Digital Book World’s 7×20×21 at the Bowery Poetry Club last Wednesday gave seven industry professionals 21 seconds to show 20 slides. The evening was all about optimism: audience members were rewarded with free books if they shared a reason why their publishing glass was half full. In an industry increasingly overshadowed by doubt, the refreshing presentations featured humor, free drinks, and the occasional basketball metaphor. The festivities, hosted by Ami Greko and the charismatic Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, all boiled down to the following message: make publishing fun again, and we might just be able to save it.
Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, the audience development director at F+W Media and one of the coordinators of the upcoming conference, Digital Book World.
He talked about the upcoming conference, eBooks, eReaders, and the fabled Apple Tablet that many believe will be announced next week.
Gonzalez had a healthy dose of Tablet skepticism. Here’s an excerpt: “The image [Apple] used on the press invitation, it’s kind of a colorful Rorschach blot.
Next week, the two-day Digital Book World conference gets underway in New York City at a moment when – for better or for worse – the digital tide may become a tsunami for the book publishing world. Ahead of the first-time conference, Chris Kenneally spoke with Conference Chair and industry pundit Mike Shatzkin of the Idea Logical Company and his DBW colleague Guy LeCharles Gonzalez for a special preview.
Are you ready for Digital Book World?
Via GalleyCat, “Digital Restructuring at HarperCollins; New Group Established“:
In a memo, HarperCollins’ Executive VP of Operations Larry Nevins explained that the Digital Technology Services Group: “is charged with providing strategic technology solutions across HarperCollins and supporting our global digital initiatives. The team will work with Chief Digital Officer Charlie Redmayne to develop new technologies that align with our digital strategy, and will continue to partner with Corporate IT to address the ever-changing digital technology needs of business.”
Among the personnel shifts was the promotion of Carolyn Pittis to senior VP, HarperCollins Digital, global author services.
In addition to being represented among Digital Book World’s speakers, HarperCollins is sending the largest group of attendees of any publisher by far, with Pittis connecting attendance to their long-term goals:
“Our goal is to have the most digitally knowledgeable and globally connected publishing staff in the industry. Digital Book World offers a good overview of the ‘state of play’ for digital reading to start off 2010. Its a great next step in digital engagement for employees of editorial and publicity–those departments who are most often speaking to our agents and authors.”
– Carolyn Pittis, Global Author Services, HarperCollins Publishers
Interestingly, rumors are swirling that HarperCollins met with Apple recently, presumably about their tablet computer expected to be announced on January 27th, which also happens to be the second day of Digital Book World.
There’s only 6 days left to register for what will undoubtedly be the most talked about Conference in 2010.
Don’t be left behind.
by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Director of Audience Development, Digital Book World
The year 2010 will undoubtedly be the year of “e,” but it’s not going to stand for e-book; it will stand for experimentation. Experimentation with contracts, rights, formats and distribution channels; experimentation that will certainly include e-books, and rightfully so, but they won’t be the central focus — for publishers nor readers.
Upon the Kindle’s introduction in 2007, Jeff Bezos famously asked: “The question is, can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book? And if so, how?”
Three years, and at least five generations of technological evolution later, there is still no e-reader that comes close to duplicating the efficiency or practicality (or affordability) of the printed book, and while e-book sales are growing, they still represent a modest fraction of overall sales, and in many niches are completely irrelevant. Based on the offerings displayed at CES last week, it’s highly unlikely the mainstream tipping point will be forthcoming in the near future.
…read the entire post at Publishing Perspectives.
NOTE: One of the most anticipated sessions at Digital Book World is The eBook Tipping Point: The New Issues It Creates:
A panel featuring Michael Cader, Publishers Lunch; Larry Kirshbaum, Literary Agent; Ken Brooks, Cengage Learning; and Evan Schnittman, Oxford University Press. Moderated by Mike Shatzkin, The Idea Logical Company.
eBook sales are still a single-digit percentage of most trade publishers’ sales and only creep into double-digits for some of the new titles coming out. Even so, digital change has already been disruptive, forcing many publishers to rethink their release windows, their sales terms and tactics, and their entire approach to marketing.
One can only imagine what changes the industry will face when the eBook percentage doubles or triples from where it is now, which recent history suggests might occur in a relatively short time period. Library lending could threaten single copy sales, agents might be splitting off eBook rights when they make print deals, and territoriality might be eliminated in the digital book arena.
How will publishers react to all of that?
If you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Last week, Publishing Perspectives’ editor Edward Nawotka stirred up some controversy with his opinion that the current breed of eReaders were good enough, noting, “My septuagenarian mother is delighted with her first-generation Kindle.”
Yesterday, Brian O’Leary, Founder and Principal of Magellan Media, offered his own take on the frenzied buzz coming out of CES in a post, “Reader madness“, that he’s allowed us to repost here in its entirety:
Then, a friend tweeted a link to a half-day e-reading conference (yes, another one). The folks behind this conference had crunched the numbers and decided that by 2020, annual demand for e-ink readers would total 446 million units – about $25 billion in sales. Not “total over ten years”, not “in use”: someone out there (with a straight face) wants me to spend $195 to entertain a claim that nearly half a billion e-readers will be sold in 2020.
There are lots of good things to say about current and possible e-reading solutions, to the extent that they are solutions and not just devices. To hear those things, we need to stop gasping every time something new and shiny (or black) comes our way.
Matthew Bernius (a graduate student at Rochester Institute of Technology and co-director of the school’s Open Publishing Lab) offers a level-headed view of where e-reading may be headed. With somewhat less analysis, Bonnier’s Sara Öhrvall offers her on-the-floor perspective, sparing us a breathless talk on the Coming Age of E-Books.
Similarly, Kirk Biglione offers a nuanced assessment of how the mythical Apple Tablet might well aid Amazon in the digital reading market. It’s not always apparent where we’ll end up, or when we’ll get there.
To be clear, I do believe digital content consumption will grow, and the relative share of print-based content provision will fall. I’m just not a fan of conclusions without data and predictions for the sake of having said it first. It was a bad week for both, I am afraid.
Two weeks from now at Digital Book World, the Book Industry Study Group will offer the first look at data from their ongoing research project, “Consumer Attitudes toward eBook Reading”. The study is evaluating readers’ actual interest in and preferences for digital content, and the factors that influence their reading habits and purchasing decisions, and they will be presenting a selection of actionable data points from this pioneering research.