News + Vancouver / September 08, 2010
Yesterday we announced that we are moving to a new location in January next year. We’ve been at our Shaughnessy Street home ten years and it was time for a change. We process over 11 million books a year and even though we already have the largest book distribution facility in western Canada, we need more space.
There is lot of talk about e-readers and digital books. As there should be. New technology and new forms of reading are exciting and who doesn't like thinking about the future? But the fact that Raincoast is about to engage in a very large and detailed operation to move to a bigger warehouse that will ship print books to retailers across Canada, belies a fundamental truth about publishing: paper books will continue to flourish even as e-books find a place in our lives.
We feel so confident about this that we are moving to a new and larger space to accommodate the 29,000 distinct titles we currently stock. We hope to show you pictures of how we will move so many books in real-time as we move, but until then, here's to the future!
Graphica / September 03, 2010
The new issue of Canadian Art magazine includes a feature article by Kenton Smith about Canadian comics and Montreal-based publisher Drawn & Quarterly:
[C]omics have perhaps never been as diverse, vibrant and exciting as now—for they are no longer possible to pigeonhole. Comics publisher Chris Oliveros, founder of the Montreal-based publisher Drawn & Quarterly, says “the work today is so diverse—everyone has a unique vision.” Insofar as comics can be considered a literary medium, there seems to be no category they’ve neglected, whether memoir (A Drifting Life), journalism (Joe Sacco’s Palestine) or fictional biography (Seth’s George Sprott). Chester Brown wanted to do Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography because, well, who else was doing history as comics? And besides, he explains, “comics’ visual dimension makes a story more engaging, and keeps history from being dull.”
Read the whole article here.
Architecture / August 12, 2010
Modern North: Architecture on the Frozen Edge by Julie Decker features buildings located in northern Canada, Scandinavia, and Alaska that exemplify the most compelling possibilities of contemporary architecture in the extreme conditions of the North.
The book was recently reviewed for architecture and design magazine Azure:
How timely to read Julie Decker’s book about building in the Arctic. As oil exploration is accelerating in the North, so too is settlement planning. This fascinating collection of essays explains how indigenous dwellings have informed what the editor calls “new northern architecture.” No one aesthetic defines this type of building: architecture is northern primarily by the way it responds to the North.
And a longer review of Modern North can be found at online architecture magazine Re:Place:
Modern North reveals to us a contemporary response to building in the Arctic, as by necessarily adhering to the climate’s strict functional requirements, these structures represent a new form of architecture which is at once both modern and specific to its context. These projects are themselves works in progress, as their designers continue to evolve in their balance of technological prowess with each firm’s own unique relationship to one of the world’s toughest building sites. Likewise is it accompanied by a sense of awe, certainly by those of us who look to the frozen tundra of the North from the safety of our cities straddling the 49th parallel.
Read more about the book here.
Graphica / July 13, 2010
Canadian cartoonist Seth (George Sprott, Wimbledon Green) has found time between drawing comics for D+Q and illustrations for The Walrus et al, to redesign the thrice-yearly Canadian Notes & Queries magazine in his trademark style. In an email to The National Post about the new design, he said:
“It’s a lot of work to redesign a magazine and I was pretty busy. But it was really something that sounded like a challenge. And it couldn’t have been more ‘up my alley.’ I love Canadiana of all sorts and I particularly loved the absolutely stiffness and dullness of the magazine’s title – I mean, you just couldn’t have a more quintessentially Canadian masthead title than Canadian Notes and Queries. If you made it up, no one would believe it. In a way, the name of the magazine hides the fact that it is a very smart and entertaining read – not stuffy at all. I figured I could do something amusing but elegant with the magazine to draw attention to that fact – perhaps poke some fun at it’s purcieved stuffiness while at the same time pointing out what a marvelous magazine of criticism it is by giving the interior a look of class and austerity, but still showing off some charm and sense of humour about the whole thing."
Read the full story at The National Post's The Afterword blog.
Graphica / June 18, 2010
The new July/August issue of The Walrus magazine features a beautiful cover by Seth:
The fabulously Canadian illustration was chosen by readers of the magazine.
Graphica + News / January 27, 2010
Award-winning Canadian book distributor Raincoast Books has signed Pop Sandbox
, a new Canadian publisher with extensive experience in the Canadian film industry and ambitious plans to expand into multimedia.
Launched by independent film producer and entrepreneur Alex Jansen, Toronto-based
Pop Sandbox will publish their first book in May 2010. The much-anticipated Kenk: A Graphic Portrait
is a groundbreaking journalistic graphic novel about Igor Kenk, "the world's most prolific bicycle thief" (The Guardian
), who was arrested in the summer of 2008 in one of the biggest news stories of the year.
“I'm excited about Pop Sandbox. Alex and his associates are clearly very smart and truly innovative and they're going to bring journalistic non-fiction to a new audience,” says Paddy Laidley, Executive VP Sales & Marketing at Raincoast Books. “We don't sign small publishers, but we think it’s worth breaking our own rules in this case. We’re looking forward to a long and happy partnership.”
With his new venture, Jansen plans to bring his experience in independent film to create a series of innovative multimedia projects. “What makes Pop Sandbox unique is that we're taking a film producer's approach to graphic novels right from concept and telling new types of stories in new ways with the medium,” says Jansen. Pop Sandbox is also developing an interactive technology that allows readers to expand the graphic novel beyond the printed page; in the case of Kenk
, readers will be able to launch right into the original documentary source material.
Future projects include a graphic memoir about Canada’s residential school program by filmmaker Nadia McLaren, whose
acclaimed 2007 documentary Muffins for Granny
told the story of her Ojibwa grandmother by combining fragments of home movies with the stories of seven elders dramatically affected by their experiences in residential schools. Pop Sandbox also
recently won the National Film Board of Canada
and TV Ontario
’s Digital Calling Card to produce The Next Day
, an interactive graphic novel constructed from interviews
with survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts that Jansen describes as “a philosophical exploration of life, the decision to end it, and what comes after…”
“Igor is an absolutely compelling character that gave us unbridled access to his life, ideas and questionable practices,” says Jansen. “He’s been characterized by the media as either a petty thug or a criminal mastermind, but he’s both more and less than that. I'd describe him as an exceptionally bright street-philosopher, a hoarder, an environmentalist, an opportunist, a communist, a capitalist, an idealist and a crook. He’s a Slovenian-born immigrant who came to Canada from the turmoil in Yugoslavia, continually preaching the dangers of western excess and foretelling the collapse of the North American economy.”
is built from more than 30 hours of never-before-seen footage taken over the year leading up to his arrest and is a portrait of an outsize neighbourhood figure, a city, and a world in flux.
“He was the last hold-out in a community that quickly changed around him,” says Jansen. “Kenk bought his building 10 years ago for $85,000 and was being offered up to $700,000 in the days leading up to his arrest, which ironically coincided with the downturn of the economy. He explicates not just his own neighbourhood, but his city, his country and the very system under which we all live. It is not just a local story, but a universal story. It is as poignant in Vancouver or New York or Beijing as it is in Toronto.”
Kenk: A Graphic Portrait published May 15th 2010
Richard Poplak, Jason Gilmore, Nick Marinkovich, Alex Jansen
To request further information on Kenk: A Graphic Portrait, or to arrange an interview with Alex Jansen, owner and publisher of Pop Sandbox, please contact Dan Wagstaff at Raincoast Books.
News / December 17, 2009
The good folks at Books@Torontoist are posting an original story by Victoria-based author Robert J. Wiersema (Before I Wake and The World More Full of Weeping).
Telling the story of a man who makes a mysterious journey to his home town on a stormy Christmas Eve, “Just Like the Ones He Used to Know” revives the Victorian tradition of ringing in the holiday season with a story of the ghostly and the miraculous.
The story will be serialized on the site in eight daily posts, beginning today and ending on Christmas Eve.
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