Show Notes: Digital Book World 2013

LeVar Burton, Androids, muscle apps, pivots, pain points and the smartest guy in the business

Book Business spent the last two days soaking up the publishing wisdom on display at the Digital Book World conference at the Hilton New York.

You can check out twitter, @bookbusinessmag, for the full play by play. Below are some highlights.

-Following the Children’s Content in Context breakout session on Wednesday, we got to exchange a few quick words about our mutual love of the Android platform with none other than LeVar Burton, who was at the session to support Reading Rainbow CEO Asra Rasheed. “I’m a nerd,” explaind Burton during the session with regard to his affinity for the Google mobile OS.

-Also during Children’s Content in Context, Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc., referred to Storia, Scholastic’s children’s book platform as a “muscle app” in that it combines utility, entertainment, discoverability and ecommerce. We think it’s a strong four-point checklist for anyone looking to develop an app. And we like saying “muscle app.”

-During Driving Innovation in Publishing, an executive panel with Sourcebooks’ Dominique Raccah, Publishers Marketplace’s Michael Cader and Speakerfile’s Peter Evans, moderated by Perseus’ Rick Joyce, the panelists impressed upon the audience the importance of being nimble. If a word cloud were made of the session’s transcript, the three biggest terms would no doubt be “Pain point,” “iterations” and “pivot.” Publishers, Cader said, need to embrace the idea of the pivot—the strategic, mid-stream change of a business plan as conditions dictate—as other industries have.

-Kobo’s Chief Content Officer Michael Tamblyn during Thursday’s plenary sessions presented on the company’s strategy in working with indie bookstores. Kobo, which in Tamblyn’s estimation is the biggest ebook company the U.S. market doesn’t know much about, is coming off news of doubled device sales, a sliver of good news for those who fear a Kindle primacy in the e-reader space. According to Tamblyn, Kobo sees a core of book loving traditionalists that is just starting to get into ebooks. Kobo feels they’re most likely found at an indie bookstores, hence the Canadian company’s teaming with the ABA to provide e-readers to indies. Tamblyn talked about the difference between indie ebook buyers and the U.S. average, noting, for example, more purchases in almost all nonfiction categories, and a markedly smaller interest in what he termed romance and “active romance” (aka erotica). Tamblyn said that getting Kobo’s readers into these stores allows them to capitalize on their core strength: selling physical objects to their customers.

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