Have we manifested your concern?
We're delighted today to announce that the #FutureBook15 manifestos chosen for presentation at The FutureBook 2015 Conference on the 4th of December at the Mermaid in London are those by Alastair Horne of Cambridge University Press and Emma Barnes of Bibliocloud and Snowbooks.
The response to this initiative, launched in early July, has been so robust that we have several manifestos still to publish here at The FutureBook. All have been considered for the conference presentation honours, however, and Horne's and Barnes' essays are true standouts in a field crowded with good thinking.
Many of our "manifesti" deal with writers and author-publisher relations, of course, as well as with questions of technology, marketplace approaches, the evolution of the ebook, "smart content" and much more.
A quick reminder before we look more closely at Barnes and Horne's manifestos:
If you want to join us at Author Day on 30th November, don't wait. Our remaining seats are going fast in the deliberately intimate setting of the 30 Euston Square State Rooms. Remember, this is an issues-driven conference, augmented by the availability of one-on-one meetings with Peters Fraser + Dunlop agents and with editors from Pan Macmillan and HarperCollins who will hold open-submissions and consultations, along with independent publishing advisors organised with the help of the Alliance of Independent Authors.
- 4:00 p.m. London (GMT)
- 5:00 p.m. Rome (CEST)
- 11:00 a.m. New York (ET)
- 10:00 a.m. Chicago (CT)
- 8:00 a.m. Los Angeles (PT)
As I discussed on Monday in 'Magnificent manifestos' on the way to FutureBook 2015, the topics and takes on issues in publishing embraced by our manifesto writers is refreshing.
Barnes and Horne are great examples of this.
Horne, who is writing monthly newsletters on academic publishing for the London Book Fair, calls his essay Manifesto for trade publishing and asserts that "trade publishing seems mostly to have forgotten it even has a neighbour."
Unlike the music and trade publishing industries, scholarly publishing went digital of its own volition, and kept control of its routes to market.
Horne writes, trade publishing could learn a lot" from its educational counterparts.
He's careful to concede that the hurdles may look different from one side of the industry to the other:
Perhaps the most interesting thing about scholarly publishing is the new set of challenges it faces. Foremost among these is the Open Access movement, whose most popular business model shifts the cost of publication from reader to author, and many of whose proponents decry the profits being made by the likes of Elsevier and Springer. And as it adapts to these challenges, the industry continues to innovate, with new publishers like the Public Library of Science springing up to match new needs, moods, and models.
But he gives no quarter to ideas that this means trade shouldn't be taking advantage of what scholarly can teach it: trade and scholarly publishing have challenges that "at heart remain the same: making the economics work while satisfying a diverse audience of both authors and readers," he writes.
And he'll stand and recommend at The FutureBook that trade publishing reacquaint itself with its collegiate cousins and "take your eye away from the telescope through which you’ve been looking anxiously overseas for signs of distant empires falling."
For her part, Barnes has become something of a champion for junior members of the publishing workforce. And she's insistent that we're neither providing those critical staff members with the tools they need today and in future advancement.
It seems that there’s a groundswell of discontent throughout the junior ranks, horrified at what is evident to any impartial observer: we don't train our people and we don't expect them to be formally skilled.
Now, in her manifesto, she lists the needed responses:
- Educate senior management about what code can do
- Recognise that technical skills take time to develop
- Develop an industry Management Training Scheme
- Radically raise our expectations of our suppliers
- Update our Occupational Standards
- Harness the evident discontent amongst junior publishers
Barnes' final appeal is to "make us competent, make us proud, make us flourish." And when she delivers her commentary at FutureBook 2015, she'll leave no questions as to what that means to her:
I want to work in a flourishing industry known for its competence, kindness, innovation and creativity. As time goes on, our current expectations of what junior roles should be is going to look and feel more and more Stone Age—with radical implications for our future viability.
Today in #FutureChat, let's talk about issues in the manifestos, and points of concern you think need run up the nearest available flag pole. The full set of manifestos looks at everything from author-publisher relations and ebooks' relative viability to print, to democratisation and the distributed marketplace and "smart content" that can tell a publisher "where it's been"—who has used it and how, out in the wild.
They're all quick, they all have something vital and specific to say, and they're all pieces we're very proud of.
And if today's chat encourages you find 500 well-chosen words of your own?...sure, the deadline is long gone, but I like these things. Maybe the forthcoming FutureBook Conference doesn't mean we have to stop writing manifestos, right? Let me know, happy to consider what you have in mind.
See you in #FutureChat.
Join us for #FutureChat each Friday live on Twitter at 4:00 p.m. London (GMT), 5:00 p.m. Rome (CEST), 11 a.m. New York (ET), 10:00 a.m. Chicago (CT), 9:00 a.m. Denver (MT), 8:00 a.m. Los Angeles (PT), 5:00 a.m. Honolulu (HAST).
- Be with us at The Bookseller's inaugural Author Day (#AuthorDay) in central London on Monday 30th November, the kick-off to a big week of #FutureBook15 events. More about Author Day.
- Booking for our special pitching, networking, and advice sessions opens today (Friday, 6th November), with appointments made on a first come, first served basis. Only confirmed Author Day attendees may apply for a slot and must do so via Sandra Williamson (email@example.com).
- And join us for our 4th December FutureBook 2015 Conference at The Mermaid in London, the fifth annual iteration of the event. Please be sure to see our new digitally readable (YUDU) preview and programme with articles, background and full detail on the event.
Main image - iStockphoto: Kaisorn