news | Wednesday April 9, 2014

Today is B.C. Book Day!

The government of British Columbia has declared April 9 as B.C. Book Day! Perhaps today is the day to visit that indie bookstore in your neighbourhood, or pick up that west-coast tome you’ve been eyeing. British Columbia’s book scene is as rich as this beautiful province’s environment and as diverse as it’s cultures, and today we officially celebrate that.

What is B.C. Book Day? From a press release of the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC):

The creative industries are hugely important to British Columbia’s economic well-being of which indigenous book publishing is a significant component. With global distribution in both print and digital formats, BC publishing brings our stories to the world. On April 9th the BC Legislature will celebrate the achievements of BC’s publishing industry with a proclamation and an exhibition of BC-published books at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria.

BC Book Day will be an opportunity for MLAs and staff to meet the province’s publishers, authors, writers’ festivals directors, librarians and booksellers, and for all to mark the extent of the BC publishing industry’s contribution to BC’s economy and culture. The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, will be in attendance and a Proclamation declaring April 9th as BC Book Day will be read in the Legislature before it goes into session.

BC publishers estimate that 80% of their titles are authored by residents of the province indicating a strong cultural impact. BC authors such as Douglas Coupland, Jack Hodgins, Lorna Crozier, Patrick Lane, Polly Horvath and Andrew Weaver are household names, not just in BC but across the country and internationally. BC-published books such as Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse, Angie Abdou’s The Canterbury Trail and Wayson Choy’s Jade Peony have all been contenders in CBC’s Canada Reads and Charlotte Gill’s Eating Dirt, a book about tree planting in BC, was an international bestseller. Our books have won national and international recognition through awards such as the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Awards, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards and the RBC Taylor Prize.

Association of Book Publishers of BC (ABPBC) members are located all across the province and produce books in all genres that reflect their region, BC, Canada and the world back to their readers. BC is the home to the largest Aboriginal publishing company in the country, Theytus Books, and one of the best and largest of children’s houses, Orca Book Publishers. Companies such as Harbour Publishing, Douglas & McIntyre and Caitlin Press have long contributed to our regional knowledge. Both Arsenal Pulp Press and Anvil Press in Vancouver are urban presses that focus on contemporary topics. Older and newer companies like Oolichan Books in Fernie, Brindle & Glass in Victoria and Talon Books in Vancouver continue their traditions of excellence in literary publishing. The University of British Columbia Press has one of the largest academic programs in the country.

ABPBC publishers serve diverse communities: art lovers, business people, scholars, travellers, history buffs, foodies and gardeners, urban and rural dwellers, educators and kids, and book lovers everywhere. BC books are also translated in languages across the globe and sold in over 75 countries including the US, UK, Australia, Korea, France, Germany, Iran and China.

In recent years, the book industry has undergone enormous and sometimes challenging changes in the retail environment and in the digital realm. In the face of these changes the flexibility and tenacity of the industry and its leaders in BC have served the community well. BC publishers have grown export markets, found alternative sales venues and taken the lead in Canada in digital initiatives. Our ebooks are available on all commercial sites and in public and university libraries across the country. In the autumn of 2014, the ABPBC will launch a collection of 2,000 books in EPUB format for BC’s public libraries; the collection will be the first of its kind in Canada. Print and electronic editions from BC can be found across the world bringing BC literature and culture to millions.

“The publishing community is appreciative of the Provincial Government’s role in fostering our strong industry through the BC Arts Council and other measures including the newly created Creative BC,” states Ruth Linka, President of the ABPBC, “We look forward to celebrating our successes with our partners in Government on April 9th, BC Book Day.”

The ABPBC expects that BC Book Day will be repeated in future years so that communities in all parts of our province may share in the celebration of BC books and authors.

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