We're pounding the hard concrete floors of the Javits Center today — it's day 1 of our Book Expo coverage, as we juggle sessions at two compelling events packed with content: IDPF Digital Book 2013 and Publishers Launch. My colleague Lynn Rosen and I have each gathered snippets of wisdom to share with our readers from presentations we have heard today.
This morning at the International Digital Publishing Forum's Digital Book 2013 Plenary Session, Laura Hazard Owen of paidContent.org interviewed Chantal Restivo-Alessi Chief Digital Officer of HarperCollins in a session titled: Digital Publishing In Transition: Steering a Course in the Middle of A Storm. Restivo-Alessi, who comes to publishing from the music business, noted some differences between the two industries, notably how music is more about selling individual songs rather than albums (not as much of a concern in book publishing). She noted great areas of opportunity in catalog reinvigoration through price promotions, but saw bigger gains to be made in product innovation, both with apps and with enhanced books.
From Kodiak to Key West, Concord to Carlsbad, Grand Forks to Galveston, in 6,200 towns and cities across America, more than 25,000 World Book Night U.S. volunteers will go out and personally hand out a half million free books to new or light readers on one day: April 23, 2013.
Fifty years ago Marshall McLuhan famously coined the phrase “The Medium is the Message.” What he meant was that the medium on which you receive content significantly influences your perception of the message. This is a point that is often missed in commentary about the rise of the e-book. A tablet is a fundamentally different medium than a paper book and requires a different approach.
First, a little context. The popular electronic reader, the Kindle, was introduced less than six years ago. Yet adult e-book sales are already outpacing adult hardcover sales.
The six major annual book design shows listed above continue to anchor our industry in its traditions of craft, even though painfully unadorned ebooks and cluttered multimedia platforms proceed apace, charting their own course. Whatever the wide range of book show presenting criteria, as shown in the survey that follows, ultimately the purpose of book design is to enhance the readability and message of the book itself.
Print will survive and thrive in those areas where it continues to fulfill that purpose. Where digital media prevail, irrepressible design aspirations will soon follow.
While some shows are beginning to provide digital edition categories (mostly fixed format and multi-media), print editions continue to be foundational platforms for book design and organization — at least for the time being. Leading edge designers are exploring ways to bring design criteria into the reflowable formats.
Book Business spent last Sunday hunkered down at Workman Publishing in New York attending… camp. Specifically, Book^2 Camp ("book squared"), an annual pre-TOC "unconference" dedicated to discussing, well, just about anything related to book publishing, but with an eye toward sussing out the future of the industry.
A big task, for sure, but the campers were up to the task, compiling an agenda on the fly, gathering into intimate, round-table discussions—in conference rooms, offices, break rooms and really any otherwise unoccupied space at Workman—about profitbility, discoverability, readers, editors, the Internet, etc. and asking a lot of "what if" questions:
- What if publishing started today?
- If there was no money in publishing books, what would book publishing look like?
- What if digital predated print?
In general, the conversations were focused on possibilities and opportunities, with a pinch of pragmatism thrown in to hold it all togther. In the interest of trying new things, we're going to present our report using Storify, a platform for turning social media into narratives. It's not new to many of you, but we've never used it before. So here goes nothing. Tell us what you think/
Over the last two week, Book Business ran the proverbial gauntlet of publishing industry trade shows, starting withe the Book Industry Study Group's Making Information Pay For Higher Ed on Thu., Feb. 7, at the Yale Club, then hitting the Book^2 Camp "unconference" on Sun., Feb. 10, at Workman Publishing, and, on Wed., Feb. 13, catching a day of O'Reilly's Tools of Change at the Marriott Marquis.
We’ll be running through them one by one this week. First up: BISG: Making Information Pay for Higher Ed Publishing
The Book Industry Study Group’s annual Making Information Pay for Higher Ed Publishing was a morning jam-packed with great information and expansive ideas on the state of higher ed publishing and what it might look like in the near to distant future.
The four terms of the day:
Roll Your Own
The most trafficked ebook store in the world today is Amazon. Very soon, that might not be the case.
Illustrated ebook store and ebook production management start-up Inkling has found a way to make Google Search a storefront for its ebooks, where readers can discover, browse and buy. It’s called the Inkling Content Discovery Platform.
“Google is now able to index the full content of our titles,” said Inkling founder and CEO Matt MacInnis, adding that readers “can buy the individual content shown or the entire book.”
Now that Amazon has announced that it's selling more books in digital form than in print, it's only logical that even the smallest of independent publishing houses are racing to make their entire backlist available as ebooks. Book Business solicited a wide range of advice about the ebook conversion process from digital publishing pros. Here's what they had to say:
To meet the expectations of readers in a print and digital world, Workman Publishing is expanding its relationship with Ingram, selecting CoreSource services for the management and distribution of digital content.
Much of the change we are living through in publishing is plain as day to see. The shift from print to digital, like the shift from stores to online purchasing, is evident to all of us, inside the industry and out.
But there’s another aspect of the change that is not nearly as visible and that’s around systems and workflows. Publishing, even in the pre-digital age, was a systems-driven business.