Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
UK publishers gathered at the Futurebook conference yesterday to further the debate over change in the industry. I was unable to attend the conference this year but was able to make it to another London publishing event this week, the Byte the Book discussion covering the Future for Publishers in the Digital Age.
Catching up on the main takeaways from Futurebook, I was particularly interested in the comments from the ‘big ideas’ panel where leading figures proposed ideas to change the industry. Speed to market, opportunities for bundling, looking outside the industry for technical innovation all seemed to be themes from this session. In other comments from the day I noted discussion of communities and the importance of understanding USPs, something it seems Pottermore SEO Susan Jurevics discussed when talking about opportunities for brands.
At the Byte the book event, we heard publisher Richard Charkin and self-published author Polly Courtney discuss the challenges that in particular are faced by mass market fiction fiction. On many subjects there was consensus between the two – fragmentation of the market, the need and challenge for publishers to be nimble, the benefits of editorial curation and the challenges of self published writing flooding the market with a lack of quality filtering.
One thing that struck me at Byte the Book was a comment that Polly Courtney made about knowing many of her readers by name and how she can use this direct relationship and feedback to improve her writing and to influence her new books. This, of course, is about her understanding her customer better than anyone and responding accordingly.
When you consider the ideas for innovation and change that come from Futurebook, Byte the Book or Digital Book World it’s surely the importance of this understanding the customer that has to be the core tenet of any new opportunity? I still think this is something that publishers have yet to fully grasp, but perhaps the ideas heard in the UK this week will encourage more to do so.