Book convention ’08

As previously stated, I attended the Book- & Library con in Gothenburg this Thursday. I thought I’d recount some of that experience here for the benefit of the ‘scryers’ of the TwilightShadows.

Staying the night with two girls…

The trip was paid for by the department I attend, the Department for Culture Studies, but of course we had to pay the entrance fee out of pocket. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of my self. I took forever to find out when the buss was to leave from Lund. At 7.15 am as it turned out… I quickly realised that it would not be practical, nor much fun, to get to Lund from Hässleholm at that hour. So I asked a dear friend of mine, Emma, if I could bunk up at her place. Thankfully she said yes, and I spent a lovely Wednesday evening with Emma and her sister Anna. On Thursday we were up at 6 and got dressed, downed a piece of bread each, and went off.

Travelling and arriving

The trip up was without much excitement, although we did make a pit-stop i Halmstad at Eurostop, and Emma and I shared a Club Sandwich and a clementine each. We arrived in Gothenburg around 11 and met up with some people and went in. OK, first unpleasant surprise; the price of admission turned out to be 180 SEK, not 120 as I had been told… But I paid, and we all went inside.

Rather imposing

Rather imposing

Walking through the door a wall of noise hit me. It wasn’t that it was extremely loud, I just was not ready for it. We stumbled straight into the theme of the the year, Lithuanian literature. They had a weird but prominent display made in brown cardboard… Didn’t really wet my appetite for Lithuania. C’est la Vie.

I found it rather sovietish…

I found it rather sovietish…

Awesomely expensive food!

After a little while we found FOOD, and realised that this whole due is interesting, yes, but somewhat of a scam. You pay 180 SEK to get in and pay a lot more money! Thought full, don’t you think? A sandwich cost me 65 SEK, roughly €7! And it wasn’t even a fancy one. Tasty yes, but small. We later found that a 33 cl cola cost a whopping 23 SEK. The same thing went for many of the books. Not all of them were particularly new, and many of them were definitely overpriced. It seemed most of them landed in the vicinity of 150 SEK, roughly €17 I think.
I was also slightly depressed by the lack of tech at this con. No sign of Adobe, Quark, Apple or even Microsoft!?! Without them today’s book world would not be possible. And Adobe just released CS4 the other day. There was not even a glimmer of a presence! What, why, how? That a convention this big and important doesn’t see any of the software makers is nothing but pitiful. I expected better. Also an e-book or two wouldn’t hurt…

ICAs publishing companies

ICA's publishing companies

The books I found

In spite of these minor hiccups, I managed to find a few worthy ones. The first one Emma found at the Alfabeta publishing booth. Ormstenens Gåta/The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin. (ISBN 978-91-501-0913-9) It’s a historical detective novel, and the edition we both got is a relatively nice one. At 150 SEK I did think it was slightly pricey for a convention though.

Walking down some isles I came by Man av Skugga förlag, which publishes comics and graphic novels. I bought Death Piglet by Johan C. Brandstedt. (ISBN 978-91-85253-04-3) Awesome series, apparently a web comic but I confess to have missed it. It’s “99% word free” in a strip format, and who can resist a seal saying “Official seal of warranty – NOT GAY” with an asterisk pointing to “may contain assrape”… 100 SEK for this comic seemed very reasonable.

Martina Haag gets interviewd

Martina Haag gets interviewd

Later on I picked up Skenet bedrar/Paint A’Licious by Joanne Gair (ISBN 91-32-33227-0). A nice photo book on body painting with people hiding things or them selves with the aid of really good body painting. This book was bargain priced at 39,90 SEK, and I did not hesitate to buy it.

The last book I picked up was from one of my favourite publishers; Taschen. It’s really a German company, but it was the British division visiting Sweden. Their art books are beautiful. Emma found some extremely nice books on Leonardo da Vinci and Salvador Dalí. Neither one of is bought any of those though. Partly due to price, 399 SEK I think, partly due to weight… I did pick up a very nice and fun book though: 1000 Pin-Up Girls (ISBN 978-3-8365-0505-5) at a very reasonable 95 SEK.

Other things I saw that I wanted was a cookbook called Paris which seemed very nice. Paris pictures, and if I understood it correctly it had recipes from all over modern day Paris. From Thai to baguettes.

The cook book I wanted

The cook book I wanted

There was also this address book with pictures by John Bauer (ISBN 91-638-2562-7). Quite beautiful and only costing a mere 10 SEK! I know for a fact that this book costs around 200-250 SEK in regular bookshops. This was the major bargain of the day, and I did by it for Lise.

Carl-Jan Granqvist och Leif Mannerström

Carl-Jan Granqvist och Leif Mannerström

Stargazing

Since this is the foremost con of its kind in Sweden there were a fair few “stars” there too. To mention some of them we saw the Princess Royal of Sweden, Victoria, Peter Stormare of Hollywood fame, writer and journalist Jan Guillou, Carl-Jan Granqvist and a couple of others. Personally I am not particularly star struck, but it’s fun to see people you’ve seen on the telly IRL so to speak. They are not just myths.

Peter Stormare gets a prise

Peter Stormare gets a prize

It’s a long way to go

By now we were quite ready to go home. We did stop by Lärarnas Riksförbund on the way out to get some wine. Technically you were not allowed unless you’d been invited, but some nice guy handed me an invite and I got a surprisingly nice cup of rouge. All’s well that ends well, I guess.
We headed out to the bus and sat chatting most of the way home. Most were pleased with the day, and that would have to include my self. Though the overall prices did cause some hubbub. We saw a few road accidents on the E6 on our way south, and I hope it wasn’t as serious as it looked, but thankfully we were without and arrived safely in Lund, though slightly later than scheduled.

End of an evening

Emma and I walked home to here place where I was to pick up my stuff and try and help Anna with some philosophy, positivism to be exact. If I did anything but confuse the poor girl it was pure luck… I am sorry Anna. We talked the day over, said our good byes, hugged and then I hurried of to the train. I caught the last one just in time.

These girls had an interesting fairy tale book about a lesbian princess.

These girls from Sagolikt Bokförlag had an interesting fairy tale book about a lesbian princess.

Once back in Hässleholm Lise met me with the car at the station. I was by now rather famished having only had a couple of sandwiches all day, so a kebab sounded really good. But wouldn’t you know it, all those joints were closed. After a bit of thinking I came to the conclusion that there really is only one place you can always count on; McDonald’s. So a Big Mac it was then. Funnily enough it tasted rather good, but in all honesty a dead horse with some cabbages boiled with vinegar would probably have been an appealing proposition at this time as well… So a strange end to a good day.

Some afterthought

The general impression of the con was that it was a very nice happening. But I think the publishers etc. need to rethink their pricing of goods. Also, almost no freebies? What’s that all about? Not even a sodding pen! Conventions are after all meant to be the industry equivalent of tarting your self up and head out to a bar. Be funny, be interesting and most important of all: give stuff away for free. It’s all about building a brand, and that you do by making sure people remember you and talk about you. Books should be like drugs, the first one should be free.

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

~Groucho Marx

Thobias

Ps Emma lended me Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment when I left. It’s awesome!
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6 responses to this post.

  1. Nicely written! Maybe a bit long for me, but i guess I’m not the target audience, not being a lit. geek. 🙂 Very nice pictures! I envy you your camera…

    Reply

  2. Posted by Thobias Vemmenby on September 29, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    z: True, but it was a long day, so it became a long post. But yes, apart from stories, I do not have any intentions to keep this length over time… 😉
    You can envy my camera, and so you should. The E-410 from Olympus is surprisingly good. However, all of the photos for this article were taken with my 2 MPixel SonyEricsson K610i… 😀 It is surprisingly good for what it is, but I’m betting your iPhone is better.

    Reply

  3. Ah, so it’s not the camera then, but rather the photographer 🙂

    Reply

  4. Posted by Thobias Vemmenby on September 29, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Fniss, thanks… :”>

    Reply

  5. Posted by neina on September 29, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    hiya guys! just to let you know I’m following your blog! (and checking the spelling… 😉 )

    Reply

  6. Posted by Thobias Vemmenby on September 29, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    neina: ‘Ta! 😉

    Reply

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