While speaking on behalf of Canadian Booksellers Association these past couple of weeks, I have certainly been exposed in various ways.
Early last week I was on CBC's Power & Politics. You can watch the clip here. (I come in at about 1 hour and 4 minutes into the broadcast)
On Friday last week, I was on CTV's Business News Network's Midday Markets with Andrea Mandell-Campbell and Howard Green - you can watch that clip here.
Along with a handful of other radio appearances both last week and this, I was also in the CBC Radio One studio with Jian Ghomeshi on Q Tuesday morning, whose other guest was Michael Geist and we discussed the two different sides in the debate. You can listen to that here.
But, of course, the most ironic thing happened yesterday.
A producer from CBC's The Lang & O'Leary Exchange asked if I could appear on the show yesterday evening opposite Paul Misener, VP of Global Public Policy at Amazon. I had to politely decline because I was already booked to host a local author event with a book from a small Canadian publisher in my community. In other words, "Sorry big Amazon executive, I can't debate you right now because my local community, a local author and a small press publisher that I am supporting need me."
Funny that THAT is one of the main reasons that CBA is speaking out right now -- for the hundreds of booksellers across our great nation do just that type of thing every day. They host and support local author events in their local communities every day which adds to the incredibly rich and dynamic experience that Canadians currently have when it comes to books. You can efficiently and easily get the books online if you prefer that, you can get deep discounting at big box warehouses, you can pop into a local drugstore or supermarket, or you can engage within a bricks and mortar store in your local community. We don't want ANY of those to go away -- we want them ALL to continue to be here, adding to the mosaic of the "book" experience.
And here's the clincher. Last night, we only sold a handful of books. The author, who did an excellent job of holding her audience fascinating throughout her talk that evening, apologized to me because we didn't sell many books. I reminded her that while selling books is good for us, for the publisher and for her royalties, the evening wasn't just about the sale of a physical product.
It was, and will always be about that connection we were able to help make between an author and the reader, a physical and live discussion and communication, a culturally significant moment in time in which people actually gather together to celebrate, to share, to interact and to exchange ideas.
Being a conduit for such activities is one of the wonderful perks of being a bookseller. And one of the reasons why we're continuing to speak out. I don't want to see communities continue to lose these types of things.