Here’s a quick recap for this annual publishing unconference that took place in Toronto on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
This is the second time I’ve attended BookCampTO. For me, last year’s BookCamp was inspiring and invigorating. I spoke to and heard from people who were doing interesting things in publishing, and who had amazing ideas. I also had the chance to speak about some of the nitty gritty of my job (e.g. how can we extend ONIX) and the uncharted territory of ebook readers, ebook creation and ebook selling.
This year, I was hoping for a great discussion of the changing roles and opportunities in both ebooks and pbooks. I didn’t get that in the sessions I attended. It’s a bit luck of the draw chance, which makes it more exciting.
I heard about gamification (a fascinating concept which could’ve been discussed all day), a discussion of genre (is CanLit a genre?), book design on the cheap (“How cheap?” “$0”), and two sessions I wanted to be different than they were (freelancing and “how to get a job in publishing”). I wanted the last two sessions to be discussions of the opportunities and challenges for people in publishing doing freelance work, or having a second job on the side, but they were really aimed at students looking for work.
Where I found the most value in BookCamp this year was in the 15-minute breaks between sessions which allowed for plenty of casual talks. A great idea, because the informal discussions can expand on what you heard in a session in great ways.
To wrap up, I would definitely consider going again next year, but I will be more careful about choosing sessions for people already working in publishing, rather than the ones solely aimed at newbies.