Book^2 Camp – It’s All About the Conversations and People

Earlier, I wrote about my trip to NYC to particpate in  Book^2 Camp – an afternoon of intense discussion, thought, and pondering about the future of book publishing and independent bookstores.

Book^2 Campis an unconference. For the unitiated, with an unconference there is absolutely no set agenda or speakers prior to the event. A group of 100+ publishing executives gathered in a Soho office space and people suggested ideas for discussions. Those ideas – written down – were then taped to a grid and attendees decided what conversations/discussions piqued their interest. Again, for the unitiated, it can sound somewhat like chaos, but I’ve attended many unconferences and find the level of conversation and discussion extremely rewarding and though-provoking. Book2Camp was no exception.

And, as many people have mentioned on Twitter, the many conversations were the best part of the day.


I met new people and spoke to many people I’ve met previously, including:

Levi AsherLevi publishes the site Literary Kicks, and he’s published several ebooks, including: The Cards I’m Playing: Poker and Postmodern Literature, Why Ayn Rand is Wrong (And Why It Matters), and others.

Levi organized the session – Surviving and Thriving as an eBook Publisher – that I participated in. I look forward to reading more of Literary Kicks and conversing with Levi on Twitter.

Philip TurnerPhilip and I attended many of the same sessions. When we spoke during a break, I was beyond excited to discover that Philip published Edward Robb Ellis’ Diary of a Century when he worked at Kodansha. The late Edward Robb Ellis, a Midwesterner who moved to New York City and worked for a variety of newspapers, wrote a volumnious diary for his entire life. If you’ve never heard of A Diary of the Century: Tales By America’s Greatest Diarist, I wholeheartedly recommend tracking the book down. The book features excerpts from Ellis’ diary throughout the years and is a wonderful look at one man’s life. I also loved the book becuase Ellis love for New York City shone through.

Ardal Powell – Ardal is the CEO of Music Word Media Group. I didn’t speak to Ardal for long, but I’m interested in learning more about Music Word Media and what he’s working on.

Jim HanasJim is the author of Why They Cried and is at the forefront of digital publishing and eBooks. Hanas learned a lot of valuable insight in the eBook trenches – giving away thousands of electronic copies of his book. Hanas presented at the first Book Camp and reportered actual numbers. You can read more about Hanas’ presentation and ebook knowledge here.

Tobias Buckell – I hadn’t seen Tobias in person since we attended a Writers of the Future writing workshop in Los Angeles in 2001. If you’re a science fiction fan, you should be reading Tobias’ novels and shorts stories. Over the years, I’ve been extremely impressed by Tobias’ approach to book publishing and making a living as a writer. He was in town to talk about Kickstarter at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change conference.

Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness – the co-hosts of Books on the Nightstand, a wonderful books and reading podcast, and Random House sales reps. It’s always great to see Ann and Michael in person and have a chance to discuss books and book publishing. And, if you’re not listening to Books on the Nightstand, you really should be. At this point, there are tons of previous episodes to fill your podcast listening time for weeks. Fair warning – your wallet will suffer if you listen for long, because you simply can’t listen without scribbling down at least 2-3 books to buy per episode.

Erica BarmashErica is the Senior Marketing Manager at Harper Perennial. We met last year at the Book Blogger Convention and have traded various Tweets throughout the year. Erica is also deep into planning her wedding for the NYC Courthouse. My wife and I got married on a barge in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and it’s always fun to hear people’s wedding and wedding preparation stories.

David Wilk – According to his business card, David is the Head Trickster at Booktrix. We attended many of the same sessions, and it was definitely interesting hearing about David’s eBook publishing experience.

Again, Book2Camp was all about the people and conversations. There were a lot of people passionately discussing books, reading, the future of independent bookstores and the future of book publishing – exactly my kind of people.



3 Replies to “Book^2 Camp – It’s All About the Conversations and People”

  1. I think that the un approach would be a lot of fun. The let-us-meet-on-Saturday-all day approach, complete with agenda of boring stuff, does not work for me at all. Can’t/won’t stay awake. Tnx for a stimulating report.

  2. @twitter-15922584:disqus I definitely agree. I can’t think of anything more boring than a conference on a Saturday with an agenda that you don’t find interesting. The Unconference approach certainly works, and it helps that I’m fascinated with the future of books, book publishing, reading, etc.

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