Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be able to attend the New Trends in Publishing Seminar, hosted by BIC and sponsored by Nielsen and Ricoh. I don’t start my Publishing course until the end of this month but since I’m now finally in London, home of publishing events, I thought I should get started early!
The event was held in the absolutely beautiful Stationers’ Hall (I wish I’d taken some photos of the inside) with stunning stained glass windows and wide open rooms filled with dark wood furniture. There were six us of there from UCL and Alaina-Marie made us feel so welcome and included – publishing really is the best industry.
The seminar consisted of five talks, with the obligatory coffee break half way through: 5 Top Trends for Trade Publishers (Jane Tappuni and Chris McCrudden), The Digital Print Revolution (Mike Levaggi), Publishing as a Service (Alison Jones), Building Better Brands with Neuroscience (Andre Breedt) and finally New EU White Paper – Single European Digital Market (Susie Winter).
The Trends for Trade Publishers was definitely my favourite segment of the seminar, discussing the rise of fandoms, fanfic and how publishing can learn from this highly social way of reading. Sites like Wattpad allow for high levels of personal interactivity with the story, keeping its audience engaged with the whole experience from conception to publication. The speed to market is something we can also learn a lot from, as the author is able to instantly share their work and receive feedback. Impatient online audiences simultaneously love the anticipation of serialised stories but will lose attention if they have to wait too long. In traditional publishing, it could be 12-18+ months between novels, but online it can be anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
I also really enjoyed the contemplation of eBook subscription services such as Scribd. We were significantly behind other industries in the conception of these services (think Netflix and Spotify but for books) but that does mean we have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. While Scribd seems to be growing in popularity, Jane and Chris considered if it was potentially attracting the ‘wrong’ kind of customers – ones that go through a mountain of content and end up eventually costing the company money in the long run. It was interesting to hear the business side of this situation, as it’s very easy just to think about the service as a user. I’ll definitely be more aware in future of how much content I’m using – hopefully services like Scribd will be able to fix these teething problems sooner rather than later.
The neuroscience talk with Andre was insanely interesting. He spoke about an alternative option to traditional consumer insight tactics, as these methods assume that the participants can accurately comprehend, access and articulate their thoughts and feelings – we can all be unreliable when self-reporting all sorts of situations from how much we drink to our favourite books depending on how we assume other people will judge us. Andre explained how neuroscience can access the instinctual, fast, emotional thinking that proves valuable in narrowing down how resonant an image or advert (for example) truly is.
Learning about digital printing and the EU Digital Single Market was really interesting – as a publishing newbie it’s always great to hear about current affairs direct from the people who know these issues inside out. It can be a little unnerving to hear how difficult it is to be in the industry at the moment, but I’m excited to try innovate new trends and help push publishing forward as the world becomes increasingly reliant on digital.
I really enjoyed this event and just wanted to say thank you to Alaina-Marie at BIC for the opportunity and to all the speakers for bringing such interesting and thought-provoking ideas. I’m so excited to finally get started with my course at UCL now that I’ve had a taste of the London publishing scene – the countdown to Induction Week begins!