Are Conferences Creating a De-facto E-book Elite?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

TOC Audience

In our lead story today, I write about the proliferation of e-book and digital publishing conferences. There are at least five focused on digital publishing and e-books coming up in the next five months, in addition to three shows in the last three months. (Photo by James Duncan Davidson)

The expense, not to mention the time one needs to take off work, is not insignificant. For small publishers, start-ups and others who may not have the corporate sponsorship to enable them to attend ┬áthe events, it’s unlikely they’d be able to attend multiple events over the course of a year.

The question is if digital publishing is promising democratization of the book business by lowering barriers to production and distribution, do conferences inadvertently create an elite by creating what amounts to a pay-wall around best-practices? Are those who cannot afford the best education being put in a disadvantageous position, one that will allow those who can afford to pay-to-play to co-opt the distribution channel for themselves?

Or, does the changing environment require those who can afford to innovate to do so and take the lead? Is this a case where if the investments in time and education aren’t made by the top companies in the industry things will remain stagnant, as they had until a few years ago?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or via Twitter using hashtag #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.