By Vinutha Mallya
This is the second half of our our coverage of GLOBALOCAL 2014, the annual “forum for content,” organized by the German Book Office, New Delhi, and the Frankfurt Book Fair, was in its fifth edition this year, held on 13 and 14 February in New Delhi. [Read Part 1 of our coverage GLOBALOCAL 2014.]
GLOBALOCAL, a “forum for content,” brought together CEOs, professionals and experts from different parts of the content spectrum. The forum included a mix of roundtables, training sessions on rights and licenses, business matchmakings, keynote presentations, and networking breaks.
Innovation and Marketing
The workshops and presentations spread over the two days were popular with the audience.
In the workshop on “Innovating Start-ups,” conducted by Marlies Hebler, content head, Textunes GmbH, Germany, and by R Sriram, co-founder, Next Practice Retail, India, participants were coached on creating a unique business plan. “In business, you have to be as specific as possible,” they said. “The clearer you are the better the solution.”
The workshop on “Marketing for the Future” addressed new market models and ideas for publishing, creative marketing techniques, and innovative transmedia content strategies. It was conducted by Sangram Surve, CEO, Think WhyNot, a Mumbai-based branding and communications company. Surve spoke of finding a distinctive marketing hook for each book and to never underestimate the value of content.
Presenting his company, Nizam Ahmed of Study eBuddy, an educational ebookstore, said, “the future of education is online”. Kaushik Sampath of publishing services company, Qbend, said in his presentation, “Digital sales are inherently different from print sales. The question you should ask is, ‘how do I create content to reach different devices?’”
Speaking to me later, Vishal Anand, from NewsHunt, a mobile application provider for news in Indian languages, said, “I got to hear first-hand the challenges faced in technology and distribution. An event like this was perfect in getting feedback from a wide variety of publishers.” Bangalore-based NewsHunt, which set out to solve the need for Indian language news on mobile phones, is now venturing into making the application available for ebooks in Indian languages.
Linda Tan Lingard made a presentation on the growing Southeast Asian market. She spoke of the “missing stories” of Southeast Asia. The region has a rich tradition of storytelling, she said, “but it isn’t being heard”. Reminding publishers of their role, she urged them to create a space to encourage unusual, innovative content which would “surprise and delight readers.”
When asked what was her takeaway from GLOBALOCAL 2014, Campfire’s Sahadi Sharma said, “This was Campfire’s first attendance at the GLOBALOCAL conference and while we have made a lot of headway in the US and European markets, the potential exposure to South East Asia was a massive takeaway for us.”
In her keynote presentation, HP’s Winnie Hung said, “Content Is King, but Not Inventory.” She pointed to the new printing technologies, including short-run digital printing and print-on-demand, and how they can be used for better inventory management. “Cash trapped in inventory can’t be spent on acquiring new content,” she said, adding that new strategies that pinpoint customized print runs for different books are the key to the future. She illustrated by example how short-run was a viable option, especially for mid-list and backlist titles, and how print-on-demand could allow the backlist to become a revenue driver again. The examples were useful for the small and medium sized publishers, many of whom have not yet explored these options.
The runaway hit at GLOBALOCAL was the Business-to-Business Matchmaking sessions — customized meetings to facilitate business opportunities. Following the speed-dating format, participants were fixed up to meet for a 10-minute slot. They then had to move to the next meeting. Several new connections were made, and new leads gained.
For IPR License’s Chalmers, this was the most useful of all activities in the two-day event. “I usually enter these processes with a cynical mind, but I was happily surprised—most people I met were relevant to our business and within a week we have already signed up several new members for IPR License.”
According to Campfire’s Sharma, “The B2B matchmakings and the presentation on ‘Marketing For the Future’ were the real highlights.”
Friederike Barakat, foreign rights director, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, said, “I am learning a lot about Indian publishing through these interactions. We know so little about how the publishing industry is structured in India.”
For Lingard, “The B2B matchmaking was not only good but fun. The GLOBALOCAL team did a good job matchmaking different people… And everyone was so keen to match or introduce another person once they knew your areas of interest.”
The Experts Table, newly introduction to the program this year, helped participants discuss their queries and get ideas from experts like Lynette Owen, Marlies Hebler and R Sriram.
Sahil Gupta, director of V&S Publishers, an independent publishing house in New Delhi, told me later, “There is a need in the publishing industry for professional development. Such events help in getting educated about publishing.”
Vinutha Mallya is the founder of Linespace, an independent publishing consultancy. An editor and journalist, she is a contributing editor to Publishing Perspectives and publisher of Booksy,in. Follow her on Twitter @VinuthaMallya