Today and tomorrow, along with our wild friend Kate from Bean There Read That, The Cultured Animal will be busy drinking terrible coffee, initiating itself into the glories of Twitter, and doing a lot of listening and talking. Maybe even at the same time.
That’s right, folks – it’s time for the annual Australian Booksellers Association conference. And what fascinating times the book industry is living in!
Bookish people have a lot of ideas, let me tell you. Your Animal will be mulling them over and regurgitating them with the usual treatment over the course of the conference, and no doubt for some time afterwards too. So please do stay tuned.
Two interrelated and recurring ideas worth mentioning so far are:
1. Australia’s Minister for Small Business Nick Sherry’s recent faux pas predicting bookshops will no longer exist in five years is clearly still a sore point for many of the conference speakers, who have hit back at this ludicrous presumption with their eminent wit and knowledge of evidence to the contrary.
2. Physical communities appear just as important as physical books for booksellers in the digital age. The idea that online retailing is killing bookshops is far from the whole story – a story which, in any case, is only really just beginning. Or, as keynote speaker Becky Anderson of the American Booksellers’ Association and Anderson’s Bookshop put it, ‘This whole thing with eBooks is still to me the Wild West. Who knows where the dust is gonna settle.’
In the meantime, everyone should get themselves acquainted with The Indigenous Literacy Foundation and some of the fabulous work they are doing in communities (including publishing Grug in the Karrawa language). And don’t forget to pop National Indigenous Literacy Day Septemebr 7th 2011 in your diary. We heart.