Tim O’Reilly has got to be one of the Industry’s most creative and challenging thinkers. He is a pioneer in popularizing the Web 2.0 concept — the social networking and interactive applications of Web usage. He and his team have built an impressive global enterprise that from its beginnings has been on the leading edge of our movement from the codex to multimedia content in the cloud.
The widespread regard he and O’Reilly Media had achieved in the publishing world for their innovative outreach explains why what could otherwise be considered a sensible business decision, to close down and move on from the TOC conference platform, came as such a jolt — even a sense of betrayal for some.
As TOC described itself in its 2013 conference prospectus, it was all about setting new horizons and a global culture, and about creating a community that would transcend the formal and legacy structures in the industry:
Last Thursday, Tim O’Reilly announced that the company named after him is shutting down its Tools of Change practice area and laying off Kat Meyer and Joe Wikert. In explaining this decision, O’Reilly offers background that ultimately reveals more than he may have intended. He starts with the thinking that kicked off the Tools of Change franchise in 2006:
Publishing isn’t about putting ink on paper, and moving blocks of said paper through warehouses to readers. It’s about knowledge dissemination, learning, entertainment, codification of subject authority…
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/
Where is the book industry going, what will my workplace and career opportunities be like, what do I need to know to keep up with the times? Or, in a more cosmic vein, what does the future hold?
In an effort to answer these questions, publishers have settled each year into a series of industry meetings of general interest. Each has a unique theme, as noted below. They make the effort to bring together a cross section of publishers, associations, service providers and media professionals to connect with audiences ranging from first-time aspirants to seasoned managers and executives in every channel and of every level of responsibility.
Following is my own overview of the events with which I have become familiar through the years. I would say that a judicious choice of BEA or ALA and any one of the others whose focus comes closest to your own would provide a more than satisfying menu. If I had to attend only one: (a) I would pick BEA or ALA if my interest was in authors, reading, content and publishing as an enterprise, and (b) if my primary concerns were business development and operating management, I would choose any of the others from whose quality of attendee profiles and lists of presenters, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors I would expect to learn the most.
TOC Latin America was held last Friday in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires. Kat Meyer, my OReilly colleague, and Holger Volland did a terrific job producing the event. As is so often the case with great conferences, part of the value is spending time with speakers and other attendees in between sessions and at [...]