By Emily Williams
After e-books were explicitly excluded from the Madrid Book Fair this past June, two of Spain’s technological innovators responded by joining forces to organize the country’s first e-book fair. Bubok, an e-book and POD publisher and retailer, and e-Cultura, a consulting company and think tank that combines culture with cutting-edge technology, have announced the creation of the first Feria del Libro Digital, set to take place November 17, 18, and 19 in Madrid.
The fair has teamed up with FICOD, Madrid’s annual International Forum on Digital Content, and is expected to serve the interests of both professionals and consumers. Exhibits and displays will be set up to allow the general public to experiment with new e-book technology and products, along with talks and workshops where book industry and tech types can meet, mingle and exchange ideas.
Participants announced so far include e-book distributor Leer-e, the collaborative book community Soopbook, Catalan ebook vendor Grupo Dosdoce, and academic online portal Liceus. The interactive space will allow visitors to experiment with self-publishing an e-book, offer suggestions for improving the reading experience on e-readers, and participate in the creation of a book that will be published after the fair. There will also be a display where parents can collaborate with their children to create an instant picture book.
The timing of the fair anticipates the first e=book explosion in Spain, with e-readers already beginning to proliferate and the big three publishers planning their large scale introduction of e-books for 2010. Fair organizers hope the Fair will encourage the development of sustainable business models across the value chain—from authors to agents to publishers to distributors to booksellers to readers—as the industry takes its first steps into the digital transition.