Publishing: A Complex Future

The crowd at DBW2013, more than 1,300 strong.

Publishers are grappling with the possibility that bookstores might not exist in the future; that some authors have a very low opinion of them; that agents are pushing them for more advantageous contract terms for their clients; that the landscape of book discovery is changing; and much more.

Yet, publishers are optimistic about the future. If the mood at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo that concluded yesterday is any indication, they’re downright upbeat. Most of the 1,300+ publishing executives, agents, technologists, librarians and others who attended stayed until the final bell at 5:00 P.M. yesterday, buzzing and sharing ideas.

Speaking of buzzing, the #DBW13 hash-tag on Twitter was trending nationally – something we didn’t think was possible, but the enthusiasm of our attendees made it happen.

One senior publishing executive we spoke with said, “When I got here this week, I was at zero. I’ve met at least three people who can help me with my problems.” It makes all the work and planning of the conference worth it – knowing that we helped publishers solve their problems.

If you missed the conference, you can watch the key sessions here. More from our coverage below.

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The rest of the day’s top news:

DBW2013: A Complex Future for Publishing (PW)
A summary of some of the most important sessions and insights from DBW2013.

DBW2013: What Authors Want (DBW)
We partnered with Writer’s Digest to survey nearly 5,000 authors about the attitudes toward publishers, self-publishing, libraries, agents, social media, ebook royalties and much more. The full survey is available for pre-order at the Digital Book World Store.

DBW2013: What Agents Want (Pub Lunch)
Literary agents are now “facilitators” for their authors’ careers. And that sometimes means helping them self-publish their works. It also means getting up on stage in front of a bunch of publishers and telling them what they should do to please authors.

DBW2013: Why Wool Author Hugh Howey Didn’t Sell His Ebook Rights (DBW)
In short, he was making more money on his own than he would with a publisher and the terms he was offered to sign on didn’t make it attractive for him. Bonus tidbit in the article: Why Howey left Amazon’s KDP Select program. More: Six Essential Issues in Any Ebook Contract Negotiation.

Penguin Gives Book Country Upgrade (DBW)
Book Country now offers free ebook self-publishing, has abandoned print self-publishing, and allows any author to use it – not just genre authors. There’s more to come later this year in the evolution of the site, according to Book Country president and Penguin Global Digital Director Molly Barton.

DBW2013: Ebook Market Maturing (DBW)
Several important reports point to the maturing of the ebook market: It will temporarily become easier to predict what will happen in what has been a turbulent market. How long will this “Act II” for ebooks last? Well, that’s harder to predict.

DBW2013: Insights on Ebooks From Barnes & Noble (DBW)
Barnes & Noble vice president of ebooks Jim Hilt took the stage at DBW2013 to share some of his company’s ebook insights, including the company’s new and intriguing focus on readers’ areas of interest rather than genres and categories to sell more books.

DBW2013: Discovery Landscape Shifting (DBW)
Publishers are spending more than ever advertising books on e-reading devices. Yet, new book discovery on the Web and e-readers has stalled out. What gives?

DBW2013: How to Fix Online Book Discovery (paidContent)
Some solutions for the problem of online book discovery from the conference, including protecting physical bookstores, fostering new players in retail and bolster the book review ecosystem.

DBW2013: Gamefying Children’s Ebooks (DBW)
When publishers use game mechanics to enhance their children’s ebooks, is it just candy replacing vegetables or is there a good reason that parents and educators can get behind?

DBW2013: New Kind of Ebook Buyer (Pub Lunch)
Kobo has a couple of months selling ebooks through indie bookstores under its belt. Some insight: Indie ebook buyers are way different than your average ebook buyer. In general, they’re more sophisticated.

Harlequin Expands Digital-Only Imprint to UK (The Bookseller)
Harlequin is expanding its digital-only imprint Carina Press to the UK: Carina UK.

Penguin POD at Retail (PW)
Penguin will add its catalog of books to the Espresso Book Machine, meaning at a very, very select set of locations, if a reader wants a Penguin title that’s not in stock, they can wait for it to be printed.

Book Tours Suck (Salon)
The author of Go the F*** to Sleep is not having fun on his book tour. He uses the inventive language for which he is known to air his grievances.

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Photo credit: Brian Park

One thought on “Publishing: A Complex Future

  1. Jeffrey Davis

    Jeremy, It was a fantastic conference. Meaningful hard data. Affirmations from “the horse’s mouth.” Great connections. Inspiring vendors. Useful information to navigate the digital wonderland.

    P.S. I know several authors who will want the “Author’s Launch” to happen next year – so give it another try, and let’s get the word out. I also have ideas for your bringing in certain instrumental bloggers. Finally, “audio books” might factor in the mix, too, for 2014. You do great work. -jbd



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