Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Guernica Embraces the Hive Mind

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Guernica Embraces the Hive Mind

With so many venerable publishing houses struggling, it's encouraging to see innovation continues to thrive among the Canadian small presses. Thirty-year old Canadian publisher Guernica Editions recently relaunched its website by taking a bold step into the world of social media, courtesy of the small web development firm Tidal Lock. The new site is built around a searchable catalog of titles and authors, and allows for any individual book or author profile to be edited by anyone (with the oversight of Guernica's webmaster, who moderates the site), much like Wikipedia. Users are also welcome to upload book covers and author headshots.

Links to external resources are an intrinsic part of book and author listings: many authors have used their profiles to link out to reviews, blogs, Amazon pages, free text previews on Google Books, etc. Instead of trying to keep users on the site by restricting outbound links, the site encourages users to leave the site in pursuit of further information and then return when they're ready, making the site a sort of information hub for Guernica's authors. The results are quickly apparent on Google: a search for any Guernica author is likely to return a link to the Guernica site among the top results.

Although the site has been built to accommodate the needs of the Guernica community, it's worth noting that it doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel; news updates are provided courtesy of Blogger (http://guernicaeditions.blogsp...), alerts are delivered via Twitter (http://twitter.com/guernica_ed), poll results are compiled by PollDaddy and events are logged in a public Google Calendar which users can subscribe to through their own calendaring software.

As readership continues to migrate to the web, it's interesting to see how small and large publishers alike will leverage this changing marketplace to promote their offline print products. Sites like Guernica's will be worth keeping an eye on in the years to come as publishers are forced to confront this new era in web-integrated book promotion.

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