By Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Chief Executive Optimist, Digital Book World
If it’s May, it must be time for another publishing conference!
The industry will gather in New York City this week for Book Expo America, the relevance and future of which has been debated almost as much as the eBook Tipping Point and the Agency Model. For the next four days, though, the focus will mainly be on the here and now, and skimming the unwieldy program of Conference Sessions and Special Events, a handful stick out, either for promising actual data instead of the usual punditry and speculation; approaching a popular issue from a different angle; or bringing together an eclectic panel of interesting speakers.
If each of these sessions live up to their descriptions, they will likely be among the best of the week.
“I’ll Never Pay Over $9.99 For E-Books!” and Similar Lies
Tuesday, May 25, 2010; 12:30PM – 1:30PM
Location: Room 1E02
Simba Information’s Michael Norris presents some key findings and e-book myth-busting data from Simba’s latest report, Trade E-Book Publishing 2010. Through unbiased national consumer analysis and exhaustive bestseller research, this presentation will undo the misconceptions of the e-book market and answer some critical questions: how do consumers really feel about prices? How do e-book price and retail trends compare to what’s going on with print books? And finally: why do so many news stories print the legend of e-books rather than the facts?
Presenter: Michael Norris, Simba Information
There has been a lot consumer research presented this year, some more illuminating than others, so Norris’ will be an interesting addition to the mix. His snarky jab at the trade media suggests this might be a lively presentation, too.
NOTE: If you’re attending the ABA Day of Education, be sure to check out the 2010 Survey of Book-Buying Behavior With Verso Digital (Room 1E10) session at 10:15am. Jack McKeown says he’ll be presenting data from a “Brand new survey completed in April 2010. New data on indie mindshare v. marketshare, ebook usage, etc.”
7 X 20 X 21
Tuesday, May 25, 2010; 3:00PM – 4:00PM
Location: Room 1E13
Back again after a mesmerizing debut last year a unique event designed to inspire conversation, creativity, and passion for the future of publishing. Ten presenters who are at the forefront of what is exciting in publishing now will be given seven minutes each to present their stories to the crowd. Their presentations will be accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation of 20 slides, with a strict 21-second limit per slide, which forces the presenter to keep the presentation moving forward quickly. Our guidelines for what they discuss will be left wide open, in order to encourage a wide range of topics and styles of presentation throughout the program.
Chairs: Ryan Chapman, Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Ami Greko, Adaptive Blue
Presenters: Clay Shirky; Justin Taylor and Eva Talmadge; Jacob Lewis; Jennifer Egan; Ed Nawotka; Nick Bilton (confirmed)
Last year’s 7x20x21 featured an inspirational mix of speakers and spawned our own 7x20x21 series, so I’m looking forward to what Chapman and Greko put together for their BEA sequel. Based on Chapman’s preview, Nawotka and Taylor/Talmadge sound especially interesting.
Rights, Royalties & Retailers: What Works?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010; 11:00AM – 12:00PM
Location: Room 1E03
Read any news surrounding the agency model, iPad, or Amazon, and one can easily conclude why rights standardization is so crucial today. The pie is only so big, and everybody wants a piece of it. Ebooks supplied the grist to the mill for revamping the business model; and everybody’s lunging at once. Authors are self-publishing (the really big ones and the really small ones); publishers are playing with rev-share models; both wholesalers and retailers are looking at the discounts they give publishers. And the line between royalties and retailers is blurred, and challenging for old channel partners. Join industry stakeholders as they talk candidly, and haggle, for their piece of the digital pie.
Moderator: Laura Dawson, CEO, LJNDawson
Panelists: David Marlin; Richard Nash; Andrew Weinstein
An interesting mix of panelists including the always provocative Nash could make for a lively session full of great soundbites, but more importantly, some interesting solutions. Check out Emily Williams’ Old London vs. New Media for a hint of some of what they’ll hopefully cover.
Community Social Networking: A Guide for Retailers and Librarians
Wednesday, May 26, 2010; 3:30PM – 4:30PM
The advent of social networking has given rise to a new culture of sharing and retailers and librarians should leverage the opportunity to engage and connect people around books and their ideas. But to do this, you need a strategy and a plan, not a haphazard, “see what sticks” approach to social technologies. You’ll come away with a better understanding of how social networking can benefit your organization and a list of what “To Do” first, second, and onwards.
Presenters: Charlene Li; David Meerman Scott
I’m really tired of “experts” talking generically about social networking, but Li and Scott have solid credentials, and the focus on retailers and librarians is a welcome shift that should also offer key takeaways for publishers, too. Li’s Groundswell remains one of the primary must-reads for anyone trying to get a grip on social networking from a business perspective.
Big Name Authors with Graphic Novels: How Will this Change the Market?
Thursday, May 27, 2010; 9:30AM – 10:30AM
Location: Room 1E14
James Patterson, Janet Evanovich and Stephenie Meyer have all announced major graphic novel initiatives for 2010. Each book project will yield initial print runs of 100,000 copies or more. What drives these projects and is the market ready for them? How does the Disney/Marvel sale and the Warner/DC Comics reorganization affect the market growth? Join a select group of industry insiders as they reveal their analyses on the forces changing market complexity.
Moderator: Rich Johnson, author and consultant
Panelists: Calvin Reid; Judy Hanson; Michael Martens; Heidi, MacDonald; Carol Fitzgerald
The comics market offers a number of lessons for all publishers, from audience engagement and transmedia, to the downsides of non-returnability, and Disney’s purchase of Marvel is a legitimate potential game-changer that could have ramifications way beyond comics. I’m really looking forward to this one.
Also being held during BEA:
- ABA Day of Education (be sure to catch Verso’s presentation)
- IDPF’s Digital Book 2010 (Taking the “Agency Model” Out for a Spin with Bob Livolsi should be interesting)
- NY Book Week (WORD’s Indie Press Night and Book Culture’s “One of Us” event look good)
For those of you looking for tips on galley giveaways, check out Barbara Hoffert’s Guide to Making BEA Your Bitch: Authors To Stalk, Galleys To Grab over at Library Journal. I’d like to get a look at Fulcrum’s Trickster: Native American Tales; A Graphic Collection. Hint, hint…
If you’re attending BEA this year, which sessions, events and galleys are you most looking forward to?
If you’re not attending, what are you most hoping to get out of the Conference from afar?
And, finally, what do you think about a A Book Conference You Can Attend in Your Bathrobe?