Richard Nash

The Javits Center must have some sort of time warp technology. I recently attended the BEA event there and I kept asking myself the same question: Is this 2015 or 2005? The digital vibe was almost nowhere to be found in the expo hall. For example, publishers are still handing out stacks of print galleys and samples. Is that really more effective than digital copies? Wouldn't it be better to distribute e-versions and gather customer info along the way? All this talk of establishing direct relationships with readers and having access to the resulting data still seems to be the stuff of fiction.

This year's IDPF Digital Book Conference theme marks a significant shift in book publishing strategy. "Put the reader first," was a phrase mentioned throughout the day's sessions, urging attendees give their consumers greater agency and in a sense catch up to other entertainment industries that are already empowering their audience. By utilizing digital content channels, publishers can interact with readers more easily than ever before and measure that interaction. This shift is steadily gaining momentum in the industry and leading publishers, including HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, shared strategies and technology they have employed to understand who their audiences are and how to get them reading.

IDPF Digital Book 2015 will take place from May 27-28, 2015, at BookExpo America (Javits Center, New York City). The 2015 IDPF Digital Book conference puts you right in the center of the digital action - register today and save with early bird rates. Registration includes free access to BookExpo America and BISG's Making Information Pay.

A book is a book is a book—is it not?  Not in the hall at the former Church of Christ, Scientist, now turned into the magnificent home of the Internet Archive on Funston Avenue at the edge of the Presidio in San Francisco. The Archive, established in 1996 with the goal of offering permanent access to records that exist in digital format, is the venue for the annual Books in Browsers conference, which took place on October 24th and 25th. This reporter attended this year for the first time, and had her mind blown.

We have our running shoes on today, day 1 of our Book Expo experience, as we race back and forth between two compelling events packed with content: IDPF
Digital Book 2013 and Publishers Launch. My colleague Brian Howard and I have each gathered snippets of wisdom to share with our readers from presentations we have heard today.
In a morning session at IDPF, Richard Nash talked about the book (ebook, that is) as algorithm vs. the book as data. As far as data, he says, the problem we face is abundance. He cites cognitive psychologists who study what our brains do when we read and it turns out what we do is we imagine ourselves doing the action we reading about. A novel, says Nash, is a novel is a program that runs inside the reader.

The internet changed reading. It was always possible, with enough work, to track down the names and places in a piece of text or to understand the cultural references being made. But easy access to information has lowered the bar dramatically. In a 2008 interview, author William Gibson referred to the "Google novel aura," in which authors expect their work to be looked up online: "It's sort of like there's this nebulous extended text. Everything is hyperlinked now. Some of it you actually have to type it in to get it, but…"

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