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What to expect from the new Digital Book World

19 October 2017

As background information, the Digital Book World Conference has been sold to Score Publishing. This post is written by the CEO of Score.

From Talking New Media:

We live in a world where everyone individually, and every organization collectively, is a publisher. Whether it’s full-blown books, or case studies and white papers, or long-form content on the web, audio content like audiobooks and podcasts, multi-modal content like interactive books and mixed-media works, and much more. We’re a publisher nation.

Digital Book World has a rich legacy of influence and impact. We will be making a variety of changes that will seek to build on this foundation of success.

In the weeks and months to come, we will be reaching out far and wide to partner with anyone and everyone we believe has value to the vast community of publishers. Expect to see some surprising and valuable alliances as we re-tool DBW.

. . . .

Publishers right now are trying to decipher how best to bring existing content into a world where people interact with computers with their voice first, and keyboards and screens second. Amidst a raft of technologies impacting old media and new media which we’ll explore at Digital Book World, this sea change to voice computing – yes, led by Amazon – will sit front and center.

Link to the rest at Talking New Media

PG has attended an enormous number of conferences and conventions, including many gatherings of lawyers and technology folk.

He has received valuable information from the legal gatherings although most of his continuing legal education these days is online, usually in the form of recorded talks by lawyers and panel discussions of lawyers provided at various physical conferences and gatherings. Speakers are almost universally comprised of a few highly-specialized attorneys. Some of these sessions are provided entirely online with no associated physical gathering.

Depending upon the technology, there is often a lot more show instead of just telling at technology conferences. For example the Adobe MAX conference, sponsored by the creators of Photoshop, Lightroom and a zillion other products focused on visual creativity is happening right now.

Suffice to say, the visuals at the Adobe conference are more interesting than a table with a white tablecloth behind which a few men and women in business dress are sitting, which is the typical visual element at virtually all lawyers’ conferences. 99% of Powerpoint presentations in such settings are boring and the rest have goofy animations, transitions, etc., that a 14-year-old could improve.

However, major keynotes and new product announcements – typically the biggest draws at a tech conference – are usually streamed live and recorded for later viewing at no cost. For PG’s level of engagement with Adobe, those provide all the information he might be seeking plus much more without attending the conference.

PG has attended a handful of conferences for authors/publishers and, based on that limited experience, suggests that these conferences are visually and structurally, very similar to legal conferences (and even worse than some legal conferences). He hasn’t seen anything like the show Adobe presents.

The reason that the Digital Book World conference has been sold by its prior owner is that conference attendance fees plus fees charged to vendors to set up booths, tables, etc., don’t cover the costs of putting on a conference. PG won’t bore you with the details, but costs are substantial, particularly if the conference takes place in a serious conference setting like San Francisco, New York or Las Vegas.

Most of the revenue a conference like Digital Book World will receive likely comes from attendees who aren’t paying their own way, like publishing executives and employees, plus the afore-mentioned vendors who want to sell products and services to publishers and, to a lesser extent, authors.

What the sale of Digital Book World tells PG is that the complacency of traditional publishers toward ebook sales means those publishers have less interest in cool new ebook technology. At a fundamental level, a publisher needs to convert an electronic manuscript into an ebook and send the resulting file to Amazon, Apple, etc. That conversion probably takes place at the same time the physical books are typeset and is a low-cost offshoot of that operation. That’s pretty much the end of modern digital technology in their operations.

The idea that large publishers would be interested in cool new types of ebooks supported by innovative tech was always a long-shot. Remember, publishers are run mostly by English majors and accountants. Any tech innovators who might have mistakenly believed they had a potential career bringing publishers into the digital age have left for greener pastures by now.

PG says a technology conference for traditional publishing is on about the same level as a technology conference for beekeepers.

 

Disruptive Innovation

20 Comments to “What to expect from the new Digital Book World”

  1. Publishers right now are trying to decipher how best to bring existing content into a world where people interact with computers with their voice first, and keyboards and screens second.

    I can’t get rid of the notion that people who talk about “content” don’t know what they are talking about. Reminds me of the way “proactive” swept the business world a few years back.

    I have visions of a PowerPoint slide titled, “Proactive Initiative for Leveraging Content.”

    • Come one, one more…. just need one more for Buzzword Bingo…

      • I believe the talk’s actual complete title was “Proactive Best Practices Initiative for Leveraging Mission-Critical Holistic Content in Disrupting the New Normal of Synergy Between Stakeholders across the Sea Change of the Entitled Next Generation’s Sustainability Mindshare Paradigm.”

        • Does this talk facilitate dialogue with your customer-focused mission statement and core values, and strategize about scalable benchmarks for market penetration?

  2. “PG says a technology conference for traditional publishing is on about the same level as a technology conference for beekeepers.”

    I think you’re doing a disservice to beekeepers. 😛

    Just as farming has become computerized to get the most crop out of the ground, some beekeepers have been turning to computer modelling to know where – and when – they should place their bees.

    As for trad-pub, they have to do all the steps of the ebook to make the paper books. To then not use the ebook to make sales is like throwing out the clean water before bathing the baby.

    • Sorry to insult beekeepers, A.

    • I think you’re doing a disservice to beekeepers.

      I think so, too.

      There has been at least one substantial advance in honey harvesting tech in the last ten years.

      • Thank you for that link. I’ve wanted to try beekeeping for a long time, but the honey extraction looked like it would be too much for me. The Flow system definitely looks like it solves that problem. Beekeeping might be possible for me after all!

    • My acquaintance beekeeper is also very into biotechnology. Always looking for new ways to keep critters (from microscopic to brown bear size) from bothering his capital resource.

      Although he probably attends about as many conferences in person as PG does.

  3. I got a distinct “dog catches car” vibe from all this…

    we will be reaching out far and wide to partner with anyone and everyone

    It’s Digital Book World, yes?

    We will leverage our VoiceFirst.FM media network, […] to provide rich technological expertise in the realm of voice-first computing to the programming lineup.

    a world where people interact with computers with their voice first, and keyboards and screens second.

    this sea change to voice computing – yes, led by Amazon – will sit front and center.

    Mmmm. Keep me posted on how all that works out for you…

    • Next we’ll hear that they’re teaming up with ASI to better serve those writers.

    • Im not understanding. Dave Mich canyou expalin to me this: “We will leverage our VoiceFirst.FM media network, […] to provide rich technological expertise in the realm of voice-first computing to the programming lineup.

      a world where people interact with computers with their voice first, and keyboards and screens second.

      this sea change to voice computing – yes, led by Amazon – will sit front and center.”

      What does THIS mean? What is voice first computing?
      They mean like Dragon Speaking, or?

      Thanks

      • I puzzled over that for a minute, but with the “Amazon” hint realized they meant Alexa/Echo, Siri, and Google Home.

        • Oh, so not exactly like Star Trek. I was wondering if they were anticipating the day when our computers would talk to us in Majel Barret’s voice. Alexa and Siri are a step in that direction, though.

          • I think eventually like Star Trek, but I think that will be a while coming. At least, I hope so. While I have an Echo, there are lots of times when I don’t want someone–human or AI–yammering at me. Nice, quiet typing works fine. 🙂

  4. Digital Book World has a rich legacy of influence and impact. We will be making a variety of changes that will seek to build on this foundation of success.

    Translation: Digital Book World has a rich legacy of influence and impact. So we’re gonna screw that up.

  5. Smart Debut Author

    About Digital Book World’s “rich legacy of influence and impact”?

    *crickets*

    Yeah. It’s weird, but I couldn’t think of anything, either.

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