ALL YOU CAN EAT // Book Summit Toronto 2011

While researching at my internship with Connexions Directory Publishing, and Sources I stumbled upon the following:

“On Friday, June 17, book professionals will convene at Harbourfront Centre to discuss the ever-changing landscape of the Canadian book industry at Book Summit 2011.

Book Summit’s ALL YOU CAN EAT: Reading, Writing and Publishing with the New Creative Content brings together a plethora of writers, publishing professionals, editors, librarians, educators, booksellers, literary agents, policy makers, publishing students and an exciting group of speakers to discuss how the book has been transformed through new business models, technology and delivery.

It is time to consider what impact these changes will have on what matters most – the content.

We look forward to seeing you at Book Summit 2011!”

Get it?? 

I had to go! Luckily there was a student admission price, which was significantly cheaper than the adult one – woo! I love food, and thought the name of this event was really fun. To me it suggests the ingestion of books, which I thought was brilliant! I love the idea that you can consume literature.

“All you can eat” reminded me of something Michael Gnarowski a Canadian poet, author, and publisher said to me while in an interview. He said that “literature is a living thing,” and so that literature evokes thought as well as feelings from within that should be discussed, and allows you to be emotionally connected with it. Well… I definitely get the same kind of reaction from food! Certain tastes make me feel a certain way, food comforts me the way a good book does, and generates thought based on how my senses react to the taste, smell, and texture.

My overall experience at the Book Summit wasn’t one that I had envisioned or expected to have. It wasn’t as easy to network as I had hoped it would be, and there were lots of clicky groups of people who were content speaking with others that they already knew. In the end it was a good experience, and I did learn a lot. Here is a little bit of my experience, what I loved most, and thoughts that I left with

The keynote speaker, Lev Grossman – Technology Writer & Book Reviewer for Time Magazine – was incredible. I may be biased in saying this, but I enjoyed him mainly because we had the same opinion. Let me explain – I AM A BOOK LOVER – and not the e-book kind. Grossman brought us back to the time of scrolls, and the initial forms of the book which were scrolls and tablets. The biggest advancement in the technology of the book was the transition from scroll to tablets, and so the written word became non-linear. As Grossman described people began to silent read, and were able to go back and forth  between pages. Grossman stated that, “the e-book isn’t a revolution but a complication”. E-book’s are reverting back to the form of the scroll, which doesn’t offer us anything innovative like novels have. Books, and novels in particular have allowed the reader to collaborate with the author, and become part of the text. With books this happens uninterrupted. Silent reading can commence, and you fully engage with the fictitious world. On an e-book you can be easily interrupted by alerts, messages if you are connected online, or various other apps.

Grossman also stated that books show your brain. I have always – and will continue – to scope out other people’s book collections. It shows you what their passions are, and what they enjoy reading. I take pride in the books I select to have out on my bookshelf, and am critical about which ones I tuck away in my wooden chest in the basement. It’s a tough choice when you have more books than can fit on your shelf, but you choose your most favourites so that you can have them on hand. Grossman described a personal experience of his in relation to his father’s book collection. His father isn’t very well, and in the basement of his childhood home are all his father’s books. They are a map of Grossman’s father’s knowledge, brain, and literary travels. I think that is remarkable, and I too am proud of the books I have selected to read, and have on display in my room. It doesn’t help that I feel like I’m being nosy or gossipy when looking at someone’s book collection behind their back… because it is a true description of their character. Almost like it’s a look into their soul.

I agreed with Grossman and his thoughts on books vs. e-books. In my personal opinion here are a few things that I am not willing to give up just yet even though the advancements in technology are constantly pushing novels more and more out of date…

1. Notes in the margins! This may be my english literature – academia side – taking hold, but I love writing facts, and thoughts in my copy. That way I will always have them. Not to mention highlighting! I always highlight quotes that are meaningful and that I love, or the key parts of a literary work.

2. With a novel you can decipher how far in the book you are! Whether it’s near the beginning, middle, or end you have an idea of how far you’ve invested yourself in the book, and how much more you have until everything unfolds. Plus, once I’m near the end of a novel I tend to speed read if I’m really into it!

3. The moment you finish your book you feel an indescribable pleasure once you turn that last page, or shut the book altogether. You feel accomplished.

4. When you see a book you have read on your shelf I find myself reminiscing about its content. I love looking back on the novels I’ve read, and being able to tangibly pick up the work and sift through it – re-read my notes/highlights – and know I’ve spent my time well – reading.

5. Lastly, browsing. I LOVE BOOK STORES! Whether it’s chapters (which is now associated with Indigo), used book stores, or garage sales – I can’t pass by a pile of books without looking. I personally enjoy heading over to chapters and perusing the isles for the next great fiction writer. Or even looking at all the fancy paper, and journals that I can write and fill my own memories in.

I love the written word, and there is something special about books. I love curling up in bed with a novel, and folding back the pages. Keeping track of how far along I’ve come… that can’t be replaced by an e-reader, e-book, the iPad, or technology in general.

I learned a lot while at the Book Summit and met a few interesting people who I made sure to grab business cards from in order to keep in touch; but if it came down to a book or an e-book I think by now you know which I would choose…


About Dee

Marketing Specialist
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