First Impressions of the Publishing Business Conference
Last week I had the good fortune of attending my first Publishing Business Conference & Expo. I've been to conferences and trade shows in other industries, but never in the publishing industry, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Here is my initial impression of the conference and the-industry-as-it-evolves:
The industry is becoming increasingly complex: what do I mean by this? Well, I imagine that 15-20 years ago, magazine and book publishers were focused mostly on publishing magazines and books. Sounds logical, right? Now publishers are exploring digital books and magazines, video and events. Magazine publishers are now producing books and launching TV networks. Book publishers are evolving their distribution models. Everyone is eager to develop new business streams and the correlating skills and there is clearly a lot of wisdom to be shared across the different sectors. The conference played host to this interchange-which was exciting.
To that point, I found one of the most informative and inspiring sessions to be one outside my comfort zone. I've worked mostly in the magazine industry, but a session featuring burgeoning book publishers-titled "Business As Unusual: New Models for Content Acquisition, Creation, Discover & Distribution"-was fascinating. Featuring panelists from Atavist, The Head & The Hand Press, Wattpad and Publerati, it was interesting to hear how fresh thinking and a devil-may-care attitude are disrupting the book industry.
And speaking of fresh thinking, there was also a respectable amount of young talented attendees and panelists at the show. This is a good thing for the publishing industry and hopefully as conference attendance trends up in coming years, the average age trends down. (Then again, I may be biased).
I also found valuable sessions on gamifcation (why publishers should and how publishers are including game-like features in their creations), the potential revenue growth presented by content marketing, and XML-based content strategy (which I wish I knew about when managing book production several years ago). Though a bit wordy, I think that previous sentence says quite a bit: the conference brought together a diverse set of perspectives, skillsets, and success and failure stories. As an editor, it was the best way for me to pack a lot of learning about a quickly evolving industry into just three days. I hope it was the same for other attendees.
Denis Wilson is the content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzes and reports on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aims to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.