By Karina Mikhli
E-books for Everyone Else was the name of the Publishers Launch Conference, co-presented with NYU’s Center of Publishing, that I attended on September 26th. You can check out the program at http://www.publisherslaunch.com/events/launch-new-york/program/.
I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The room was crowded (and unfortunately freezing) and presentations ran the gamut from workflow to conversion to metadata to social media to distribution: something for everyone in the audience. They also tried a publishing version of “speed dating.” Registrants were asked to pick the top three sponsors they wanted to learn more about and got about 15 minutes with each. Mike Shatzkin would announce when it was time to move to your next speed date. I know that the sponsors I sat with had a blast and participants seemed to find it worthwhile as well.
So with an entire day of people speaking at me or with me, these are the things that stick out in my mind when I think back at the event:
- Thank the Lord quality control is being stressed. I’m embarrassed for our industry as a whole when I hear people complain about the crap e-book they bought. Not everything can be, or should be, automated and someone must look at the content–in each device to be used–before it’s released to the public.
- Metadata is more important than ever in the digital world.
- Publishers still need to decide what to outsource and what to do themselves; the two big outsourcing options in the e-book world are conversion and distribution.
- With agents becoming publishers, and new digital and self-publishing options being introduced weekly, the traditional publishing lines are beyond blurred and it will be interesting to see what new relationships and business models evolve.
- Although we still don’t have many answers regarding the future of publishing and e-books, we at least have more documented and thought-out options to better advise our decisions.
- With the new digital and self-publishing options, more books will be available than ever before.
Depending on your point of view, the above is either scary or exciting, but the one thing we can’t argue is that publishing is far from dead. You can argue about the definition of publishing (or the what or who of publishing), but the industry is alive and kicking, bringing in fresh talent and being discussed by non-publishing people on a regular basis.
And more people reading and interested in publishing is definitely a good thing.
Karina Mikhli is a publishing executive with a Master’s in Publishing and over ten years of experience in different sectors of the industry. Her expertise is in managing editorial, production operations, and process management.