FutureBook programme launches

FutureBook programme launches

The full programme for FutureBook, The Bookseller's publishing conference, has been launched. The all virtual event takes place for a week from 16th November, and includes speakers across a range of disciplines and companies, including the chief executives of Penguin Random House UK, Hachette UK, Bonnier Books, and HarperCollins, as well as the UK managing director of Bookshop.org, Nicole Vanderbilt, and the founder and c.e.o. of Swedish audiobook business Storytel, Jonas Tellander.

The event will begin with a keynote from the writer Nels Abbey, a founder of the Black Writers Guild, who in a talk entitled, "(Don't) publish like a white man", will examine how publishing looks from the perspective of a Black author. On the same day, a conversation between Lisa Milton, executive publisher for HQ & Mills & Boon, with activist and writer Nova Reid will explore how systemic racism impacts the publishing business. Other topics under discussion, include how we return to office life, how the book business can become more green, agenting at a distance, reaching authentic voices, capturing new readers and how to make change happen.

Panellists include Nancy Adimora, talent & audience development manager, HarperCollins; Sarah Cleave, publishing manager, Comma Press; Sara Lloyd, digital and communications director, Pan Macmillan; Marianne Tatepo, commissioning editor, Ebury; Niamh Mulvey, founder, In the History Books; Helen Conford, publisher, Profile Books; and Amanda Ridout, founder and c.e.o., Boldwood Books.

As in previous years an audio-specific strand will run concurrently featuring speakers from WF Howes, Acast, HarperCollins, BookWire, Beat Technology, Bolinda, Bonnier, Zebraluton, Deezer, and Storytel. Panels include how new tech is switching kids onto audio, and a session on how European publishers are using streaming to build a competitive environment. Presentations from Steve Bohme of Nielsen and Michele Cobb of the US Audio Publishers Association will showcase how audio has grown during the lockdown.

In exclusive section, Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, will interview five UK publishing chief executives over the week, including Tom Weldon, Charlie Redmayne, Perminder Mann, and David Shelley, as well as Storytel's Tellander. Also featured in the 'in conversation' section are Bookshop.org founder and chief executive Andy Hunter with Meryl Halls, m.d. of The Bookseller's Association; Wonderbly co-founder and chief executive Asi Sharabi with Matthew Jones, founder of Perlego; and Deezer's Richard Wernick with Carla Herbertson, head of international audio content at Zebralution. Friday's keynote will be a conversation between Nadia Odunayo, founder & c.e.o. of The StoryGraph and Sam Missingham founder of the Empowered Author (and co-founder of FutureBook) about why innovation matters. Paul Abbassi from BookStat will return this year to provide an overview of how the lockdown impacted digital business.

The show includes a 'best of lockdown' awards, comprising shortlists across campaign, retail, book, event, which will include a live vote to decide the winner. There will also be a special FutureBook Person and Team of the year award to be announced ahead of the event. Sponsored lunch & learn sessions are being provided by Beat Technology, Zebralution, Ingram, BookBub, BookStat, and BookWire.

Jones, co-programmer with The Bookseller's comment editor Molly Flatt, said: "As befits the times, we've been bolder than ever for FutureBook's first ever fully digital conference. I've seen no better line up this year and no event with such a gathering of talent, expertise and experience. The event is part a celebration just to be here, but also an interrogation of how we got here, and where we go next. It is without doubt our most important FutureBook ever, and I encourage everyone with an interest in the future of this business to turn on, tune in and drop by for the biggest week of the year!"

The full programme is available here; a pass gives you access to the live event, and with the videos available on catch-up until January. Freelance rates, team bookings and sponsorship arrangements may be made through Emma Lowe (emma.lowe@thebookseller.com).