"toccon" entries

Publishing times, they are a-changin’

Panelists at the inaugural NYC Publishing Innovators Meetup discuss changing publishers' roles.

The NYC Publishing Innovators Meetup group held its inaugural roundtable in its quarterly speaker series in July. Panelists, led by Kat Meyer as moderator, included: Ned Lomigora, co-founder of Zeeen.com; Diane Gedymin, executive editor at Turner Publishing; Peter Balis, director of online sales, John Wiley & Sons; Linda Holliday, CEO of Semi-Linear; Jesse Potash, founder, PubSlush, and; Michelle Toth, founder, 617Books. The thesis was: “What role can publishers play in supporting a direct relationship between readers and authors?” The discussion was energetic, but everyone agreed on one thing: the times, they are a-changin’.

Key points from the full discussion include:

  • Where there’s a will, there’s a way — Utilizing technology, authors with the time and will to publish and market their books can bypass traditional publishers. Technology “is the great enabler and democratizer.” [Begins at the 13:20 mark.]
  • Is it good? — Quality content matters; curation is a valuable role for professionals, from freelancers to traditional publishers, but a panelist postulates that an alternate path can be found in the tools available to authors who self-publish, including community. [Begins at 24:05.]
  • Should publishers worry about losing big authors to self-publishing? — If traditional publishers are going to continue to add marketing value, they need to master the new technology toolset and grow it. Publishers lag behind other industry leaders as to what they do online. [Begins at 34:19.]
  • The distance between readers and writers is shrinking — Whoever owns the sale owns the relationship with readers, and effective marketing is key to establishing that relationship. [Begins at 38:05.]
  • What is distribution in today’s world? — A spirited discussion begins with the declaration that you can’t distribute a book “with the push of a button.” Publishers create books in multiple formats sent to multiple vendors for sale via multiple channels, with metadata included for discovery purposes. [Begins at 47:02.]
  • Transparency in e-publishing — Peter Balis talks about the complex process of publishing in various formats, information that should be shared with aspiring authors who want to self-publish and self-distribute. [Begins at 56:00 with insightful follow-up comments starting at 1:05:40.]
  • Our understanding of what a publisher is is changing — Jesse Potash addresses changing roles and perceptions, and how experts can potentially replace certain roles publishers currently fill. [Begins at 1:00:25.]
  • Branding — A great discussion about the role branding is playing in today’s world starts with a question from the audience. [Begins at 1:25:21.]

Read more…

Publishing's tech and edit worlds converge

The Books in Browsers conference is underway.

The Books in Browsers conference kicked off this morning. Keynotes, interviews and presentations are being livestreamed today and tomorrow.

Promoting free downloads to increase revenue

Nelson Saba on how freemium is helping his Glo Bible app.

Publishers continue to struggle with the concept of a freemium business model. In this TOC podcast, Nelson Saba, CEO of Immersion Digital, talks about his Glo Bible app and how upgrade conversion rates are surprisingly good.

For booksellers, the future is brighter than it seems

Kassia Krozser says digital publishing won't kill bookstores if it's properly acknowledged.

Though stories abound about the impending doom booksellers face in the digital era, Kassia Krozser says brick-and-mortar retailers still have a future.

The future of publishing is writable

Trends of smaller, easier, and more personal content signal a shift away from read-only publishing.

Terry Jones envisons a future in which we step beyond the default of read-only publishing via traditional containers and APIs. Data itself will become social, and we'll be able to personalize arbitrarily.

Announcing TOC Bologna

O'Reilly teams up with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair for TOC Bologna in March of 2011

TOC Bologna, a one-day conference being held in conjunction with the Bologna Children's Book Fair, will focus on digital and mobile technology.

TOC 2011 preliminary program announced

Featured speakers include Margaret Atwood, Ben Huh and Kevin Kelly.

We've just unveiled the initial list of workshops, sessions, speakers, and events happening at TOC 2011 in February. In addition to traditional book publishers discussing their experiences from the trenches of change, TOC also brings in ideas from the wider global ecosystem.

Mobile phones and smartphones are not the same thing

Comparing a basic mobile phone to a spiffy new smartphone is like comparing a circa-1993 desktop computer to a Macbook Pro. They're related in a basic sense, but the discrepancies are immense. Arthur Attwell, co-founder and CEO of Electric Book Works, expands on the divide between mobile phones and smartphones in an interview.

Making the most of the iPad life preserver

I was very happy to hear less fear at last week's TOC conference than I've heard at previous shows. Publishers, while still concerned about their futures, seem to be adjusting to the prospects of a much less book-centric world. A couple of years ago I'd hear standard complaints like "people don't read any more," "customers would rather surf than read,"…

Emerging topics from TOC 2010

It's interesting to chart technical developments in the publishing industry against TOC's brief history. As Andrew Savikas notes in the following video, things like ebooks and mobile have evolved from small topics to dominant themes. If the pattern holds — and I don't know why it wouldn't — we'll see international markets and digital analytics claim more attention at…