Editorial from Frankfurt: Collaborate! Innovate! Evolve! Create!

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief

Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief, Publishing Perspectives

Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief, Publishing Perspectives

As noted in yesterday’s editorial, recent publishing history seems to have been rife with conflict, much of it fomented by digitization: Amazon vs. everyone, print vs. digital, traditional vs. self-publishing, books vs. all other media.

Maybe it was our digital immaturity that led us to see everything as a win/lose, zero-sum game? That led us to believe creative content was like natural selection, the stronger inevitably eliminating the weaker. It was, some of us told ourselves, a revolution.

Maybe now, after years of our “digital revolution” we’ve finally gotten a little, well, perspective and matured enough to see it as evolution. And to evolve, you need to innovate.

If there’s an emerging theme of this year’s fair, it might be summed up as “collaborate!” and “innovate!”

Business Club CONTEC conference “wake-up” call speaker, the orchestra conductor Kristjan Järvi, spoke of innovation in scoring films: for the Netflix-produced sci-fi saga Sense8, directed by the Wachowski siblings (of The Matrix fame), Järvi said “the music has been recorded in advance and the actors are actually hearing the music as they perform.” Instead of it being part of the post-production. “So,” he added, “In a sense, we are conducting the actors.”

Such creative thinking is not alien to the publishing industry either.

In what might look like an unexpected move, Finland’s Rovio has moved beyond reiterating its globe-dominating Angry Bird’s game franchise to partner with Worldreader, the company that brings digital books to impoverished readers in emerging markets, to distribute it’s new Stella series of books aimed at empowering girls.

Is that something you would expect? Perhaps not?

And Samsung, a company that appeared to neglect books for years (ceding the territory to Apple, Amazon and Google) is now the Fair’s “Innovation Partner” and openly searching for new content collaborators capable of offering immersive, interactive experiences for their 200 million-plus customers on their platform.

Two hundred million-plus potential customers for authors, producers, publishers, creative professionals. Now, that’s got to be enough to stimulate some creative thinking.

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.