News & Trends: IDPF's Digital Book 2010 - More Standards Than Woodstock
It's difficult to imagine that the International Digital Publishing Forum's (IDPF) Digital Book 2010 could ever be compared to Woodstock; but, in fact, this year's sold-out event had a few sessions that were so crowded that dozens of people sat on the floor in the back of the room so as not to be in the way of the standing-room only crowd lining the room's back wall. Michael Smith, IDPF's executive director, joked that it looked like Woodstock.
For the first time this year, Digital Book was held in conjunction with BookExpo America, May 25, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.
The event covered a range of topics, from the agency model to the new editor/author relationship and thinking digital-first, as well as several workshops on EPUB production. Here are several important highlights from speakers at a few key sessions:
From "The Global Digital Book Community: Success Stories from Around the World"
- Tyler Ruse, senior director, solution consulting, Libre Digital (digital publishing solutions service): Harlequin Mills and Boon in the United Kingdom, which publishes digital versions of all of its titles (70 new titles per month), has seen preview-to-sale conversion rates of 14 percent to 25 percent for its e-books. The company sells via its own e-commerce site, and uses LibreDigital's services to distribute e-books to retailers. The company saw 110- percent growth in sales from Q1 2009 to Q1 2010.
- Daihei Shiohama, head of international business, Voyager Japan (digital distributor): Japan is the world's largest e-book market. Eighty percent of e-book content is sold on mobile phones, largely due to the popularity of manga titles. Twenty percent are sold on PCs. The market for sales is largely female readers in their twenties. Despite Japan's leadership in the e-book market, it is isolated from the rest of the world. E-books need to be made accessible to everyone, everywhere, and compatible with all devices internationally via the EPUB standard.
- Michael Tamblyn, executive vice president, content, sales and merchandising, Kobo (global e-reading service): Kobo has delivered e-books into 200 countries, and currently receives files from approximately 1,600 publishers worldwide. Many devices exist already for reading e-books; there will be more, and they will get better and cheaper. "Your e-books should be able to come with you from device to device." More than 10 percent of sales are made in non-English speaking markets; "there is a lot we can be doing with publishers to expand markets. … The more territorial rights can be simplified and streamlined, the better for everyone." He would like to see simultaneous e-book release in multiple markets, with multiterritory pricing.
From "Taking the 'Agency Model' Out for a Spin: New E-book Rules of the Road for Publishers"