A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective


Friday, May 13, 2016

30 Days of Sunshine Tour


Mark Cameron, author of Goodnight Sunshine has a fun BC tour planed this summer.
4200 km, 25+ locations
1 family of 4 in a camper van

Goodnight Sunshine is Cameron’s debut novel and he’s hustling the book with a 6-week working vacation that will stop at 25+ municipalities around the province (mostly readings at libraries, with a few farmers’ markets and bookstore signings as well. He’ll be charting the course via twitter @markofwords


Sleepwalking through life on a quiet island near Seattle, Oliver Bruce is struck twice in one day. Emerging unscathed from an accident that leaves his SUV a crumpled mess, Oliver finds a fragment of a letter about an invention that could change the global energy sector. The discovery brings Oliver face-to-face with the widening chasm between the life he is living — a tedious existence as a café owner, husband and father — and the richer life he longs for.

Drawn toward the mystery behind the message he intercepted, and to the wife of the man who wrote it, Oliver finds himself on a mission to locate the invention — a journey that takes him into the jungles of Ecuador.

Told against a backdrop of colorful characters and exotic locations, Goodnight Sunshine unwinds Oliver’s gradual descent from youthful optimism to mid-life malaise, ultimately forcing him to re-evaluate his core beliefs and to face the true source of his discontent.

Mark is from Gibsons, BC and you can find out more about his book here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27968672-goodnight-sunshine
Tour info here: http://www.catchourdrift.ca/press-kit.html

Monday, January 23, 2012

Penguin Canada Launches Razorbill.ca

Penguin Canada has launched Razorbill.ca which is actually a Ning site. I was curious about Ning in its early days and belonged to a couple of networks there so nothing really came of it. I’m interested to see what Penguin Canada does here.

Razorbill is a hub for conversations about YA fiction, pre-launch news and author chats with folks like Joseph Boyden (love him), Hiromi Goto, Charles de Lint and Carrie Mac.

I joined because of some thematic convergence that the marketers will like to know about. 1) I got my Amazon news blast recommending hot titles in January. The first title was John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I visited the book page because I liked the cover. Read the blurb to understand that it is YA fiction and has something to do with a girl who has cancer. Didn’t strike me as anything I needed to act urgently on so I carried on with my day. 2) I got an email from Robyn at Citizen Optimum introducing me to Razorbill, and including a link to grab a blogger badge, like you see below. John Green’s The Fault in our Stars is mentioned in the email. Hm. 3) I check out Razorbill and because I’m procrastinating about the day job, I sign up for an account. Then I complete the tedious form to eventually find the link to the badges. And here we are.


So anyone checked out Razorbill.ca? What do you think? Worth it?

I’m tired of all the little “community” sites. It’s like having a ton of party invites from different friends and eventually just staying home. Authors—do these sites help you? Marketers—do the analytics suggests these influence purchases directly or indirectly?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Type Books Animated Stop-Motion Video

I spent a couple of evenings reorganizing our bookshelves at home to be colour coordinated and organized by genre. Apparently so did crazedadman (read that one more time craze dad man). Not only did he organize his own shelves, he then thought to get his wife and a ton of volunteers involved in making this stop-motion video of animated books.


Mark has directed me to another awesome site of photos of incredible bookshelves: http://bookshelfporn.com/tagged/unique

Monday, October 31, 2011

Reading Is Sexy 2012 Calendar

You might remember the 2010 Reading is Sexy calendar.

I was Miss January.


The fine folks at TravelingStories.org have sent me the 2012 calendar that is helping raise funds for their organization, which provides books to kids who have none and strives to inspire a love for reading everywhere.


Traveling Stories finds schools and/or orphanages that want a library but cannot afford one on their own. Usually the school or orphanage already has a room for the library, they just don’t have the books or staff to run it. So far they have launched libraries in Sudan and El Salvador. In the US, their strategy is to inspire kids to read by hosting interactive literary events.

If you’d like to learn more about Traveling Stories, check out their FAQ.

And if you like sexy, pin-ups of reading peeps, then by all means get your copy for only $15. Order here.



Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Why Pizza and Books Go Together


Publishers are looking at new models for selling their wares, and in the case of Spanish publisher ES Ediciones, pizza pairings is the choice.

La Pizzateca, located in Madrid’s Barrio de las Letras, bakes up artisanal pizza pies, calzones, and special book sidedishes. The bookstore/pizzeria has this special menu item: “menú de las letras” — a slice of pizza and a book for just EUR 5. Satisfy your mind and your belly.

Website: http://esediciones.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/La-pizzateca/116529655070130?v=wall
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lapizzateca

(Source: Springwise)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The National Book Count: January 10-16

The National Book Count is running from January 10-16. Ugh, I’m a day behind.

Here’s the Press Release:

Vancouver, January 10, 2011

Canadians like to think we are a nation of readers.  This week we’re going to test this cherished belief. We are counting how many books are purchased in stores and checked out from public libraries—both adult and children’s book in French and English. How many books do we buy and borrow on a typical week in January?

For the next seven days (January 10-16) The National Reading Campaign in partnership with BookNet Canada, BookManager, la Société de gestion de la Banque de titres de langue française (BTLF) and The Canadian Urban Libraries Council is going to count the total books sold in Canadian retail outlets or checked out from eighteen major public library systems across Canada.*

Never before have these organizations worked together to tabulate one number for the acquisition of total books in Canada. We estimate we will capture more than 80% of book retail sales and the circulation habits of ten million Canadians. What will the number reveal?

On January 19th on the eve of TD National Reading Summit II: Toward a Nation of Readers we will announce the results. The National Book Count will shed new light on how central reading is in Canadians’ lives today and will serve as a baseline number for Book Counts in years to come and for comparative Book Counts with other countries.

It all begins this week.

About the National Reading Campaign

In 2008 a group of concerned librarians, parent activists, authors, booksellers, teachers, publishers and corporate leaders came together with a common goal—developing a national reading strategy for Canada and Quebec.~ Out of this initiative the TD National Reading Summits were born. Summit I was held in Toronto in 2009, Summit II will be in Montreal and Summit III is planned for Vancouver.~ For more information on the program, speakers, accommodations or information on last year’s summit visit http://www.nationalreadingcampaign.ca

*The combined aggregators will reach an estimated 80% of the total retail market and The Canadian Urban Libraries Council will track circulation figures for the public libraries in Halifax, Gatineau, Brampton, Burlington, Hamilton, Kitchener, Markham, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Whitby, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Burnaby, Greater Victoria, Richmond, Surrey and The Vancouver Island Regional Library system.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What Book Publishers Can Learn from the Film Industry

Good article in the Globe and Mail this weekend about the film business, the long tail and how digital changes everything.

Have a read and remember Chris Anderson’s Theory of the Long Tail:

The democratization of the tools for production, democratization of distribution, and the ability to connect supply with demand has a huge impact on the cost of reaching customers, the choice in the market, changes to consumption patterns and a move from a small number of hits to a large number of niche products.

We see here the long tail of theatre revenue: ticket prices, popcorn.

We see the “experience” change as this media business discovered what they could upsell to make up for falling revenue: 3D, specialty food, games, dvds.

The cost of distribution (digital vs. film reels) should have decreased the ticket price. Instead it has increased and we’re blind to that because we’re paying for the upsells, or the experience.

Books, magazines and newspapers need to figure out the upsell.

Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.

In “The economics of the movie business” reporter Susan Krashinsky looks at what’s driven the film industry lately, and what will propel it in the future.

What fuels the industry? Studios + theatres

  • 2 major components of the industry: the studios that make the films and the theatres that show them.
  • Theatres are ok because they’ve created new experiences that audiences are willing to pay for.
  • Studios, like publishers, are in trouble. The challenge is falling DVD sales

What’s driving the industry: Concessions and popcorn profit

“Cineplex gets roughly 59 per cent of its revenue from the box office and 30 per cent from concessions, but the real profit is in popcorn. Theatres’ profit margins on a movie ticket are roughly 48 per cent of sales, but they get to keep about 80 per cent of what you pay for food. In the United States, those margins are closer to 90 per cent.”

How are things in Canada?

  • Different.
  • More choice
  • Canadian theatres, such as Cineplex, chose to franchise instead of seek more concession revenue. Specialty food courts in theatres bring in more cash overall.

“Cineplex chief executive officer Ellis Jacob said. ‘We do a lot more money per person than [the U.S. chains] do, and the reason is we’re giving you more choice.’”

Help us all. Apparently theatres will go the way of airports. Self-service drinks and payment processing.

What’s up with 3D and digital?

3D lets the theatre charge a $3 premium.

Why switch to digital projectors and 3D? Big savings

Pay attention to Anderson.

Digital is cheaper to make and ship than film reels.

“For Imax, a film print for one of its big screens costs about $20,000 (U.S.) while a digital print is closer to $200. Regular movies are about $1,200 (U.S.) on celluloid, but the savings on the digital are still significant for the studios, and agreements are in the works to subsidize those prints so the cost is neutral for exhibitors.”

Premium tickets: Everyone can be a VIP

When you can no longer charge the same for a digital experience as you could for a physical one, you have to find new things to sell. New points along the demand curve. For movies, it is 3D and premium tickets for reserved seating, leatherette chairs, bigger screens, VIP auditoriums for 19+ viewers, in-seat concession services and booze.

The international market is seeing fast growth
If you make a film with an international audience in mind, then you can capitalize on the marketing to an international audience. Rich Gelfond, CEO of Imax, cites the movie Inception, which is shot in various locations from Tokyo to Paris. “As studios try to sell to more global audiences, he said, they’re trying to look more global too.”

Global action: Imax follows the global trend

  • Imax.
  • More screens: China, Russia, Thailand and Kazakhstan
  • “In 2008, Imax released 4 movies in China, and this year, it will have 13.”
  • Edward Jay Epstein, author of The Hollywood Economist, says comedy translates less easily internationally but for action movies, “as much as 78 per cent of the box office comes from overseas.” Fill in the blanks by reading the full article: Globe and Mail

Monday, August 09, 2010

SFU Digital Strategies: Peter Armstrong on Lean Publishing

SFU Summer Publishing Workshop on Digital Strategies featured Peter Armstrong talking about how a book is like a start-up and why a lean publishing model is the way to go. Here’s his presentation.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Internet Is Made of People

The internet is made of people and today my favourite person is Maureen Johnson. She writes books and she has a manifesto.

The Manifesto is this:

The internet is made of people. People matter. This includes you. Stop trying to sell everything about yourself to everyone. Don’t just hammer away and repeat and talk at people—talk TO people. It’s organic. Make stuff for the internet that matters to you, even if it seems stupid. Do it because it’s good and feels important. Put up more cat pictures. Make more songs. Show your doodles. Give things away and take things that are free. Look at what other people are doing, not to compete, imitate, or compare . . . but because you enjoy looking at the things other people make. Don’t shove yourself into that tiny, airless box called a brand—tiny, airless boxes are for trinkets and dead people.

Please read her full post. If you don’t and you consider yourself a brand, it’s just you and the baby seal.

Full post.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hardback Leather Case for MacBook and MacBook Pro


Oh yes, this looks nice. Thank you for the link Craig Riggs.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Book City Jackets


Book City Jackets offers printable PDF book jackets.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Enter to Win a Copy of the Reading Is Sexy Calendar

Follow me on Twitter or become a fan of the Boxcar Marketing Facebook page to be entered into the draw for a Reading Is Sexy Calendar.

I’ll make the draw on December 16 and promptly mail you the calendar. I have 2 calendars to give away, 1 for the Twitter followers and 1 for the Facebook fans. So yes, you could get more than one chance to win.

The 2010 Reading Is Sexy Calendar promotes literacy and raises funds to help kids and adults with dyslexia. Proceeds go to the Canadian Branch of The International Dyslexia Association.

Buy the calendar.

You can look at my lovely mug for all of January.



See Emme’s behind-the-scenes photos.


Buy the calendar.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Reading Is Sexy Calendar

Attention Readers: This calendar is hot.


The 2010 Reading Is Sexy Calendar goes on sale this week to promote literacy and to raise funds to help kids and adults with dyslexia become literate.

Buy the calendar.

I sat down (virtually) with Emme Rogers to talk about the calendar.

Who does the calendar supports?

The Canadian Branch of The International Dyslexia Association

Our goal is to promote literacy and raise funds to support those with dyslexia.

What was the impetus behind the idea?

Back in the spring, Ian Martin (http://www.twitter.com/IanAMartin) was starting up his publishing house, Atomic Fez Publishing, and was trying to goad me into saying “Reading Is Sexy” as often as possible on twitter. This sparked the idea for doing a “Reading Is Sexy” calendar promoting literacy.

Initially the calendar was supposed to be shot “calendar girl” style, like the one Bryne Pen did on Salt Spring to raise funds and awareness for The Land Conservancy. Alas not all our models understood what I meant by that, so it will likely be our theme for next year.

We chose the International Association of Dyslexia as our charity because they interact with Emme online (@onbida) and Emme is dyslexic. That said, she is one of the lucky kids who had access to help, so she has never treated her dyslexia as a crutch, but rather as her secret superpower.  It is why she looks at the world in a different way, is not limited to typical rules dictating how things work, and has approached life with perseverance, hard work and problem solving.

Who is Emme?

Emme is the girl next door. You know the one. She was the Tomboy who always out climbed the boys to reach the most precarious limits of the tree in the yard. The one who you just gave the ball or the puck to on the soccer field or hockey rink for fear of her side tackle or crosscheck. The one who loved making mud pies, but wouldn’t be caught dead at a tea party.  You know the one.  The one whose Mom couldn’t watch what she was up to for fear that she’d have a heart attack. That girl.  The one whose friends you didn’t mess with, not because she was manipulative, but because she hated injustices and wasn’t afraid to say so.  Just ask the boy next door.  Maybe he’ll pull out the photo of the black eye he was sporting the day he was a ring bearer.

We’ll Emme’s all grown up now and she’s no longer “Leo the Late Bloomer.”  A homosexual drama teacher has taught her how to put on makeup. Somewhere along the lines she lost her fear that her bum is too big and she wears fitted clothes now.  And, if wonders will ever cease, she actually likes to put on a party dress, minus the runners and hockey jacket.

So in essence, Emme represents that secret hidden voice in many of us women—the things that go through the heads of our mothers, girlfriends and ourselves—the only difference is that she says these things aloud, and rather then be embarrassed about these thoughts or insecurities she screams them aloud for all the world to hear. 

And yes, she’s a total character and given her tomboy past finds it totally hilarious that she is now seen as Vancouver’s / Canada’s gal-about-town and go to girl on all that is hot and sexy in this lovely world of ours.

Who’s in the calendar?


If you’d like to support the Canadian Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, please buy the calendar.

And if you’d like your calendar signed by the men and women of “Reading Is Sexy”, please come out to the Launch Party and Literary Celebration on Thursday.

Local: Gudrun Wine & Cheese Bistro (150-3500 Moncton Street, Steveston, BC)
Date: Thursday December 3, 2009
Time: 7 pm until late

Stop by for author readings, calendar signings by the models, and the auctioning of some of Robert Shaer’s photos from the shoot. Plus Gudrun goodies, wine and beer will be on sale.

Oh, and have a closer look at Miss January.


I’m reading Andrew Zuckerman’s photography book, Creature.


See Emme’s behind-the-scenes photos.

Buy the calendar.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Olfactory Buzz: Scent Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

Scent Marketing vs. Social Media via Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley on 10/30/09

The other day, Ad Age’s CMO Strategy Section ran a column by Harald Vogt on scent marketing. Vogt may not be entirely impartial on the topic – he is the founder and chief marketer of the Scent Marketing Institute – but he makes some good points when he questions why so few marketers employ olfactory marketing strategies [...]

Friday, November 06, 2009

Amazon and Wal-mart Price Wars

New Yorker, Nov 9, 2009)

Price wars typically hurt the retailers involved, and often times their suppliers, especially if the cost cutting is shared by the two parties. The Amazon and Wal-Mart recent decision to deeply discount a key group of titles just seems like a race to the bottom. What are they really trying to achieve with this? The suggestion in the New Yorker article is that deeply discounting a select group of things brings people to the store, and then you can sell them more stuff once they’re there. This has been the Wal-Mart model for years. Appear to be “the lowest price is the law” (on a lot of things) and you get people there for the discount, but once they’re there, they aren’t going to price compare, they’ll just purchase the non-discounted products as well.

What the two companies appear to be fighting over is a selection of bestsellers, but James Surowiecki argues that it’s really customers.

So you might wonder why Wal-Mart recently decided to start its own price war, taking on Amazon in the online book market. Wal-Mart began by marking down the prices of ten best-sellers—including the new Stephen King and the upcoming Sarah Palin—to ten bucks. When Amazon, predictably, matched that price, Wal-Mart went to nine dollars, and, when Amazon matched again, Wal-Mart went to $8.99, at which point Amazon rested. (Target, too, jumped in, leading Wal-Mart to drop to $8.98.) Since wholesale book prices are traditionally around fifty per cent off the cover price, and these books are now marked down sixty per cent or more, Amazon and Wal-Mart are surely losing money every time they sell one of the discounted titles. The more they sell, the less they make. That doesn’t sound like good business.

Not good business, if you’re involved in selling books and you’re not Amazon or Wal-Mart. For the two behemoths, they’re only taking a hit on about 10 titles and the impact on revenue is minimal, if they can bring in other sales. The price war is also worth the publicity. Wal-Mart certainly wasn’t top of mind yesterday but I’m thinking about them today. (Nasty thoughts, but thoughts nonetheless.)

Read the full article: New Yorker, Nov 9, 2009)