Germany’s Bookwire Stages ‘Shaping the Future of Digital Books’

In Feature Articles by Publishing Perspectives Staff

Sponsored: On September 13, Bookwire’s ‘All About Multi-Format Publishing’ program will look at digital publishing developments.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: Blackzheep

Publishing Perspectives Staff Report

Klingelhöfer: “Being ‘Format Agnostic’
The “All About” series of promotional programs from Frankfurt-based Bookwire began in February 2020, and since then have attracted 3,098 participants in 38 countries across five events. The sixth and newest event, on September 13, has a specific focus on developments in digital publishing and is titled “All About Multi-Format Publishing: Shaping the Future of Digital Books.”

The program may be particularly handy for publishing professionals in the United States, running during the North American afternoon hours. Our European readers will want to take careful note of these hours because they’re a departure from the time frame normally used for Bookwire’s “All About” presentations.

The program on September 13 begins at 3 p.m. Central Time (CT/Chicago) in the United States. That’s 4 p.m. Eastern Time (ET/New York) and 10 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST/Frankfurt).

Registration, free of charge, is open now. The program will be recorded for those who have time conflicts or are in time zones that don’t work as well with the live stream.

Klingelhöfer will make keynote comments early in the program, and in talking about the intent behind the agenda, Bookwire’s co-founding CEO Jens Klingelhöfer emphasizes to Publishing Perspectives “how important it is for publishers to deal and work with all formats, being ‘format agnostic.’ “We also,” he says, “want to give an update on current tech trends that we can see.

“We’ll take a look at consumer behavior, how ebook and audiobook adoption has developed in the past years. We’ll talk about workflows: standardizing workflows to efficiently work with multiple book formats from print to ebook to audiobook.

“This is about Onix workflows,” Klingelhöfer says, “metadata standardization, missing APIs, to-be-modernized data flows–and Brian O’Leary” of the United States’ BISG “will have a lot to say here.

“We’ll take a look at the successful co-existence of different digital consumption models in a panel discussion. The audiobook business in Europe is an interesting example, as opposed to the ALC-centric US market,” Klingelhöfer says.

“And we’ll also give an overview of how the current artificial intelligence tech wave will impact digital publishing, upcoming AI-generated content masses, and AI-narrated production of audiobooks: where we need to pay attention as publishers for the coming years.”

Agenda and Speakers

Remember, in a departure from the norm on these programs, the times are keyed on US Central Time, one hour behind New York, five hours behind GMT, and seven hours behind Central European Summer Time.

Brittyne Lewis

3 p.m. CT (4 p.m. ET / 20:00 GMT / 22:00 CEST)
Brittyne Lewis, Bookwire’s US country manager

Lewis, who began her association with Bookwire at the beginning of this year, previously has worked with Lakeside Book Company and Libre Digital in Austin, Texas; and with RR Donnelley & Sons in Bolingbrook, Illinois.

Bookwire now has interests in Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Brazil, and Mexico.

Jens Klingelhöfer

Keynote:Charting the Course: The State of Audiobook and Ebook Publishing
3:15 p.m. CT (4:15 p.m. ET / 20:15 GMT / 22:15 CEST)
Jens Klingelhöfer, Bookwire co-founding CEO

Klingelhöfer, familiar to Publishing Perspectives readers, of course, has worked as a media designer and had 10 years in the music industry–including as managing director of MFM Entertainment–before he co-founded Bookwire with John Ruhrmann.

Kristen McLean

Trends in Multi-Format Publishing in the United States
3:45 p.m. CT (4:45 p.m. ET / 20:45 GMT / 22:45 CEST)
Kristen McLean, executive director of business development, and industry analyst with Circana BookScan

While McLean is an industry analyst well known to our international readership, some may know her as working with NPD–which was renamed Circana in March, as a result of merger between IRI and NPD.

Publishing Perspectives checked in with McLean to see how she’ll approach her comments on September 13 in Bookwire’s program. “I’m going to very briefly give the state of the overall US market,” she says. “Then I’m going to look at format share–physical print and audio, ebooks, digital audiobooks–for the smaller subset of publishers that report audio data to us, including in the three formats since 2019, and how format share breaks out across the super-categories, adult fiction, adult nonfiction, and so on.”

McLean says she also plans to offer “some insights into the types of categories where we’re seeing audio significantly over-performing. And I’ll finish with the biggest questions I have about audio,” she says, “having to do with where is the ceiling for listening vs. reading, and what effect AI might have on the business model.”

Brian O’Leary

Synchronizing Workflows: Overcoming Publishing Challenges
4:25 p.m. CT (5:25 p.m. ET / 21:25 GMT / 23:25 a.m. CEST)
Brian O’Leary, executive director, Book Industry Study Group (BISG)

One of the many things that the American industry has benefitted from in the work of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) headed by Brian O’Leary has been a framework for studying publishing workflows, the subject of a very well-received special report called “Fixing the Flux: Challenges and Opportunities in Publishing Workflows.”

In a message to Publishing Perspectives, O’Leary has shared what he feels may be four takeaways from his talk on September 13–key points he’ll be highlighting as part of Bookwire’s program. Quoting O’Leary here:

  • “Simultaneous or near-simultaneous publication across multiple formats–print, ebook, audiobook–has been the norm for a decade or more; publisher workflows have been catching up over that time.
  • “There is significant value in approaches that are the publishing equivalent of  ‘write once, read many’ across multiple formats. Hachette was an early leader in this regard.
  • “More work needs to be done to develop workflows that support simultaneous publication across multiple formats. That’s one of the reasons we recognized Hederis, which offers solutions in this area, as BISG’s Industry Innovator this year.
  • “The situation will continue to evolve beyond the current popular formats, adding complexity that can be addressed by simplifying workflow to support creation of the content readers are looking for.”

Thad McIlroy

The Future of Publishing: The Potential of AI in Publishing
5:05 p.m. CT (6:05 p.m. ET / 22:05 GMT / 00:05 CEST September 14)
Thad McIlroy, publishing consultant, Publishing Technology Partners

Thad McIlroy’s contribution to the program is to be a 40-minute overview of ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms “are reshaping content creation, curation, and distribution strategies.”

And that presentation then is to be followed by a discussion among the speakers.

Greg Voynow

Unlocking Publishing Success: Aligning Data, Strategy, and Workflows
5:45 p.m. CT (6:45 p.m. ET / 22:45 GMT / 00:45 CEST September 14)

This closing panel discussion is to include the previous speakers, with the addition of Scribd’s Greg Voynow.

More about the program is here, and registration (free of charge) is available here.

More on Bookwire is here, more on its base market in Germany is here, more on the United States’ market is here, more on ebooks is here, more on audiobooks in international publishing is here, more on industry statistics is here, and more on artificial intelligence is here.

Publishing Perspectives is a media partner with Bookwire’s presentations.

About the Author

Publishing Perspectives Staff

Special reports by Publishing Perspectives staff highlight news, announcements, and thought leadership from this publication's partners, advertisers, and sponsors.