Word on the Street Vancouver is one of my favourite literary/book geek events of the year. For one day, publishers, writers, zine and comic makers, schools, and associations come out to read, promote their newest works, and sell some backlist at serious discounts.

When I go, I have to bring a book bag for my haul and a bottle of water or juice, because my throat gets seriously sore from talking more in two to three hours than I do in an average week. Yesterday I was there and everywhere I went, I saw someone I knew. My friends at subTerrain and Anvil Press were manning their tables, as was my old knitting buddy Janet, who was holding down the fort at New Reliable Press, downstairs in the Word Under the Street area (comics and zines). Other former knitting mates Leanne and Mandy were also there, talking up their new book Yarn Bombing: The Art of Knit and Crochet Grafitti. In between, I saw former co-workers and classmates galore and got to talk to editors of my favourite local magazines, such as Event and Vancouver Review, and to cool writers and artists like Sarah Leavitt, who sells hilarious “Why Editors Have No Friends” magnets, and Darcie, the artist behind Later Comics.

However, this year, I didn’t buy nearly as many books and magazines as I expected. For most of the magazine tables I saw or visited, I already had the latest edition, and for the comics and zines, I didn’t see a whole lot that I just had to have. There seemed to be just fewer publishers and exhibitors overall at the festival than in previous years. It was at both ends of the scale – some indies I had come to expect to see there didn’t show and neither did some of the more established houses in town. Not a lot of bookstores come out, either, except for Book Warehouse and Black Bond. Come to think of it, the Poetry in Transit Bus wasn’t there either this year.

Hope that it’s just a temporary blip and that everyone will be out in force again next year. Until then, I’ll need a lozenge.