The Roundtable is a live, interactive webcast gathering some of the most outspoken industry professionals to debate the hottest publishing issues of the week, as being discussed in traditional media, the blogiverse and on Twitter. From celebrity book deals to eBook rights and pricing to [insert YOUR pet topic here] — if it’s related to books, it’s on the agenda.
Topic: Live from BEA 2010
This episode of The Roundtable was webcast live from the NetGalley Booth (#3905) at BEA at 1:30pm EDT on Thursday, May 27, 2010.
Laura Dawson, Publishing Industry Consultant, LJNDawson.com
Pablo Defendini, Interactive Producer, Open Road Integrated Media
Kate Rados, Dir. of Digital Initiatives, Chelsea Green
Bridget Warren, Former Co-Owner, Vertigo Books
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Dir. of Programming & Business Development, Digital Book World
Watching the panel brought to mind the feeling of passengers trapped on a speeding train headed for a wall that might be made of solid brick or soothing transparent liquid. Nobody knows what that wall will be, and the fear of brick is doing battle with the possibility of the more permeable stuff. Whatever happens, that train is going to crash, creating a kind of chaos, either for good or for ill. In the end, Newberg proved the most pointed — and funny — about publishing’s future. “I’m scared to death,” she said at one point. “One of the only good things about being old is that I’m not going to have to deal with this for long.”
Copyright may not be dead, but it is irrelevant, noted Cursor’s Richard Nash at a Wednesday morning panel entitled Rights, Royalties & Retailers: What Works. In his opening remarks, Nash spoke about publishing in the “age of abundance,” telling attendees that success in the digital age is no longer about securing lifetime monopolies associated with copyright, or controlling the content pipe, but about “your moxie.” Nash, who announced his upstart Cursor model in PW last year, showcased the centerpiece of his business: three-year deals. “That doesn’t mean after three years, you lose your author,” Nash noted. “You renegotiate.”
Publishers have experienced an explosion in the amount of work they have to do. It seems likely that publishers are facing higher costs for less revenue. Three new kinds of digital opportunity: ebooks, apps and web based. For an author they represent a huge opportunity for an author, but it also represents a complete retooling of what a publishing company does. Need to become much more involved in consumer marketing and it will become part of every job function.