"New business models", "responding to customer needs", "DRM", "Outsourcing" - not phrases from yesterday's very stimulating #FutureBook Conference. I talked about them in my presentation at 'e-Pub@ London Book Fair' in March 2004. But although change may not rapid, it is definitely happening now - that was the clear impression from yesterday's conference which was full of creative thinking.
So here are my 10 key takeaways' from the FutureBook conference, most of which stem from the fact that for trade publishers in the digital world, the customer is the reader, not the retailer. When reading, bear in mind that a lot of this focuses on trade publishing and the shift from 'B2B' to 'B2C'. That said, many of the points apply to other sectors of publishing industry.
- The key question for publishers to ask themselves is: "How can we be of most value and use in the conversation between writers and readers?" (Stephen Page, ceo., Faber and Faber @stephenpub).
- Publishers need to focus on building brands, with multiple products across every platform. (Charlie Redmayne, c.e.o., Pottermore). (Sounds more like the entertainment business than publishing? You bet it does!).
- 'One size fits all pricing' is dead. (Nicholas Lovell, founder, Games Brief @nicholaslovell).
- Whilst the big online distributors build vertical distribution models - cloud storage > device > purchase and payment - it's still the publishers move - content is king. (But don't hang around too long to figure out the move!).
- As we transition from print to digital + print, we are caught between the print world of territoriality and the online world where world language rights will be the norm. Managing that transition effectively - and perhaps treating print and digital differently - is essential.
- As the next three points show, understanding the relationship and interaction between technology and content is key to the future of publishing....
- Google's change to its search ranking algorithm - 'Panda' - reduces the importance of in-bound links and increases that of site content. So, once again, 'Content is King'.
- For the right market (e.g. education), creating a developer ecosystem by allowing developers access via API to a publisher's content is the way to build the market. (That was illustrated by Diana Stepner, head of future technologies, Pearson - @dianas).
- Publishing online requires an agile and iterative approach to product development, based on user needs. (Sounds like the software industry? You bet it does!).
- That leads to another point - we have to accept that the price for innovation is accepting failure (but not to repeat the same mistakes!).
In my next post, I'll reflect on how this all impacts from the legal angle.
Have a good week