Andrew Savikas, chief executive of the subscriptions business Safari, Rachel Fershleiser, literary community organiser at Tumblr, and David Boyle, executive vice president of Insight, at BBC Worldwide, are to join Penguin Random House UK chief executive Tom Weldon and digital entrepreneur George Berkowski, as speakers at FutureBook 2014, The Bookseller’s annual digital publishing conference.
The show, which this year takes place on Friday 14th November, will look to explore how publishing can continue to adapt to the shifting digital climate with speakers from outside of publishing sharing the platform with executives from within publishing who are leading the digital change.
Savikas has been chief executive of the O’Reilly-owned Safari since 2010, and before that lead O’Reilly’s digital conference business Tools of Change. He will talk about what lessons Safari’s subscription platform has for the wider book business as it looks to adapt to different digital models. An examination of the subscriptions model will be a significant strand at FutureBook this year, with talks from other subscriptions based companies.
Insight and working with social media channels are also now key areas for publishers, with FutureBook planning dedicated sessions in both areas. Rachel Fershleiser, literary community organiser at Tumblr, who will look at the long-term role of social media in publishing. Executive vice president of insight at BBC Worldwide David Boyle will draw on his background at EMI music, the Labour party and HarperCollins to highlight what publishers can learn from how insight changed the music industry, the TV industry and US elections.
More than 500 delegates are expected to attend FutureBook this year, with more than 40 speakers lined-up to address executives from across the book sector. After last year’s event 95.5% of attendees surveyed said they would return for 2014’s show—Simon Johnson, managing director of HarperCollins UK calling the 2013 conference the “best ever”.
Last year innovative sessions included the ‘big ideas’ panel, which acted as the catalyst for this year’s FutureBook Hack. This year the show will have a mix of keynotes, plus on-stage interviews with senior executives. Finalists from the hack will also take to the stage to showcase their work, and reveal the thoughts that led them to create the projects showcased during the hack. This year’s conference will also be followed by the FutureBook Innovation Awards, with shortlisted companies including HarperCollins, Blink, Pan Macmillan, Unbound, Penguin Random House, and Profile.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said the conference was adapting to reflect how the industry has changed and been changed by digital, with sessions on new business models, strategies that work, and technology that will reshape the book business. “We’ve always thought of FutureBook as a ‘publishing conference’, and with digital now an integral part of every publishing business, we are seeing the conversations evolve and deepen as we all look to build on what has so far been achieved. We saw through the announcement last week about Faber Press that digital strategy has become publishing strategy, and FutureBook is really the moment when we can spark the strategies for the next few years. This is the most exciting moment to be in this business, and we are incredibly excited about the plans we have for FutureBook to be the stage for the book business’ continued evolution.”
Last year the conference was covered by a number of media outlets including the BBC’s Panorama, which used the event as backdrop to a wider piece about Amazon’s impact on the publishing business. Jones added: “FutureBook is not only the place to be, it is also the place to be seen to be.”
Next week speakers from DropBox, Movellas, Hachette will be announced, along with the other keynotes. An early-bird three-for-two rate has been extended to 5pm Friday 17th October.