FutureBook Hack to tackle trade challenges

FutureBook Hack to tackle trade challenges

The first FutureBook Hack will take place this weekend, with programmers, developers and entrepreneurs tackling challenges that cover audio, data and children’s books.

The hackathon, which will be held at UCL tomorrow and Sunday (14th and 15th), will be introduced by Matthew Cashmore, digital director at Blackwell’s, who is the hack’s tech producer.

Pan Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House and Faber & Faber are the founding partners of the hack.

A series of trade figures will attend throughout the weekend, giving advice and talking to hackers. These include Eoin Noble, digital project manager at Faber & Faber; Nielsen’s Andre Breedt; Sara Lloyd, digital and communications director at Pan Macmillan; Penguin Random House’s digital project manager Hattie Foster; Simon & Schuster’s Eleanor Long; and Gus Swan, digital technology director at HarperCollins.

There will also be figures from other industries, including Mahesh Ramachandra, head of product at Hopster, a London-based startup that creates revolutionary mobile video apps for children and families; Toto Ellis, head of strategy at creative ad agency Droga5's London office; Mark Adams, founding director of The Audience UK, which manages over 100 social channels for celebrities, brands and media companies; and Shira Feuer, who leads social media for The Walt Disney Company across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Hackers will be able to choose from five challenges, some of which can be combined with other challenges. The first challenge is best use of data, which will ask hackers to demonstrate an innovative use of data. Best use of audio will see groups challenged to come up an idea focussed on the spoken word, while automated content curation, described by Cashmore as “the most difficult category”, will ask hackers to find a way to curate content without using “other customers bought this” as a method. The discoverability question is one that has dogged the publishing industry, and the challenge asks hackers to help people find books they want to read. The final challenge focuses on the children’s book industry, and ask people to reimagine print assets for digital.

The Bookseller will be covering FutureBook Hack live on Twitter @thebookseller and on our live blog on The Bookseller website.