless as old answers proved to be increasingly wanting in the face of urgent new questions.
I tracked these developments from my remote watchtower out here in the Western Hinterlands.
“Things are falling apart,” I’d think to myself, “This shit is getting pretty bleak.”
A flare appeared on the horizon and then another and another.
New voices started speaking, new ideas about the future of books, reading, publishing and storytelling started appearing online. Passionate discussions ensued, new ideas slipped past the traditional gatekeepers with increasing frequency and the next thing that you know I’m on a plane from the Hinterlands to the City of Smoke for BookCamp Toronto 2009.
Suddenly, it wasn’t all about hand-wringing, futile protestations and lamentations for the days of the rotary dial phone.
Suddenly, it was about leadership. New leadership, fresh ideas and positive change.
It was like a percussive blow that opened up huge new avenues for conversation and community in the Canadian and international publishing scene. It began the momentum that carried forward to BookCamp Vancouver and many other cool, independently organized projects around the country.
So, it gives me great pleasure to know that the organizers are putting it back up on the rail in 2010.
Hope to see you there!
Here’s the details:
- Book Camp Toronto 2010 is tentatively scheduled for Saturday May 15, 2010 at the iSchool@Toronto.
- Register to attend starting April 2, 2010 at eventbrite.com (specific url coming in March)
- Sign-up as a session facilitator at bookcampto.pbworks.com between April 2, 2010 and April 16, 2010 or contact via email (see address above) to submit your smashing session proposal.
- Follow http://twitter.com/BookCampTo for updates
What is BookCamp, what is an unconference?
- BookCamp is a free event. It is an unconference. That means all attendees are participants at the event. All points of view, backgrounds, and levels of experience are welcome. That also means all participants are responsible for themselves. While there is a certain amount of mob rule at a BookCamp, attendees are encouraged to vote with their feet, clean up after themselves, and speak-up when they encounter something they don’t like — in other words attendees are generally encouraged to act like adults.