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You play you win, you play you lose... you play.

Posted by postman_ex on 2006.02.01 at 23:35
Current Music: Contino Sessions - Death in Vegas
it occurs to me more and more these days what a strange, labyrinthine and generally opaque thing the book business is. i mean i've been working the retail angle of this trade since i was 17 years old and i still can't explain it. not to normal people. not in a single sitting, anyway.

the story of the book trade should go something like this: somebody has a thought that he/she writes on paper and shows some other people. these people get excited about these words and thoughts and think that other people would also be excited. so they turn these words and thoughts into a book which they then give to other people. these other people become more than excited by the words and thoughts. they become inspired. they begin to write their own books and begin trading them with even more people. soon everyone becomes inspired by thoughts, ideas and words. these thoughts, ideas, words and inspiration spread throughout the whole human race. the problem of cancer is solved, the disaster at pompeii is foreseen and averted, and the complete scripts for a lost season of sanford and son are treated like the book of kells. preserved under glass in the library of a famous irish university. one page turned per day. so that all might take time to bask in the glory of their art.

but... it's not always that way. not even most of the time.

we've all seen or read books that have made our skin crawl and caused our brains draw a straight blank. and we've all had those moments of clarity - where a writer has brought us into the world seemingly for the first time. just blown our minds with an idea or a turn of phrase - or reminded us of things that we didn't even know that we knew.

either way - books are the scylla and charybdis for a lot of us. they embody all of the dangers of exstacy and panic.

so... what about the book trade? what about the business of books? how does this work and just what the hell is it anyway?

- let me take a moment out here, switch gears, take another tack. -

this entry is the beginning of an idea. you see, my friend, chrystalene has been bugging me to write some stuff for this livejournal type-thing and i've been struggling with it. how can i make this remotely interesting and relevant to the rest of the world or even a minuscule fraction of it? does anyone really want to hear about the things that I'm really interested in such as my favourite ween songs or which album by the funkadelic is - in my opinion - their best? yes they do! you're absolutely right. but i'm talking about books here not deranged rock bands addled by lsd and platform boots. so, chrystalene, here you go.

this post will be the beginning of a running diary of my adventures in the book trade.

this weekend in victoria, british columbia i'll be attending the 2006 island bookselling conference on behalf of mother press media. this running diary will attempt to shine a light on the dark and magical apparatus of the book trade and our own frightful place within it.

the ball is in play...

Comments:


world wide minion
tworabbits at 2006-02-07 21:05 (UTC) (Link)

i've been bugging you, have i?

well, i guess so. as long as it works.

books and deranged rock bands could go together.
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