So, er, you may have noticed: Friday is FutureBook day.
From 9am, our annual conference will be providing three glittering streams of content about the future of books and publishing to an unprecedentedly packed room of industry professionals. If you're going to be joining us in the room, congratulations - you're in for a serious treat. But if you can't make it, you'll still be able to catch some of the highlights through our Twitter feed and the live blog we'll be publishing on the conference site, with plenty of audio and video.
Whether you're attending IRL or digitally rubbernecking, do extend the debates by sharing your thoughts online using the hashtag #FutureBook16. We're also advance-crowdsourcing questions for two sessions now...
Crystal Mahey-Morgan's closing interview with Jamal Edwards MBE. This is a unique chance to get inside the mind of a young digital entrepreneur who created a global video brand from his bedroom. What do teenagers today really think about reading? What just doesn't work for millennials online? What's the DNA of a brilliant piece of addictive content? How does a truly grassroots, lean and flexible publishing business model work? Don't miss the opportunity to learn from Jamal - tweet us your questions now using #FutureBook16.
The 4pm panel People power: developing tomorrow's talent today. Featuring our keynote speaker Eva Appelbaum and chaired by The Bookseller's online editor and producer Sarah Shaffi, this panel will examine exactly what skills are needed in today's publishing world, and how publishers can attract the best talent, with help from John Athanasiou, director of people, HarperCollins; Sharon Parker, group chief operating officer, Bonnier Publishing; and Naomi Bacon, creative strategist. So whether you're a graduate eager to mix things up or an in-house recruiter trying to close the gap between the old guard and the new - yup, tweet us your questions now using #FutureBook16.
As for the rest of the conference, here's a reminder of some of the questions you'll be encouraged to pile into:
What's new? We've worked hard this year to source new speakers - voices fresh to the sector but with experiences relevant to publishing, from keynote speaker James Whatley’s positive and provocative look at the interweb of trends to John Kampfner’s panel on the creative industries through to Jamal. Our two new conferences, AudioBook Revolution and EdTech for Publishers, will also bring different perspectives and new people.
Who are we? This business attracts a young, diverse, switched-on, employee base that looks to publishing to reflect their interests, sensibilities and worldview. How can managers unleash this talent, make it work in publishing’s best interests, and use today’s people to meet today’s challenges. This begins with Eva Appelbaum’s keynote, and carries on through our 'People power' panel.
What’s working? For editors, agents, and authors an understanding of the future formats and how they might work commercially is vital. The book is central to publishing’s vision of itself, and the mix of digital and print has been a boon to the sector, but there are challenges around pure-play digital books/projects that will be explored throughout the day.
What’s actionable? Lessons from the coal-face of the publishing start-p that encompass how the vision can be turned into reality, what a pivot looks like and how acquisitions play out when big business gets involved. This begins with 'How it works: the startup' and continues in the EdTech for Publishers strand, where there are specific panel discussions on how publishers and new businesses can work together.
What kind of business is this anyway? From keynote interview Hachette UK c.e.o. Tim Hely Hutchinson’s challenge to how publishing must change, to author and final keynote Andrew Keen’s call for publishers to once again become relevant, FutureBook 2016 will set the agenda on how the book business should respond to what has been, to be frank, a mad 2016.
So whether we're seeing you on the day or retweeting you from a distance, get ready to get involved.