Annette Thomas, Stephen Page and Susan Jurevics are the keynote speakers for this year’s FutureBook Conference, the largest digital publishing gathering in Europe. Nigel Roby, chief executive and publisher of The Bookseller, has also unveiled what is to be a week-long sequence of events culminating in the FutureBook Conference on 4th December.
Speaking at the launch event, held tonight (7th September), Roby said: “We felt very strongly that there are so many dimensions to modern publishing, and so many groups who have a stake in the future of it, that one single conference just wasn’t enough. We needed to do more and set our sights higher.”
Events taking place in the run-up to the FutureBook Conference include an Author Day, an exclusive reception for The Bookseller’s Rising Stars, and a BIC Training Breakfast.
FutureBook 2015 will this year host a BookTech Showcase, enabling start-ups and other digital book businesses, to feature their new business ideas in front of the FutureBook audience and a specially selected panel of judges. The conference will also include an interactive ‘book hack’ led by Peter Meyers, author of Breaking the Page. An expanded FutureBook Awards will conclude the conference, including new awards for Digital Achiever of the Year, and BookTech Company of the Year.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: “FutureBook 2015 reflects how digital has become embedded in the book business, but also how the trade is navigating the new landscape. We are no longer awaiting disruption, but creating it, and this is why we have three keynotes from within the business talking about their strategies. This is an industry on the front-foot, and one preparing for what is coming next. From our new Author Day through to the BookTech sessions, FutureBook this year acknowledges that there are now many stakeholders in the future of this industry. It is for this reason, that we are now calling FutureBook, the book trade’s digital platform.”
Thomas, until recently chief executive of Macmillan Science and Education and now chief scientific officer of the newly combined Springer Nature, will talk about how digital and globalisation has impacted her business and how it drove the merger between Macmillan and Springer earlier this year. Page is to address the importance of driving innovation, both in terms of new types of books and business models, in a speech entitled, “Does it matter if there's life on Mars? Have trade publishers travelled far enough in search of the new?”. Pottermore chief executive Jurevics will reveal how consumer insight and the shift to mobile-access is informing the next iteration of Pottermore.
In total FutureBook 2015 will feature more than 40 speakers from across the media industry. Among them are George Burgess, founder and chief executive of the revisions app Gojimo; Judith Curr, president and publisher, Atria Publishing Group in the US; Anna Jean Hughes, founder and editorial director of the mobile reading business The Pigeonhole; Caroline Raphael, editorial director, audio, Penguin Random House UK; author Simon Scarrow; Morten Strunge, founder and chief executive of subscriptions business Mofibo; Kiren Shoman, executive director, editorial, at SAGE; and Asi Sharibi, co-founder of personalised children's book business Lost My Name.
The conference will feature more than 10 individual sessions, across three different streams, including unique interactive sessions on reinventing ‘the book’, BookTech, and social media marketing. Key sessions include:
Face Out: Strategies That Work and Why
What's working and why? Executives from successful publishing businesses and book tech start-ups reveal the secrets behind their business models and how they are profiting from the digital disruption.
The Incredible Book: What Happens When Content Goes Unbound
Chaired by Peter Meyers author of Breaking the Page, two sessions at FutureBook 2015 will look at and seek to explore how the book is changing and what this change looks like, with authors and creatives from across publishing invited to talk about their visions.
A new initiative from FutureBook that brings together the best in new thinking from book tech companies and start-ups in a unique showcase and competition. This fully interactive session is to be curated and hosted by the journalist and tech-insider Molly Flatt.
The conference will once again conclude with the annual FutureBook Awards, including individual awards for best adult book, best non-fiction/reference book, and best children’s book, as well as for best use of digital in a marketing/publicity campaign. In addition, FutureBook’s Most Inspiring Digital Publishing awards has now been split into two categories: Digital Leader and Digital Achiever, reflecting that digital change is also being driven by individual employees. A second new award The BookTech Company of the Year, is a continuation of the FutureBook Start-up of the Year Award, with the winners to be chosen from those companies shortlisted to deliver their pitches on the day. This session is to be curated by the tech and culture journalist Molly Flatt.
For more on FutureBook, or to book your tickets for the FutureBook Conference 2015 visit the conference website. More on all of these initiatives can be found on The Bookseller’s digital site FutureBook. More speakers, including a fourth keynote, will be announced in due course.