The four keynote speakers who will headline The Bookseller’s digital publishing conference FutureBook have been announced. Author Andrew Keen, Ogilvy & Mather’s James Whatley, Bonnier AB’s chief digital and technology officer Anki Ahrnell, and Eva Appelbaum, partner at Digital Talent @ Work, will speak to the more than 500 delegates on issues ranging from the impact of technology on books and the wider media, new formats such as virtual reality, the growth of video and social media as routes to the consumer, and digital literacy within companies.
Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur and Digital Vertigo and a celebrated public speaker, will address the political, economic and cultural solutions to the crisis of reading and of traditional media. Issues to be solved include problems pertaining to monopolies, distraction and the failure to monetise online content. He told The Bookseller: “As smart machines and super intelligent algorithms change the world, The New Renaissance offers enormous opportunities for publishers to once again become relevant. What we will need in this new world of super intelligence is human talent, human ingenuity, human instinct. The demand for publishers and their ability to package this humanity into textual form will never be higher.”
Whatley, co-author of an influential annual trends report for the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather, will talk about the video first world, a year of new realities, and the personality designers of the future. He said: "As we look ahead to the New Year, the way people consume and interact with online platforms will continue to evolve. As a result, the brands and services that use those platforms to market their wares will have no choice but to evolve with them. As we all know, the digital landscape never stops shifting and, as 2017 draws ever closer, we will need to understand the emerging trends that will help us succeed. Whether we like it or not, we are moving ever closer to video first world. By 2019, 80% of internet traffic is going to be video. Are you ready for it?"
Ahrnell will talk about the different pace of digital change across the Bonnier businesses, which range from news media to publishing books. Appelbaum will address how firms can make sure their workforce is equipped to deal with a constantly changing future.
In total more than 60 speakers from companies such as Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan, Audible, Storytel, Mendeley, Pearson, and OUP will participate at Europe's largest digital publishing conference taking place on 2nd December at 155 Bishopsgate.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: “The calibre and range of the speakers for FutureBook 2016 shows the importance and ambition of this sector as it looks to pivot into a future that looks incredibly exciting and profoundly challenging. Many of our speakers are new to the conference this year, and will bring with them fresh, but knowledgeable, perspectives from across publishing and the media. This, alongside our two new conferences taking place on the same day AudioBook Revolution and EdTech for Publishers, will make FutureBook 2016 an unbeatable event dedicated to the future of this business and essential for executives looking to plan for tomorrow.”