London Book Fair Report, Pt. 2: Innovation and Technology
Last week when I attended the London Book Fair, I sought out sessions that spoke to the technological shifts affecting the industry. Some of best content came from The Digital Hub sessions at the Tech Theater. Ostensibly paid-to-play sessions, they were short but sweet bursts of knowledge that beat out some of the more trudging sessions elsewhere.
There was much was buzz about direct-to-consumer sales, gaming, data, and the ubiquitous innovation. Presenting on "Big Data: How to Use Analytics to Increase eBook ROI" was ePubDirect CEO Gareth Cuddy who discussed applying big data principles to publishing. Cuddy suggests publishers need to adjust to the fact that there is more data, coming at a higher speed, with greater diversity, and of varying quality. He called it the 4 V's of data.
As publishers expand their digital business, the data points are growing, from social media to D-to-C sales analytics, and from distribution channel partners. What more data comes down to if handled properly, says Cuddy, is a better understanding of consumers and more relevant information to make better business decisions.
Another session "Selling Direct and Building Your Community" was led by Kaushik Sampath COO of Qbend, which builds ecommerce platforms for publishers. Sampath spoke about the importance of building a strong brand, establishing a digital marketing strategy, and developing a community. "Your brand must become the meeting point for you community and publishing ecosystem," says Sampath. Direct-to-consumer sales will be further empowered by versatile products (subscription, rental, outright purchases), metadata that helps books become discoverable, and more granular content.
A session entitled "Showcasing Innovation" was actually more interesting than its title suggests, dissecting what "innovation" actually is, if not simply a buzzword. The seminar featured Jo Twist, CEO of UK Interactive Entertainment, Claire Fox, director of Institute of Ideas and Michael Bhaskar, digital publishing director for Profile Books, with Richard Mollet, CEO of The Publishers Association moderating.