FutureBook Literally Seeing the Future

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I talked about the FutureBook conference happening in London, well it kicked it off today!

With its launch I hope anyone who has any interest in the publishing industry has been following its progress on Twitter through #fbook13.

I really wish I could be there and reading the constant flow of tweets, that are currently trending, the atmosphere sounds fantastical. It is a publishing hotspot where all the big and small names come together in one place to discuss how, this once static industry, has to adapt and change for the new digital age.

Publishers are now facing the issue of integrating digital into publishing face on. There is not a hint of disparity or negativity as experiences are shared to create a greater advance on the publishing industry.

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This conference is the stepping stone for publishers to begin experimenting with new models such as libraries testing out e-loans. “Publishers need to think of ebooks as a service not as a commodity” @Inspiredjobs on #fbook13

This sounds like a fantastic idea as libraries are able to receive more information on what books you’ve loaned out, your postcode, if you prefer ebooks to print and what you’re likely to loan again. With this information available we will be able to understand the book market more thoroughly and who is out there reading.

It is becoming clear that perhaps publishers have been too afraid to grab hold of the digitization of the industry for fear of losing the print book completely. Instead it has enhanced the greater need for community in order to keep an interest and fan base for the stories that we all love. This idea was thoroughly stressed by Pottermore’s CEO Susan Jurevics who says that:

“Community is organisation, transaction, emotion”.

Now of course Pottermore was always going to be largely successful due to the success of the books, but that does not mean that they took the idea of ‘community’ seriously? The treasure mapping advertising they used was genius and they remain true to the fans. It is a precedent to aspire to.

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The great thing about the conference is that it is really challenging our mindset on what we think publishing is about. Such as Ian Ellard who commented:

“Not sure about ‘consumers joining in our conversation’. It’s the other way around isn’t it?”

Which is exactly as it should be, we need to do more than work off a hunch. There is technology now that allows us to understand what readers and fans alike want from their stories; whether they want more interactivity within the actual story or if they want more opportunities to interact with it outside of the book. We cannot fully answer any of these questions, yet, but the bridges for innovation are being built and will hopefully grow more at the New York’s Publishing Business Conference and Expo.

The FutureBook conference is still going with more debates and a mixture of Tweets that agree and disagree with speakers. So go be involved!

But no matter how this conference goes I believe that Futurebook’s message was summed up in its entirety by Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins UK,

“Publishers must embrace change”

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