Book of T.O.F.U.
Guest post by Ryan Patey:
When was the last time you read a book?
For some, such as me, the answer would normally be a little disappointing what with all the other ways we get information these days. However, I took the time earlier this week to curl up on the couch and open a book (Green is the New Red by Will Potter). Sure, I was interrupted several times by a cat who felt we should nap instead (her wishes won out a few chapters in), but for a little while I shut everything else out and just read.
Part of the reason I did so was to try and find the inspiration to write this piece. I’ve had it on my to-do list for some time now, and it kept getting pushed back. There were always social media posts to make, funny videos to watch, and Netflix to binge on. The thought of writing something new, although exciting in one way, was also incredibly daunting. I’d rather be consuming content, and I think we all know the best way to do that is digitally. It’s like the drive-thru option for your favourite fast food restaurant, and it never closes. Plus, it fits in well with our busy lifestyles and it keeps us from feeling like we did literally nothing before we go to bed with our phones tucked neatly under the pillow or placed on our nightstand.
For years now, I’ve spent most of my days on a laptop, and pretty much everything I’ve consumed and created has been done so digitally. In fact, the vegan magazine I publish called T.O.F.U. has been digital for most of its life, and there were many advantages to making that transition when I stopped printing it years ago.
However, as I got closer to starting work on the tenth issue, I decided that I wanted it to be a real book.
Sure, there were plenty of reasons why I made this decision, but the main one was that I wanted people to invest some time in reading the words that my authors had spent so long putting together. I wanted people to step away from their screens and pay attention to the issues being tackled in the book. Along with this, I wanted the magazine to be something people valued. Yes, blog posts can be thought-provoking and intelligent, but when was the last time you left your bookmarks open on a coffee table and ended up in a conversation with a friend or a stranger about just how great that article from so-and-so was during your morning commute?
If I had people writing about the top ten ways to use bananas in your breakfast smoothies or the recent pledge of a celebrity to be plant-based for the next month, then maybe I would stick to the blog and worry more about finding the perfect photo to convince people to leave Facebook and read the latest post. However, I decided years ago that T.O.F.U. would be more about quality than quantity (the release schedule makes that obvious), and for a number of issues now I’ve chosen to tackle more complex topics.
Since then, people have been kind enough to share their stories and thoughts on things like fat shaming, sexism, ageism, racism, and more in regard to veganism and the animal rights community. Whether it’s an account of being the only vegan in their high school or being told they were not a good example of veganism because they were fat, my writers have made me laugh, cry, and shake my head in anger with each new issue. So, it should be no surprise that I’ve always felt these are not the sorts of topics that should be consumed in a minute. They are topics that require your attention, and they involve words that deserve some space to breath instead of being crammed into your iPhone. Giving them that platform is what I set out to do last fall.
Luckily, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, I found the support of people around the world who felt the same, and I was able to publish The Book of T.O.F.U. in late January. Consisting of some of my favourite articles from the last nine issues, as well as a complete redesign of the magazine’s layout, the book was printed locally in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper in a carbon neutral, FSC certified facility. Not only does the book mark a milestone for T.O.F.U., it’s also the first time many of these pieces have been made available in print.
Personally, even if shipping cost me a lot more than I expected, there’s something truly satisfying about knowing T.O.F.U. is back out there in the real world, and people are holding it in their hands. Sure, it may not be the next Harry Potter, but knowing it could end up on a bookshelf next to such a classic feels much better than a bunch of likes or a retweet ever will.
If you would like to learn more about the book, including how to order a physical or digital copy, please visit T.O.F.U.’s online store.
If you’re interested in learning more about T.O.F.U. Magazine itself, you can visit the website here.