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Canadian books honoured at Leipzig Competition

For Immediate Release
March 10, 2017

Vancouver, BC – Two Canadian books have just earned international recognition. The Alcuin Society would like to congratulate their designers and publishers:

FRANK VIVA, designer and illustrator, Outstanding in the Rain, by Frank Viva (Tundra Books);

and

CAMERON MCKAGUE, designer, The Missing Novella, by Jon Davies & Derek Sullivan (Oakville Galleries).

The Stiftung Buchkunst, based in Frankfurt, Germany, curators of the international exhibition “BEST BOOK DESIGN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD” at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs, selected their 2016 award-winners (for books published in 2015) in an international competition in February, 2017. They have just released their list of awards, which will be presented at the Leipzig Book Fair later this month. Of almost six hundred books submitted by thirty-two countries, fourteen winners were selected. Out of only twenty-one shortlisted books, these three Canadian designers were honoured to have their books chosen. Continue Reading…

Jim Munro, co-founder of Munro’s Books, dies at age 87

The Alcuin Society Board is saddened to learn of the death of Jim Munro, co-founder of Munro’s Books.

Here is his obituary from the Victoria Times Colonist:

Jim Munro, co-founder of Munro’s Books, a cultured, gregarious and dapper man-about-town, has died at age 87.

“He was at home, in his favourite chair, with his daughter Sheila and wife Carole by his side,” says a posting on the Government Street store’s website, signed by his longtime staff members.

Munro retired from the bookstore in 2014 but was still a regular visitor.

On Monday, he went downtown for his regular lunch with Doug Koch, a store employee and friend of many years. Munro died later in the day … (you can read the full obituary here)

We are grateful to his contributions to literary life in Canada and for his generous gesture of giving Munro’s Books to employees of the bookstore, which ensures that we can still experience it when we are in Victoria.

Image credit Oregon State University

A new blue

Print Magazine has reported that scientists have accidentally discovered a new shade of blue. It was discovered in 2009, and will start being available later this year: “The pigment is the result of heating a mixture of black manganese oxide and other chemicals to almost 2000°F. The manganese ions absorb red and green wavelengths of light, producing a durable blue color that doesn’t fade in oil or water.” Continue Reading…

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WePress: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside’s printing makerspace

One of the topics that has been exciting the library community in recent years is “makerspaces”. These are workshops that allow members of the community to use tools that they may not have access to at home, with the goal of developing skill levels and interest in the larger community in making things. These can include many different kinds of tools from woodworking to computing. Continue Reading…

Independent Online Booksellers Association book collector scholarship

The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) is pleased to announce it will offer to a book collector, for the first time ever, a scholarship in the amount of $750 to be used at one of the several book seminars offered in the U.S. and the UK. Continue Reading…

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Waterstones organizes contest for sleepover

To make good use of social media, businesses not only have to keep their profiles updated, but also take advantage on the spot of random events that create some hype. We have just reported the story of the tourist who got accidentally locked inside a Waterstones book store in London. It turns out that the store’s media coordinator was quick on her/his feet to take advantage of the noise created on Twitter, probably inspired by all the people who confessed they would not mind being locked in a book store. This is why Waterstones joined efforts with Airbnb to organize a contest, asking participants what book they would read should they happen to spend a night in the book store. The ten winners had the privilege to spend Friday night, October 24, inside the store.

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But this was to be nothing like the adventure of David Willis. It is like comparing Robinson Crusoe’s shipwreck to an all-inclusive vacation on Riviera Maya. The winners (and their guests) got the deluxe version. They started the evening with a tour of the eight floors of the store after 9 pm. Then special guest Richard Wiseman, a sleep expert, offered tips for a good night’s rest (?). (I would have expected more of a literary topic.) The book lovers were free to spend the rest of night as they wished, sleeping or curling with a book on the air beds. Snacks were provided, and so was breakfast. The guests had access to WiFi so that they would not only feel like home, but could also document the whole experience. Which, I am assuming, did not hurt Waterstones’ marketing effort.

Tourist locked inside bookstore in London

Twitter has been credited with starting not only trends, but revolutions as well. Now, on a smaller scale, it helped rescue an American tourist locked inside Waterstones bookstore in London. David Willis was still on the upper floor of the store, when the staff locked the doors. He used Twitter and Instagram to announce his situation to his followers, and eventually the police and the Waterstones management came to rescue. Interesting how Mr. Willis preferred this method rather than use his resources to locate the police number and call them directly.

Anyway, the story travelled around Twitter with lightening speed, getting more than 12,000 retweets. Some of them are hilarious, and a couple of them contain some movie script worthy ideas. Of course, there were not few (including myself) those who wondered why Mr. Willis did not make the most of the situation by spending his time reading his favourite books.

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Eventually Waterstones posted a tweet matching the gargantuan crisis: “We are pleased to announce that Mr. Willis is a free man once more.” The irony: to be freed from pages of wonderful literature by 140 characters or less.

The whole story on BBC News.