What is a Publisher? (Roundtable: 9/23/10)

#DBW RoundtableThe 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: What is a Publisher?

This episode of The Roundtable will be webcast live at 1pm EDT on Thursday, September 23, 2010.


Pablo Defendini, Interactive Producer, Open Road Integrated Media
Bridget Warren, Former Co-Owner, Vertigo Books

Special Guests:

Jason Pinter, Best-selling Author; Literary Agent, Waxman Literary Agency
Scott Walker, President, Brain Candy, LLC.

Moderated by:

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Dir. of Programming & Business Development, Digital Book World


Organizational Fields and the Book Industry
Peter Brantley, director of the Internet Archive’s BookServer project, and co-founder of the Open Book Alliance

“Transmedia and web-based delivery are examples where new entrants better able to produce, distribute.”

[slideshare id=5254329&doc=orgfieldsbook-100921205522-phpapp01]

Complex objects, complex rights
Peter Brantley, director of the Internet Archive’s BookServer project, and co-founder of the Open Book Alliance

As my friend, Hugh McGuire of Librivox, has pointed out, the transition to complex objects, particularly those that are web native and embed pointers to resources existing across the network, is one that the publishing industry has yet to get its head around. I know that publishers would ideologically like to have these assets bundled into a single physical file (or small set of linked files) for purposes of both ready technical translation and rights control, but I suspect that we will wind up with “narrative experiences” that are actually not wholly “owned” but increasingly have at least some of their aspects licensed for performance rights (instead of having been either commissioned or licensed for broader rights), or that rely on blanket proffered commercial license terms. UGC that is just-in-time and custom-embeddable into transmedia productions will only hasten the transition to more complex rights packages.

Will Enhanced E-Books Kill Movie Deals? We’re About to Find Out
Richard Curtis, E-Reads

But with development of vooks and similar hybrids of text and other media (“Vook” = Video + Book), publishers are challenging the assumption that interactive rights must be reserved to authors. As enhanced e-books become viable and valuable, publishers want to know why they are abandoning rights to movie and television companies. That is the background for the memo that a major literary agency has sent to a number of film agents informing them that henceforth they cannot count controlling those interactive rights.

Bridges Of Virtue: Indie Publishers As The Golden Mean
By Paolo Chikiamco, Publisher, Rocket Kapre Books

Keep in mind that the uncertainty of the current environment is about more than the format of the digital file, of PDF versus EPUB vs MOBI… Anyone who believes that the final form of the digital book will be static lines of text on a screen is fooling themselves. The book as a medium for delivery of content is in flux, and small, risk-taking ventures are at an advantage.

Transmedia 2.0 – Participatory Entertainment
Scott Walker

Content producers who ignore CGC are like people walking across a floor covered in money. You can choose to walk past it, or you can choose to make the effort to pick it up.

[slideshare id=5217262&doc=transmedia2-0-100916144150-phpapp01]

Twitter (as RTd by @digibookworld)

RT @neustudio: A publisher is someone who curates and disseminates ideas #dbw

RT @babetteross: AGREE with @pablod Distributing a book is one thing, selling/mrktg/promo a book to be sold is another. #dbw

RT @Knownhuman: #DBW You don’t need marketing muscle. It’s the wrong metaphor. We need skill, savvy, and recognized curat[orial] talent.

RT @IrisBlasi: “No longer enough to just provide content. Pubs need to say, ‘I know what you want & HOW you want it.'” @scott_walker #dbw

RT @eBookNoir: #DBW – 2 truly succeed, pubs R going 2 need 2 B platform agnostic, they need 2 get it out 2 all & not B limited by platform

RT @MatthewDiener: #dbw With Espresso and POD, the time is ripe for local bookstores to start publishing/reprinting regional titles.

RT @babetteross: The lines b/w publishers and producers seems to be blurring. Do pubs have the right competencies to compete? #dbw @pablod

RT @MatthewDiener: No shortage of people who want to work w/ film, audio, animation, etc. Pubs can find them, but ROI is toxic. #dbw

RT @emilyw00: #DBW cost of prdctn for film & video games is much higher, risk bigger, limits the number of creators who participate.

RT @MatthewDiener: Publs don’t have the competencies to produce multi-media content affordably. Given margins in books, no one does. #dbw

RT @Knownhuman: #DBW Man, imagine how awesome it would be if agents became “Story Brokers” (aka, Transmedia Producers, per PGA.)

RT @IrisBlasi: Definite addition to the #dbw drinking game: “transmedia”

One thought on “What is a Publisher? (Roundtable: 9/23/10)

  1. Pingback: Scott Walker – Guest on DBW’s ‘What is a Publisher?’


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