FutureBook Conference 2015: a recap

FutureBook Conference 2015: a recap

The FutureBook Conference 2015 - the fifth anniversary of the digital conference - brought together more than 50 speakers from across publishing and media for a day of reckoning, realisation and revivification.

Chaired by Sandy Mahal, Springer Nature's chief scientific officer Annette Thomas opened the conference with a keynote stressing the importance of 'open', not just in publishing but also in data.

In his keynote address Faber & Faber c.e.o. Stephen Page told publishers they have to “up their game” in partnering with all areas of the book trade and give the "new generation" room to adapt and develop the industry.

Pottermore c.e.o. Susan Jurevics said that companies that don’t adapt to the rapidly shifting media environment risk losing their audience.

Rapper Akala said publishers should be doing "everything they can" to "collaborate with new technology" to reach new audiences and cater for existing ones.

Jane Friedman revealed her Open Road e-book company has had one million page views for its new, direct-to-consumer online community The Lineup in its first six months of existence. In the same session Asi Sharabi of start-up Lost.myName, currently celebrating passing the one million sales mark with its personalised picturebook The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name, said the company was "proud about the fact we innovate with one of the oldest and most beloved things - the book".

Hodder Faith's director of publishing Ian Metcalfe revealed to the conference that the publisher is looking to develop its bestselling Bible app by offering a text reordering service and creating a series of notes with a Christian youth group.

Hannah MacDonald, founder of 'author-centric' independent publisher September Publishing, said publishers should find time to "constructively" reject authors or they will "abandon the industry" and become self-published.

The FutureBook Conference was introduced to the term BOOC - a newly minted acronym for Book as Open Online Content. The recently relaunched UCL Press said it was to publish many of the outputs from the Academic Book of the Future project in BOOC form.

Manifestos for the future of publishing were delivered by Emma Barnes, who spoke about the need for a more skilled workforce, Alastair Horne, who delivered a manifesto for trade publishing, and Kobo c.e.o. Michael Tamblyn, who delivered a manifesto for readers.

The conference was closed by Charlie Redmayne, c.e.o. of HarperCollins UK, who urged publishers "living in a rose-tinted world" to beware the threat of cyber attacks which are "increasingly sophisticated and are happening all the time".

The FutureBook Awards 2015 awarded people and publishers in 11 categories, with HarperCollins winning two prizes.

You can view the conference in pictures here.