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Alan Twigg with man-of-letters
George Woodcock, one of the
founding members of Pacific
BookWorld News Society.

History of BC Book World

Founded in 1987, BookWorld is Canada's largest-circulation, independent publication about books.

The quarterly publication has been identified by Dr. Rowland Lorimer, in his report for the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, as 'the most important and effective element' in the infrastructure which encourages book publishing in the province with the highest per capita book reading rate in Canada.

It reaches as many people as possible, with as much information as possible, about as many books as possible, via 675 distribution outlets. Unlike traditional publications about books, BookWorld is overtly populist and highly visual. It favours unbiased information about books rather than reviews.

Philosophy

"The general public is understandably turned off by the traditional book reviewing process, because most book reviews tend to be corrupt or tedious, or both. Your average book review consists of one literary aristocrat trying to tell other literary aristocrats how to think. Too often the reviewer is so busy trying to impress the reader with his or her intelligence and writing skill that he or she neglects to pass along basic information about what the hell the book is about.

"Because most reviewers are grossly underpaid, they tend to 'pay themselves' by abusing the public platform, co-opting the space as an advertisement for themselves. The public by and large senses this and shuns the exercise. Trouble is, when poorly paid reviewers irresponsibly slag their enemies and support their friends, it's very hard for an editor to ask for a re-write. Only higher pay will engender higher standards.

"With BookWorld we evolved a publication that favours lively, up-to-date news rather than opinions. We take a high-brow subject - books - and marry it with a low-brow format - the tab newspaper. The end result is a middle-brow product that everyone can enjoy and use. It's pretty simple. And yet when I look at most other publications about books, it still seems to be unique. Why cater to ten per cent of the population, the literary aristocracy, when you can reach the 80% of the population who like to read books?" -- Alan Twigg, Publisher

 


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