What to Attend at DBW (If You’re a Techie)

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

Full disclosure: Iris Febres is an employee of F+W Media, which owns and operates Digital Book World.

It’s early November and you’re probably thinking about your conference season next year. Obviously, Digital Book World is a must, and the 2014 lineup is packed with great speakers and sessions for all kinds of attendees. However, if you’re someone involved with technical stuff — ebooks, startups, workflows, metadata, and the like — then you may be wondering what sessions to pluck out from the number of offerings available during the conference.

Luckily for you, I’ve done the legwork and what follows are my suggestions of what to attend if you’re technically inclined. Read on!


If you can only attend for a single day, the DBW Digital Design & Production Conference is perfect for you. This would be your best bet; these sessions on Monday are practical, nitty-gritty events that get into the details of production. There’s a focus on ebook creation and design, featuring:

  • Joshua Tallent, Chief eBook Architect at Firebrand Technologies, who will discuss EPUB3
  • Chris Kitchener, Group Product Manager at Adobe, who will lead sessions on basic and advanced EPUB creation with Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud
  • Charles Nix of Scott & Nix, who will explain best practices for typography in ebooks
  • And many other professionals involved with creating, designing, and executing digital content.


DBW gives you the opportunity to explore topics and sessions outside the scope of your work; you can glean valuable insights from others who may work in the opposite spectrum of your field. However, if you want to stick to technical content, then check out these sessions following the morning headliners:

  • HTML5 is the Future of Book Authorship with Tim O’Reilly (CEO/Founder, O’Reilly Media) and Sanders Kleinfeld (Publishing Technology Engineer, O’Reilly Media). This talk will certainly touch on generating content starting with HTML5, and reveal strategies for efficiency within a “digital first” workflow.
  • Emerging Strategies for eBook Production with Bill McCoy (Executive Director, IDPF), who looks to explore the EPUB3 standard and various production workflows. (I hope he touches on the new EPUB indexing spec!)
  • During the above blocks and afterward, there are panels on startups and publishing: Investing in Publishing Innovation and Start-Ups Working with PublishingClick here for more details on this innovative track.
  • Crossing the Chasm: Finding Digital Solutions for Non-Narrative Content is shaping up to be a fantastic panel on publishing models regarding complex content — those books of heavily illustrated or referential text — and the products that can be created to address the challenges involved. (Speakers TBA.)
  • Definitely try and network at the end of the day via the Networking Reception, and stick around for a lovely evening at the Digital Book Awards Gala, where we honor the winners of our Digital Book Awards for excellence in ebook design. 


DBW’s final day begins with a morning all about Amazon: Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store, opens with an overview of Amazon’s history, strategies and successes; and after that attendees will learn more about what makes Amazon a key player in publishing and the greater market. We then take a turn toward self-publishing before breaking out into varied sessions:

  • Reaching Book Reading Communities Online with Ashleigh Gardner (Head of Content, Wattpad) and Patrick Brown (Community Manager, Goodreads), who will investigate whether publishers can create their reading communities effectively
  • Optimizing Metadata for Global Impact with Cameron Drew (Director, Global Content Acquisition of Kobo, Inc.) and Len Viahos (Executive Director, BISG), who will discuss the caveats of trying to achieve a global standard for publishing metadata
  • Subscriptions for Books: Publishers Putting Books into Subscription Models, featuring company presidents Sara Domville of F+W Media and Deborah Forte of Scholastic Media, looks to be a detailed examination of subscription-based startups (Oyster, Ereatah, 24Symbols, etc.)
  • Honestly, there’s so much to choose from! Check out the other offerings here.

There’s no doubt that Digital Book World 2014 will be a stellar event. Prices go up on November 9, so register today!

3 thoughts on “What to Attend at DBW (If You’re a Techie)

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  2. Drew Podwal

    This is a great distillation of the tech part of the event. I’m really looking forward to hearing Joshua Tallent, Sanders Kleinfeld, and Ashleigh Gardner! I’m also stoked for the “Change People – How to Design a Culture of Growth” session. I feel like publishers really need to step a little further out onto the ledge and embrace the methodologies and SDLC’s that have been developed by other industries. It’s XML we’re dealing with, we’re not reinventing the wheel.

  3. Pingback: What to Attend at DBW (If You're a Techie) | Learn About eBooks


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