Mix of New and Familiar Players, Challenges at BISG Annual Meeting

New entrants and challenges are joining–but not necessarily upending–the old ones in today’s publishing landscape, according to speakers at the Book Industry Study Group (BISG)’s annual meeting in New York City today.

The list of new initiatives BISG’s Executive Director Len Vlahos outlined for the coming year reflect that mix of new and familiar terrain:

  • new, more frequent research on hot topics like subscription ebooks and profiles of emerging markets
  • continued work toward broadening EPUB3 support and standardization through epubtest.org, EDUPUB and other projects
  • a sharper focus on accessibility (“When you’re developing content that is accessible,” Vlahos said, “you’re also developing content that is formatted properly.”)
  • renewed focus on rights and licensing
  • relaunching data certification program with BookNet Canada

BISG welcomed 33 new members over the course of the past year, including ebook subscription service Scribd–one reflection of the evolution in the traditional makeup of the publishing industry.

According to speakers at today’s meeting, publishers face many of the same hurdles they have for years. Elsevier’s Chairman Y. S. Chi ticked off three: conveying publishers’ value to consumers, establishing industry-wide standards governing the development of digital content and finding new ways of reaching readers.

None of these issues are new, but some of their features are shifting. Andrew Savikas, CEO of Safari, pointed to the rapid acceleration of video as one area where publishers should invest greater marketing resources, both to connect with readers and improve their offering of services for authors.

When it comes to data, outgoing BISG Chair and Global COO of Macmillan’s Science and Education division Ken Michaels reminded that there are still “very few rules governing the sharing and using of analytics,” while conceding that “publishers are not yet ready to take full advantage of data.”

That’s not simply because publishers are failing to make progress, though; it’s also a function of the tight grip in which retailers continue to hold consumer data as well as of the changing ways readers access digital content.

BISG 2014 Industry Awards

BISG also recognized and commended key publishing leaders through its 2014 Industry Award program.

[Press Release]

BISG Industry Award Recipients in Four Categories Celebrate Those Driving a Thriving Industry

New York, NY (Sept. 19, 2014) BISG announced the recipients of its 2014 Industry Awards today at its Annual Meeting of Members in New York City.

Awards in four categories recognize the wide range of BISG and industry achievements that help smooth the processes that bring content to readers and help move a transforming industry forward.

The Most Valuable BISG Volunteer Award recognizes the recipient’s commitment to solving industry challenges and finding new opportunities by working collaboratively with industry peers. It was presented to Kempton Mooney, Research and Analytics Director, Nielsen Book, for his work as the first Chair of the Thema Working Group of the BISG Subject Codes Committee leading the development of the BISAC 2013 to Thema 1.0 mapping, and for his work on the BISAC Subject Codes Committee. The shortlist included Jenny Bullough, Manager, Digital Assets at Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.; Patricia Payton, Senior Manager Publisher Relations & Content Development, Bowker; and Tzviya Siegman, Digital Book Standards & Capabilities Lead, Wiley.

The Industry Champion Award recognizes an individual whose efforts have gone beyond the

requirements of his or her position to advance the publishing industry while embracing BISG’s mission. It was awarded to Bill Kasdorf, Vice President, Apex Content Solutions, for his work as Chair of the Content Structure Committee and on its signature EPUB 3 Support Grid, his close involvement in the Committee’s working groups, and his many broader efforts to improve standards throughout the industry. The shortlist included Graham Bell, Executive Director, EDItEUR; Maureen McMahon, President and Publisher, Kaplan Publishing; and Richard Stark, Director of Product Data, Barnes & Noble.

The Industry Innovation Award recognizes a company or individual who boldly reimagines what publishing is and can be. It was awarded to BitLit (represented by Peter Hudson, Founder & CEO) for its innovative bundling app that allows publishers to offer a discounted digital edition of a book the consumer already owns, regardless of the source of their purchase. The shortlist also included BookShout (Jason Illian, CEO); eBook Architects (Joshua Tallent, Chief eBook Architect); Library for All (Rebecca Macdonald, Founder and CEO); and Next Big Book (Alex White, CEO & Co-Founder).

As previously announced, Judith Appelbaum, Managing Director, Sensible Solutions, is the 2014 recipient of the BISG Lifetime Service Award, which recognizes an individual’s outstanding work on behalf of BISG over the course of a career. Appelbaum has been a longtime member of the BISG Board of Directors, was the chair of BISG’s Publications Committee and Co-Chair of the Rights Committee, and is a member of the Executive Committee, with a constant focus on making the process of bringing content to readers smoother and more efficient.

BISG Executive Director Len Vlahos said, “Today, BISG honors the recipients and nominees instrumental in the industry’s shifts to meet the evolving needs of consumers and authors. We are delighted that the industry came together to validate our collective achievements and honor these individuals. Our sincere congratulations on their well deserved recognition.”

BISG members and a jury of industry professionals nominated candidates for the awards. The jury reviewed the nominations and selected shortlists and winners. The jury members included 

Peter Balis, Vice President and Director, Business Development, Global Digital Books, Wiley; Angela Bole, Executive Director, Independent Book Publishers Association; Sally Dedecker, President, Sally Dedecker Enterprises; Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Content Acquisition, Ingram Content Group; Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Content, Publishing, Wattpad; Kristen McLean, Founder and CEO, Bookigee, Inc.; Kat Meyer, Director, Events and Community Engagement, Publishers Weekly; and Rob Weisstuch, Vice President, Business Analysis, HarperCollins Publishers.


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