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DBW Response To Forbes' Kickstarter Article: Some Thoughts On Expensive Conferences

I admire so much about Kickstarter's business. They have turned financing of projects on its head, making it far easier to conceive, create, and execute on creative projects than has ever before been possible. Their work with publishing, and the very idea they would have a Director of Publishing at all, is fascinating and led Digital Book World down the path of getting the dynamic Margot Atwell on this fall's program. Obviously, we're fans of hers. (Margot Atwell also has an excellent publishing newsletter, called On The Books)

Within her piece for Forbes, publishing conferences were brought up, and specifically, their cost, and the implication is made that cost creates inaccessibility. While Digital Book World wasn't named specifically, it's a great time to talk about the subject of conference pricing and how we think about it.

Digital Book World is an expensive conference to attend. Not necessarily any more expensive than many other conferences in other sectors, but still, in absolute terms, quite expensive.

It is our singular goal to make it exponentially more expensive to NOT attend.

We're well en route to selling out Digital Book World 2019. Domestic registrations are up, international registrations are way up, and we've enjoyed positive recognition in the marketplace that this conference hasn't had in years. We are grateful for our attendees, sponsors, speakers, and partners, the ranks all of which are growing every week.

We cherish the responsibility this success has created for us to provide access to DBW for underprivileged and disadvantaged people. We did it from the start. And this effort will only grow.

We provide special pricing through our partners IBPA and ALLi, along with some other local and regional partners. This pricing is critical to ensuring smaller publishers and aspiring publishers can participate, learn, and be part of the DBW community.

We provide special pricing as well to educators, students, and non-profits (and these promo codes and discounts are publicly available on our Eventbrite registration page, within the FAQ). These groups are all important for the health and vibrancy of Digital Book World, both within the short term and the long term.

We provide volunteer opportunities to anyone who asks. We simply do not say no when people come to us needing help attending the event - we find a way. We know access to a conference like DBW can change someone's life - providing new perspective, providing new friends and connections, and providing new technologies and tools that all collectively act as a force multiplier for one's career, whether in a huge publisher or toiling as a publisher of one.

A well-run annual conference has the profound power to make life's journey seem a little less isolated - a little less lonely - whether in trade publishing, scholarly publishing, or corporate publishing. We take the necessity of opening that world to others extremely seriously.

We construct our conference program in a way which publicly demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion. We rarely talk about it - we just do it.

And when we make mistakes, we correct them, and we value our partners every step of the way.

Take the time to learn about Margot Atwell. She's doing incredible work. And then come say hello to her and hear what will undoubtedly be an inspired session she leads at DBW 2019 this fall.

We hope the next time someone decries expensive conferences, Digital Book World might get mentioned as one that just happens to be worth every penny, not just for the experience provided, but for the contributions made to creating a community worth being part of.

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