The FutureBook Conference has become one of The Bookseller’s leading events. This year we celebrate its fifth birthday, and this has allowed us to both celebrate how it has become an integral part of the book business’ digital transformation and also look to its future.
The first thing to say about this year’s FutureBook is that it has become more than a single event. We felt very strongly that there are so many dimensions to modern publishing, and so many groups who have a stake in the future of it, that one single conference just wasn’t enough. We needed to do more and set our sights higher. What we have created is a week of events leading up to the main conference on Friday 4th December. Collectively, we hope they do that essential job of setting out what is happening in today’s modern book trade, what might happen and then plotting the steps to delivering that sustainable, fulfilling, profitable, future. We want you to leave FutureBook with a spring in your step, a sense of purpose and a to do list burning a hole in your iPad.
On Monday 30th November, we will run the inaugural Author Day. Porter Anderson, who hosts the incredibly vibrant online #futurechat on Futurebook has put this together. We aim to dissolve the gap between traditional and self publishing and focus instead on how the respective strengths of both ‘sides’ can be identified and shared. From that we want a series of plans to emerge that moves authors, and the book trade as a whole, from debate to action. Key points from Author Day will be presented at FutureBook later in the week.
We are delighted that Frankfurt Book Fair has been such a dynamic partner of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars programme – the alumni contribute so much to publishing’s future, and during the week of FutureBook, we will have a reception for all of them.
It is very important to the book trade that FutureBook tackles the major issues we face, promotes informed debate and plots a path to new opportunities. But there’s an awful lot of technical ‘doing’ that has to happen before those products gain traction. There’s no point talking about discovery if you don’t have someone looking at meta data. That’s where BIC – Book Industry Communication – comes in and they will be hosting a BIC Breakfast Seminar during the week to support those doing the heavy lifting.
But, of course, it is FutureBook itself – Europe’s biggest digital-led conference – that dominates the week. We are very excited about it. We have some of the biggest hitters in UK publishing, tech companies and speakers outside of publishing to challenge established views and a format that allows for far more interaction than before, and we have the annual FutureBook Awards. We have completely shaken up how we look at start-ups with a new BookTech showcase, curated by the journalist Molly Flatt, and new interactive ‘book hack’ led by Peter Meyers. For more on this, check out The Bookseller’s digital blog FutureBook, or the dedicated conference website.