Eric Brighton and Greg Nesteroff's book, Lost Kootenays, is named for their popular local history Facebook page. (Submitted)

Burnaby-born history buff’s book, Lost Kootenays, makes a splash

Lost Kootenays topped of bestseller lists in three categories on Amazon Canada, and even cracked the national top-100.

By Dustin Godfrey | January 14, 2022 |5:00 am

A book co-authored by a Burnaby-born-and-raised history buff has made a much bigger splash than he anticipated, even topping multiple bestsellers lists on Amazon Canada since its October launch.

Eric Brighton compiled Lost Kootenays: A History in Pictures along with Kootenay historian Greg Nesteroff after they were approached by a publisher about the success of their Facebook page of the same name.

The book was published by MacIntyre Purcell on Oct 1, 2021, and by late November the book had already spent plenty of time on Amazon Canada bestseller lists, including at the #1 spot in the history of photography, architectural buildings, and photograph essays categories.

In fact, as of Thursday afternoon, the book was still at the #1 spot in history of photography.

And the book even cracked Amazon Canada’s top-100 overall bestseller list a couple of times.

“Which is unbelievable because they’ve got over two million books. And that was another accomplishment [the publishers] said was very rare—a regional-specific book cracking the overall Amazon [Canada] top-100,” Brighton said.

“I knew we’d do well in the Kootenays, and I’ve been excited about the project from day one, but … I started getting more nervous and more nervous as they kept upping the amount [of copies] they were going to print.”

The number of copies printed is being kept secret, he said, as publishers tend to keep their cards close in a competitive market.

But however many copies MacIntyre Purcell did print, the warehouse has already run out, and they’re expecting to announce .

On top of high sales on Amazon, the book is also sold in Chapters Indigo and Coles locations, as well as independent bookstores in BC.

Lost Kootenays also hit the shelves in two Costco locations—Kamloops and Kelowna—with both ordering second shipments after selling out their first.

“They get literally thousands of pitches for months, and if you’ve been shopping at Costco for decades, you will notice their book pile has shrunk,” Brighton said. “So just to get your book in there is a coup.”

And the book even made a cameo on provincial TV—Global BC provincial affairs journalist Keith Baldrey featured it prominently on his rotating bookshelves during a news segment.

The Beacon spoke to Brighton last summer, before the book was published, and he said he developed his passion for history in the passenger seat of his father’s vehicle.

“He just gave me history lessons everywhere we went, including the summer road trips to the Kootenays and such. And it just developed a passion in me for history,” Brighton said.

And while he no longer lives in Burnaby—he bounces between the Kootenays and Kamloops, where he’s currently staying—he still has a passion for this city’s history and archives.

“My family’s all passed on, and a lot of my Burnaby friends have moved on, … but Burnaby is still near and dear to my heart. My parents’ ashes are on Burnaby Mountain,” he said.

But in a follow-up email, he added that he’s concerned he may have hit the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Burnaby archival images.

“I’ve been hunting for over a year now for a historical Burnaby pic that has not yet been seen,” he wrote.

With the success of Lost Kootenays, Brighton said future books are being considered.

“I have no official announcements ready, but obviously our publisher is interested in a Lost Kootenays 2,” he said.

“And I’ve been approached by a couple of BC publishers that are curious about what book ideas I have.”

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Dustin Godfrey

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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