Show Notes: 3 Days. 55 Sessions. 170 Speakers.
Without some sort of time-traveling talents, it was impossible to see or hear all that took place at this year’s Publishing Business Conference & Expo. As one of the conference organizers, I had a lot of scurrying about to do to help make sure things ran smoothly (they did!) but when I had the opportunity to slip into a seat and listen to a presentation, I heard a multitude of innovative and practicable ideas. I am now pleased to share with you my very own PBC highlight reel.
Let us begin at the beginning, with a keynote panel that quickly kicked us into high gear. Jason Merkoski, Kindle designer and now in his own start-up, BookGenie451, described the skill of “editorially curating content” by means of interactive aspects in each chapter, allowing him to monitor reader reaction and make subsequent textual modifications. Steve Wasserman of Yale University Press vociferously and eloquently disagreed with this approach; such a process, he maintained, would not allow for the key literary elements of inspiration and creativity. Would you crowdsource Moby Dick? Surely not! Dr. Jeffrey Cole, Director of the Center for the Digital Future, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, whose studies of media usage have been going on for decades, suggested that we have an opportunity for print to move into multimedia.
When Dominque Raccah, publisher of Sourcebooks, brought all three speakers together on stage for Q&A, the result was an electrifying debate about the essence of publishing. This group was quickly and energetically succeeded by our final keynoter of the morning, Gary Shapiro, author of Ninja Innovation, who says every innovation affects someone else’s business model, but that doing things the same way time after time is not the right approach: “You have to do it differently.” Based on his experience in the consumer electronics industry, he expects mechanisms for delivery of content to keep increasing.
In the Futurist Panel, Corey Pressman of Exprima says taxonomies (i.e. labels) are something everyone in an organization has to be concerned with. Writer and technology consultant Nicole Valentine advises us to focus on current, not future, delivery devices—and to figure out what they can do in the future! What’s up next, we ask the futurists? Gamification, AR (augmented reality)—but beware: innovation alone is not a revenue generator.
A panel sponsored by the group Exceptional Women in Publishing looked at new sources of content, and the various (female) panelists described new ways they are acquiring and publishing content. At Tumblr, Rachel Fershleiser is “remixing and reimagining content and mashing it and mixing it together in new ways.”
In planning the conference this year, we worked hard to create sessions that addressed a range of topics that are crucial to our attendees and readers and to present ideas that will help you do business better. This meant, that in hopping from session to session, I learned about copyright law, workflow, metadata, the international ebook market, overcoming showrooming in bookstores and libraries, digital printing, video marketing and STM publishing. I left the conference fully equipped to implement new strategies, and I look forward to seeing these fresh ideas come to fruition in 2014.