Monday, May 24, 2010
The E-volution of Books
This was day 1 of Publishing University. At noon the recipients of the scholarships to P. U. got together for a meet and greet. There were 13 of us, and quite a variety of experience from the one book (so far) publishers like myself to one company that has 60 titles under their belt.
Dominique Raccah was the opening keynote speaker. She started Sourcebooks in 1987 and has grown her publishing company into the largest female owned publisher in the United States. Her topic today was the digital revolution in books. She captured my attention right away with the following comment: "I don't care how I feel about the content [of a suggested book]. I only care about what the customer thinks about it." And she basically is not interested in what I would call one hit wonders. She only wants to publish authors who have multiple books in them.
After talking about changes in printing books such as digital print, print on demand and e-books, she asked the question "We are morphing from being book publishers to what?" Because really, when is a book no longer a book? She said that we are in the business of delivering our content to readers, and we need to remain flexible on how we do that. Her summary? We need to be able to connect author and readers anytime, anywhere, and in any format.
Her presentation was a great segway to the next general session entitled "E-Magination". Moderated by Chris Kenneally of the Copyright Clearance Center, the illustrious panel included Mike Coker of Smashwords, David Hetherington of BLIO/Baker & Taylor, Jack Sallay of Vook and Sara Nelson from O Magazine. Each of the panelists gave a short synopsis of their company and how they approach the e-book market, and this was followed by Q. & A. Vook's approach takes the e-book concept and expands on it by embedding photos and videos into the book as well as offering communities for the "readers" to connect with each other. This is where you begin to see the relevance of the question "When is a book no longer a book?"
For the final session of the day I elected to go to the session "What Kind of Printer Do You Want to Be?" That's a pertinent question for me, but also Dan Poynter was one of the speakers. His bible on self-publishing was crucial to me as I brought my book to life, so I was very interested in hearing him speak. Also on the panel with him were Steve Carlson of Upper Access and Danny Snow of Unlimited Publishing LLC. Dan did not disappoint with his presentation, and even though a lot of it is covered in his book it was still great to hear him live. Favorite quotation made by Dan - "Publishers buy authors, they don't buy books."
Tomorrow's schedule has many great choices on the agenda. It will be hard to decide which sessions will be of the most benefit to me. But I'm up for the challenge!
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PU sounds fascinating! Where will Provenance go after this?
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