If you’re at all interested in books, and you’ve used the internet in the past week, chances are you’ve been pointed to the incredible viral video made by animator Sean Ohlenkamp, his wife, and what has to be a large group of improbably patient volunteers, called The Joy of Books—it’s gotten almost 1.5 million views in less than five days. In the two minute clip, Ohlenkamp and company use stop-motion animation to choreograph a gotta-see-it-to-believe-it dance number involving an estimated 9,000 volumes. The Tip Sheet called up Type Books in Toronto, where the video was filmed, and spoke to co-owner Joanne Saul about the experience.
How did this project come about?
One of our regular customers, Shaun Ohlenkamp, approached me last summer and said that he and his wife had done a [book animating] project on their bookshelf at home, which was something I had seen. He said, I’d love to expand this project and I love this bookstore, we’d love to do it here. We said, you’re crazy, but sure. They did it while we were closed, over a series of weekends, about 50 hours with about 25 volunteers, and a couple Type staffers who made sure the books went back to where they were taken from. They worked from about 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 in the morning four times.
What’s the response been like?
We’ve had a ton of feedback, obviously a lot online and also customers are coming in, people seem to love it. It’s obviously touched a nerve.
How’s the year so far for Type?
We had a good , a really good Christmas, but we’re having the regular January post-Christmas slump. I’m hoping this video will encourage people to shop or at least visit their local independent bookstore. We do no really have [an advertising budget], the way we go about it is to make connections with local communities and schools, hold as many launches and events as we can. So this has really bee a gift.
Check out the Type Books web site, currently featuring The Joy of Books, and when in Toronto be sure to stop at one of their two locations, 883 Queen Street West or 427 Spadina Road.