The experience of being around like minded individuals I don't think can be duplicated in books. You most certainly can glean his teachings from his books alone, but Ian is not a dud, and I've thoroughly enjoyed his seminars.
The APDT has a forum where you could ask if anyone would like to split the cost and you might just get lucky, but membership with the APDT isn't free either.
I've been to a seminar on effective punishment, one on the state of dog training, one on puppy socialization/dominance, and a round table discussion with other well known trainers also on punishment. Ian practically lives in my backyard so I can afford to see him more often.
I might ask around at the obedience club to see if anyone wants to tag along but most of the folks there have a pretty old fashioned approach to training (unfortunate) and are pretty set in their ways. I'm leading the revolution! jk . . sort of.
Its awesome that you have access to such a great source of information! I have a really hard time finding affordable yet worthwhile seminars or workshops in my area.