Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award on June 3 at the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris Awards. She explained in her acceptance speech why she thinks paper books will continue to flourish. The full text of her speech is here [PDF file]:
My own bookselling activities began in 1961, when, together with a friend, I hand–set my first poetry collection and printed it on a flatbed press. It had seven poems, and we didn’t have enough a’s, so we had to disassemble each poem before we could set the next one. The cover was printed from a lino–block, and the pages were rubber–cemented in—a mistake, as the rubber cement dried out shortly thereafter and the pages fell out. We made 200 copies of this book—wish I’d kept more of them, considering the increase in value—and went around to bookstores in Toronto, which were all indies then, except for Coles, which didn’t sell many Canadian books anyway. Some of the booksellers were kind enough to let us put these little books of mine on the magazine rack, where they sold for 50¢—we wrote the price on with a pencil. So that was my first bookselling adventure.
[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]