John Gordon was horrified to learn a thousand copies of his book, The Langleys, went up in flames recently. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Book reprint goes up in flames for Langley photographer

The second edition of John Gordon's picture book caught fire en route to him.

Disaster struck.

Imagine John Gordon’s horror when, back in August, he receives a call from his publisher telling him an entire reprint order of his book, The Langleys, has been destroyed in a truck fire.

Disaster might be a bit of an over exaggeration, but it was shocking news for the retired Black Press photographer who had covered many a fire call in his days working for the local newspaper.

Turns out, that on transit through the Rockies, his books – coming from Friesens Printers in Manitoba – went up in smoke.

“I was facing a total loss,” said Gordon, who originally published his The Langleys book in 2008. He sold out of the first 3,000 copies and had ordered a second printing – of another 1,000 copies – earlier this summer.

“I and 11 other authors lost their books,” he said, noting he took possession of the reprinted reprints on Thursday.

He sold out of this book almost a year and a half ago, but was constantly receiving requests for more, which prompted him to consider publishing a third book. But that, he said, was too costly and time consuming an undertaking. So, the avid birdwatcher and traveller opted instead to simply do a reprint on The Langleys.

They’ve arrived just in time for the Christmas season, he said, and “to my surprise orders have been pouring in even before the book was delivered, word of mouth and social media are wonderful things.”

Gordon noted that a further reprint may be needed sooner than he expected.

He also published another book about Langley called Familiar Places: Familiar Scenes, which was released in 2004 and sold close to 3,000 copies.

So what inspired these books. Many things, he said. But most of all it’s the people and the scenery of Langley.

“First impressions often leave an indelible impression,” he recounted.

“That was the case when I first visited Langley 20 years ago,” Gordon said, explaining the inspiration for his $20 paperback book.

“As I drove along the Fraser Highway heading east and crossed over 192nd Street before me was Langley. Not only was the community nestled in a picturesque valley but a majestic snow capped Mount Baker completed the scene. I now know it as a community of communities, a place where people still greet each other by first name and where town really does meet country.”

In this book, he attempted to gather a collection of photos showing off the beauty that initially attracted him to settle in the area.

As he sat, staring at the computer screen and watching his collection of photographs originally come together for this book, he said: “I can’t stop thinking about how lucky I am to work and live in one of the most beautiful corners of British Columbia.

“Whenever I return from a trip overseas, I am always grateful to get home. There is something about the mountains that surround us, the proximity to the mighty Fraser River, the parks and trail system, the fresh farm produce, the list goes on and on. But most of all, it is the residents of Langley who top the list as reasons to live and work here.”

More information on Gordon is available online at: www.johngordonphotography.com. Copiesof his book are now available at Porters Bistro & Coffee House, Wendel’s Bookstore & Cafe, Chapters, and Coles, or by calling to 604-533-7171.

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