HarperCollins and Canongate have backed Faber’s Stephen Page’s calls for a new publishing to emerge, centering on creativity with copyright.
Page said being creative with copyright will transform the nature of the industry, speaking at The Bookseller’s FutureBook Conference at London’s Queen Elizabeth II conference centre on Monday (5th December).
Publishing needs to become more thrilling, he said, which can be achieved through thinking three-dimensionally and restructuring companies to facilitate creativity.
HarperCollins c.e.o. Victoria Barnsley supported Page’s vision of new publishing, saying: “I agree wholeheartedly with my former Fourth Estate protégé.”
Jamie Byng, m.d. of Canongate, which has recently rebranded its website as Canongate TV, also backed the need for publishers to re-imagine themselves going forward.
Byng said: “We should be thinking of ourselves as broadcasters rather than simply book publishers and this means using all mediums available to connect the storytellers whose work we are responsible for nurturing, promoting and selling to the wider world. For us this means Canongate Books, Canongate TV, Canongate Radio, Canongate Music.”
Page said Faber no longer thinks of itself as a book publisher, but “a business about reading and writing”, where future opportunity lies in understanding the full extent of its footprint in the conversation between the author and the audience. “The bit between the writer and reader is called publishing. We need to think of copyright in an imaginative way,” he said. “Publishers are very creative about format for books, through covers and marketing campaigns, but we are not that creative about the product. The creativity there seems to go on before we receive the product. We can think what we might make from the copyright and from the brilliance of working with an author.”
Page said publishers had to form more partnerships with sister creative industries, communicate better with authors and other publishers, re-skill and re-train workforces to know what is coming next in digital but, above all, create value and champion and support copyright.
He said: “The baton-passing, linear nature of publishing, marching department to department towards the trade, doesn’t lend itself well to the creative process about what we might do and what copyright we might offer. We have to build the structural architecture that allows opportunity for that creativity to happen. We have to be able to interrupt and get the attention of our audience on a very wide scale.”