Bradley Metrock, CEO of Score Publishing and executive producer of Digital Book World (DBW), chats with Libros & Tecnologia to learn more about DBW 2018, which takes place October 2-4 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The upcoming event will feature Amazon, Intel, Princeton University, Southwest Airlines, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House and The New York Times Book Review editor, among many others. The event is on pace to triple the previous year’s attendance, while convening more than 70 exhibitors from around the world to showcase the products, services, ecosystems and tools modern publishers need to evolve.
To learn more, visit DigitalBookWorld.com.
Question: Digital Book World is a longstanding global publishing event, having started back in 2009. What changes have you made, as the new organizer of the event, to keep DBW fresh and current?
Answer: We’ve expanded the reach of the conference to include “the wide world of publishing,” including not just trade publishers, but scholarly and academic publishers, corporate publishers (corporations publishing significant amounts of content), educational publishers, independent publishers, and all of the technology companies which serve publishers large and small.
If you’re Penguin Random House, your next great insight will probably come from a publisher that doesn’t quite look like you. Maybe a much smaller publisher. Maybe a company that’s not really a publisher at all, but is working with publishers in a tech capacity. Publishers of all sizes and in all fields are ready for something new, and to find pathways to success, they’re ready to have broader conversations across the industry. That’s what DBW 2018 is about.
Question: What greater themes are emerging across the publishing industry today, that you’re seeing surface as you plan Digital Book World 2018?
Answer: The rise of all things audio – audiobooks, podcasts and voice assistants / smart speakers – is becoming a major theme of the event. Audiobooks have been the fastest growing part of the publishing industry for the past couple of years at least, and now, that demand is bleeding over into podcasts and voice assistants. Increasingly, people want content in audio form and expect publishers to provide it, even at the point where they might pay more.
I wrote an article for Digital Book World’s website, which has been syndicated on a number of websites and translated into Chinese, Spanish and more, called The Voice-First Future of Book Discoverability. This dives deep into how this rise of audio will contribute greatly to a shift, in the short term, to the public discovering new books to read through Amazon’s Alexa (coming to Spain later this year), Google’s Assistant (recently launched in Spain), Apple’s Siri, and other similar conversational AI technologies.
Every publisher in the world is looking for insight on this. And Digital Book World 2018 will have it, more than any other publishing event going on worldwide this year.
Question: Walt Mossberg, the famous technology journalist from Silicon Valley, is keynoting, while Karen Wickre (who spent 10 years at Google and another five at Twitter) is also speaking. How has Digital Book World worked with Silicon Valley to provide cutting-edge publishing insights?
Answer: In addition to these speakers, which are highly anticipated, we’ve got a number of high-tech companies which will be part of DBW 2018, whether located in Silicon Valley, or elsewhere. Amazon, Intel, Novel Effect, Storyfit, Readercoin, Tellables, Scribd and many others will be part of Digital Book World 2018, either on the program, exhibiting within the new Digital Book World 2018 Exhibit Hall, or both.
The six breakout tracks – Marketing Book World, Production Book World, Data Book World, Education Book World, Legal Book World, and New Media Book World – lend themselves well to integrating knowledge from a wide variety of sources, not the least of which is Silicon Valley companies and Silicon Valley-influenced companies.
Question: You’ve mentioned “corporate” publishers – what is a corporate publisher, exactly?
Answer: Most companies of a certain size publish content – books, magazines, curriculum and all manner of other material. Many companies, such as Southwest Airlines, which will be at Digital Book World, or Intel, which will also be at Digital Book World, publish more than many small to mid-size publishers do!
So, as we assemble Digital Book World 2018 in a way which will gather the publishing community and share insight, these large companies – which need the same products, services, ecosystems, and tools that regular publishers do – should have a seat at the table. They have experiences to share, and needs to fill, just like everyone else in publishing. So we’ve cleared the space at the table, and they’ll be joining us.
Question: Thank you for this time. Before you go, share with us one particular speaker at Digital Book World 2018 you’re perhaps most excited about, amidst this powerhouse program you’ve assembled.
Answer: For me personally, I’m looking forward to hearing from Pamela Paul, the editor of the influential and very forward-thinking New York Times Book Review. How the New York Times uses data, how they view some of the shifts in the publishing landscape, and how they think about trends within publishing, all are insights I’m looking forward to hearing.
To learn more, visit DigitalBookWorld.com.