Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Scott McIntyre at the AGM

The Alcuin Society Annual General Meeting was the place to be on Tuesday night, May 21, if you wanted to rub shoulders with the big names of the publishing trade and attend a very inspiring talk by Scott McIntyre, veteran publisher and co-founder of the acclaimed Douglas & McIntyre.

Scott delighted the audience with a remarkable presentation that immersed everybody in recollections of more than 40 years of activity. It all started in grade 11, when he was "seduced by the world of print, paper and type at an early age" as he puts it, to the moment when he says "I saw the last of the game as it was played by us, book people".

In his easy, casual, relaxed style, Scott took us on a time journey that emphasized the publishing standard of "the book comes first", the money struggles, but also the energy and engagement present in publishing community in general, and at D&M in particular. He talked with passion and excitement about moments in his career, and dear friends he made along the way. But in the end, "the chains are going to be here and destroy the ecology of books. We either put a stand or lose. We put a stand and lost," Scott smiled nostalgically.

Eventually, the audience left the room absolutely inspired by such a testimony about the joy, serendipity, angst and gratification of publishing. It was a vibrant occasion for reminiscence for the connoisseur, and an eclectic introduction into the publishing culture for the layperson.

Update! You can watch Scott McIntyre's entire presentation on YouTube or download the audio here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Internet Archive

There is a dull ache in witnessing the word losing its power in print and slipping into the digital realm. But the good news is that the word is just changing, not vanishing. There are more readers than ever before, and it is getting easier and easier to get quick access to any published content.

The concept of 'library' has changed as well, being challenged by the digital revolution. While we do not know how things are going to evolve in the future, we also have to acknowledge the good aspects of the electronic realm, even in a field as traditional and palpable as the library. Enter the Internet Archive, which is a non-profit organization established in 1996 in San Francisco. It includes a wide range of historical collections, such as texts, audio, software, and archived web pages. Its goal is to help preserve these outstanding resources, while facilitating their access for researchers, historians, and all interested, really. Print related, there are some wonderful books from the beginning of the 20th century which are scanned and made available to the general public.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The beauty of letterpress

An interesting initiative comes from Neenah Paper from Alpharetta, Georgia: they put together a website, the Beauty of Letterpress, to celebrate the wonderful craft and the unique results of letterpress printing. The website serves as a resource for the enthusiasts, introduces a history of the technique and presents an extensive list of the letterpress printers in the United States. Most importantly, it features many examples of letterpress prints, so the visitors can admire the beautiful results and the possibilities offered by this type of printing.
It would be great to have a similar resource in BC to bring the community together. After all, there is no better counterargument to the extinction-of-the-print theory than a beautifully designed piece of letterpress work.

Friday, May 03, 2013

A life in publishing: Scott McIntyre

Scott McIntyre will give a presentation to the Alcuin Society on May 21, at 7:30. It is bound to be a night to remember because, without a doubt, Scott has lots to say about books and publishing. It is taking place at the UBC University Golf Club, 5185 University Boulevard, Vancouver following our AGM.

Scott McIntyre has been a central and passionate presence in the Canadian publishing industry. Together with Jim Douglas, he founded Douglas & McIntyre publishing house in 1970, which brought around 500 books into the world, making them the greatest Canadian publisher. Throughout its activity, D&M maintained a high standard, striving to publish high-quality books and promoting Canadian authors.

In a time when it is not uncommon for publishers to go out of business, and the future of the printed book is uncertain, Scott is not afraid to look ahead with optimism and consider the changes to come. He is not intimidated by the existence and growth of ebooks. On the contrary, he embraces them, considering them "the new mass paperbacks." He thinks, however, that publishers should explore new business models, find new ways to stay in business. The good news? "Writing is not going away."

Not least impressive are Scott McIntyre's sense of humour and his storytelling skills. Scott McIntyre on cow stretch marks: [video link]