The written word has been a part of civilization from its earliest beginnings. Books, whether engraved in stone, or in parchment, illuminated manuscript, paperback or e-reader form, are at the heart of information, knowledge and storytelling. And information, knowledge dissemination and storytelling are at the heart of civilization.
Book publishing is the creative act of bringing the written word to an audience; of editing, packaging, typesetting, designing, illustrating, marketing and yes, selling an author’s words to as many people as can be reached. This inter-dependent world of writers, publishers and readers has, in recent years, seen seismic shifts that have left many wondering what the future holds for the book industry.
For the past six months, I have been involved with John Calabro from the Association of Art and Social Change in looking into some of these questions. We have determined that there is a major gap in the cultural firmament of English-language Canada and that the industry and literary scene could benefit from a galvanizing event such as the major book fairs that draw hundreds of thousands of people to the Salon du Livre in Montreal and to the large-scale, multi-day fairs in Paris and Turin.
A re-imagined book fair does not answer all the complex challenges confronting publishers today. But it can be a place where readers are re-enchanted by the magic of books; a place where books of all formats and genres entertain, inform, inspire, incite and soothe; where we can tell our own stories to ourselves and to the world and where we can share in the stories of the world.
The re-imagined Toronto Book Fair will make the book the star attraction and remind us that books are fundamental to our culture. It will be a place for readers to connect in the most immediate ways with those who write and those who produce the books they love, and a place where they can re-connect with the passion and enchantment of the world of reading.
Link to Report