Shatzkin Takes the Measure of Industry Change Since DBW Launch in 2010

“When we started DBW, there was very little questioning of what a book actually was,” recalled Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The Idea Logical Company and conference council chair of Digital Book World 2014, where he shared reflections on the industry this morning in New York City.

That’s changed, and with it, the business of publishing has been transformed.

At the first DBW in 2010, said Shatzkin, a few things were still true:

— The trade publishing world was clearly defined.
—  Publishers lacked sufficient tech skills to enter the ebook market.
— The Nook had just launched, the iPad was poised to, and Amazon controlled only a limited online print marketplace.
— Publishers were still willing to discuss ebook pricing openly.

This year marks the fifth Digital Book World Conference and Expo, by far the biggest and most successful to date.

Over 1,500 attendees converged on the Sheraton Hotel and Towers beginning yesterday morning with a series of pre-conference sessions and panels on children’s publishing, digital production and design, higher-education publishing, ebooks and the law, copyright, discoverability and much more. The event will continue this evening with the Digital Book Awards in a gala dinner hosted by LeVar Burton and culminate tomorrow with an entire day of programming.

Digital Book World 2014 is a reflection of current state of the industry and the degree of change it’s experienced. This year’s discussions tackle change management, technology and start-ups, data-driving decision-making, cutting-edge tools for ebook production and much more.

As Shatzkin put it, “there are still existential challenges that are unsolved conundrums,” not least Amazon’s growing market share, the ongoing rise of self-publishing and the decline of retail shelf space. But with those challenges come new opportunities, Shatzkin said. “The purpose of our event is to provide the information and insight publishers need to overcome the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities of the digital transformation.”

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