Spain: Madrid’s 11th Readmagine: ‘In an Age of Anxiety’

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The 2024 edition of Readmagine in Madrid is set to examine publishing issues like pricing, business models, and market-specific insights.

An audio discussion at Readmagine 2023. Image: FGSR

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Amplifying Human Creativity’
The 11th annual Readmagine‘s topical subtitle—Publishing as an Amplifier of Human Creativity—may turn out to be a gauntlet suitable for throwing down.

This invitational gathering of publishing professionals at Madrid’s Casa del Lector complex always is centered around a high regard for innovation and a restless search for a new idea. The next observation, conceptualization, or opinion you hear there may just be suitable for framing the book business’ contemporary challenges.

But the phrase arrives in 2024 during a moment of curious and antsy hesitation.

Luis González

During the March evocation of London Book Fair, many trade visitors remarked on a sort of free-floating agitation, a sense of frenetic energy that was still being discussed—and felt—at the next big trade show of the year, Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Indeed, even at the United Arab Emirates‘ major springtime events—Sharjah’s Booksellers Conference and Children’s Reading Festival and Abu Dhabi’s International Book Fair and “Congress PCI“—this undercurrent of tension persisted (hardly eased by the fact that the two emirates somehow mounted their events on the same dates this year).

José Manuel Anta

This notion of a nervous strum just outside human hearing range is part of what has given rise to the keynote group conversation on the morning of May 29. It’s titled, with admirable frankness, Publishing in an Age of Anxiety.

Luis González—the director-general of the hosting body, the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, with FANDE/IPDA managing director José Manuel Anta—invited several speakers to a preparatory conversation with Publishing Perspectives.

MIchael Tamblyn

Michael Tamblyn of Rakuten Kobo touched on how “Some publishers can feel that disequilibrium floating out there” simply on a point of market pricing when the cost of books is compared to that of other media and entertainment products. “You can still buy one book for £24. And that’s half of what you pay for all the streaming video you could possibly want in a month.”

Richard Charkin of Mensch Publishing pointed out that during the pandemic, “when children’s books were doing really well, literacy actually fell,” according to some reports.

Richard Charkin

“There’s a serious deficit, I think, in the next generation of a potential deficit in reading—indeed regarding books not only as entertainment, but a source of information.”

Authors Equity CEO Madeline McIntosh joins in to look at what “author centricity” can mean for the industry, which still is coming up to speed on the approach that she and her co-founders are working on.

Madeline McIntosh

Here today (May 14) is a quick look at the Readmagine agenda ahead, and we’re exposing to you only hints of what will be onstage in the Spanish capital at Readmagine. This unique conference is always longer on talk than TED and inevitably a welcome cool-down from the road-burn of the spring’s annual frenzy of international industry events.

And take heart. The Readmagine logo, in case you  haven’t noticed, changes slightly each year, thanks to a certain organizer who’s good at taking the book business’ pulse. This year, note that the M of the -magine part of the word Readmagine has righted itself. It stands straight (normally it’s on a tilt), forming a diamond of its own amid the Scrabble tiles on each side of it.

Maybe that’s a good sign that we can get past the bookish palpitations of earlier 2024 and on to something more stable as the year—along with the rest of us—matures.

Readmagine 2024: May 29

Afternoon workshops and the May 31 morning events organized by Bookwire are presentations offered by sponsors.

At Readmagine 2023. Image: FGSR

9:15 – 9:20 a.m.: Presentation of Readmagine 24

  • Luis González (director at FGSR)
  • José Manuel Anta (director at FANDE/IPDA)

9:20 – 9:50 a.m.: Publishing’s New ‘Writer-Centric Mode’: Authors Equity

  • Madeline McIntosh (CEO at Authors Equity)
  • In conversation with Porter Anderson (editor-in-chief at Publishing Perspectives)

9:50 – 10:30 a.m.: Publishing in an Age of Anxiety

  • Madeline McIntosh (CEO at Authors Equity)
  • Michael Tamblyn (CEO at Rakuten Kobo)
  • Richard Charkin (founder of Mensch Publishing)
  • in conversation with Porter Anderson (editor-in-chief at Publishing Perspectives)

10:30 – 11:10 a.m.: New Digital Content Business Models

  • Jason Kelly (founder of Sounded)
  • Paula Gallejones (Head of Product at Mondia)
  • Moderated by Javier Celaya (CEO at DosDoce)

11:10 – 11:40 a.m. Coffee Break

11:40 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: About Educational Content

  • Karla Paniagua (CENTRO)
  • John Martin (chair at ILT Education)
  • Moderated by Marta Martínez (CEO at Grupo Anaya)

12:15 – 1 p.m.: Innovation in the Book Fair landscape

  • Eva Orúe (managing director at Madrid Book Fair)
  • Juergen Boos (president and CEO at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 16 to 20)
  • Piero Crocenzi (CEO at Salone del Libro de Torino)
  • Moderated by Marifé Boix (vice-president at Frankfurt Book Fair)

1 – 1:45 p.m.: EntreprenHers: Exploring the Role of Female Innovators in the Global Publishing Industry

1:45 p.m.Cocktail

Sandbox on Innovation: Workshops

3 p.m.: Social Reading With Immer & Club Lees

  • Niels ’t Hooft (co-founding CEO, Immer Reading System)

3:45 p.m.: CoreSource: Unlocking Global Distribution

  • Nick Coveney (Senior Key Account Manager Digital Services, Ingram Content Group)

4:30 p.m.: Building Inclusive Reading Experiences

  • Lars Wallin (product manager and founder, Colibrio)
Readmagine 2024: May 30

Beatrice Yonghin Lin speaks at the 2023 Readmagine. Image: FGSR

9:30 – 9:40 a.m.: Presentation of the #11IDDM

9:40 – 10:10 a.m.: Figures on the European Publishers Ecosystem

  • Enrico Turrin (deputy director at the Federation of European Publishers)

10:10 – 10:40 a.m.: The Book Market in 2024: Publishing Beyond Publishers

  • Rüdiger Wischenbart (Digital Consumer Book Barometer)

10:40 – 11:10 a.m.: Focus Market: Rethinking Brazil

  • Marcelo Gioia (Coordinator Tech Group at the Brazilian Book Chamber)

11:10 – 11:30 a.m. Coffee Break

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Data Management Challenges for Publishers

  • Andrew Rhomberg (founder of Jellybooks)
  • Michael Then (director of media and digital products at Weltbild)
  • Moderated by Raul Pérez (head of digital at Grupo Planeta)

12:15 – 1 p.m.: About Books Discoverability

  • Giorgia Russo (teacher of social media marketing at UEM Booksellers School)
  • Searsha Sadek (founder and chief product officer at Shimmr AI)
  • Moderated by Arantza Larrauri (managing director at Libranda DeMarque)

1 – 1:45 p.m.: Book eCommerce Platforms: An overview

  • Mark Thornton (senior partnership manager at UK)
  • Sakari Luovio (chief sales officer B2C at Adlibris)
  • Moderated by Carlo Carrenho (publishing advisor and analyst)

1:45 p.m. Cocktail

Sandbox on Innovation: Workshops

3 p.m.: The future of Peer-to-Peer Marketing

  • Camilla Riccadonna (leader of international social media campaigns, The Tandem Collective)
  • Aurora Paya (campaign manager,The Tandem Collective)

3:45 p.m.: Tech Tools for Publishers to Improve Book Selling

  • Javier del Puerto (senior manager of publisher relations and services with Bookwire Europe, Middle East, and Africa)
Readmagine 2024: May 31

The Federation of European Publishers’ Enrico Turrin’s economic review at the 2023 Readmagine in Madrid. Image: FGSR

9:30 – 9:40 a.m.: Introduction

  • Jens Klingelhöfer, cofounding CEO, Bookwire

9:40 – 10:20 a.m.: New Audiences and Where To Find Them

  • Edward Nawotka, senior international and bookselling editor at Publishers Weekly

10:20 – 10:30 a.m.Coffee Break

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: Innovation Through Content and Multiple Formats for Multiple Audiences

  • Raúl Pérez, head of digital (ebook and audiobook) at Grupo Planeta
  • Stephanie Simonin, audio business strategy IP and brand development at Bayard
  • Moderator:  Marco Ferrario, Bookwire Italy

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: New Audiences, New Readers, New Listeners: Keys to Reach and Engage Your Community

  • Rafa Luna, head of marketing and digital business at Editorial Anagrama
  • Danaé Tourrand-Viciana, editorial director of literature, essays and documents at Leduc Editions
  • Pietro Biancardi, publisher at Iperborea
  • Moderator: Mariana Féged, general manager of Spanish markets and Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Bookwire

12:30 – 12:45 p.m. Final conclusions and Closing

  • Jens Klingelhöfer, co-founding CEO of Bookwire

More on Readmagine’s 2024 program and further details can be found here.

See also: Bookwire Releases a View of Spanish-Language Digital Markets

More from Publishing Perspectives on digital publishing is here, more on Readmagine is here, more on the work of Luis González is here, more on the work of José Manuel Anta of FANDE/IPDA is here, more on world publishing conferences is here, and more on Spain’s publishing market is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.