FutureBook Conference 2016

December 16th, 2016 by Puyu Cheng | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on FutureBook Conference 2016
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FutureBook is The Bookseller’s digital publishing conference. This conference took place on 2nd December in London, and it also hosted the annual FutureBook Awards and the BookTech Showcase. FutureBook Conference is also Europe’s largest digital publishing conference. The key themes of this conference were:

  •  How publishers can define and better take advantage of current trends in digital
  • How innovation has become ingrained
  • The new business models coming out of the start-up sector
  • Change management within established businesses
  • Trends emerging over the horizon.

Although I didn’t go to the conference in person, I learned a lot by reading some articles from The Bookseller and the FutureBook’s tweets. I think this conference is very important for the future development of the publishing industry. There were four keynote speakers at the conference this year, including Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur; Ogilvy & Mather’s James Whatley; Anki Ahrnell, Bonnier AB’s chief digital and technology officer; and Eva Appelbaum, partner at Digital Talent @ Work. And after reading an article from The Bookseller, I was impressed by Eva Appelbaum’s speech.

Eva Appelbaum (twitter) is a digital strategy specialist at Digital Talent @Work. And the topic of her speech was “How to create the publishing people of tomorrow”. She said: “We’re in an awkward position, we have one leg in industrial, and one reaching forward to digital but we don’t know what the ground we’re stepping into is going to look like.” That’s right. Since twenty-first Century, digital technology has been widely used, and now more and more industries need to rely on digital technology to survive. And with the rapid development of digital publishing, publishing industry had a revolution.

Now the publishing industry is at an important turning point. Just like Appelbaum said, the publishing industry has one leg in traditional publishing, and one reaching forward to digital publishing. Maybe the development of digital publishing is a great threat to the traditional publishing industry, but at the same time, it also offers a broader development space for the publishing industry. With the rapid development of digital publishing, there is a severe hit for the sales of print books. But e-books and audiobooks sales are increasing, which gives publishers some opportunities to gain profits. So for traditional publishing, digital publishing is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity.

Appelbaum also said: “Publishers need to move away from thinking about digital as a silo and instead focus on cultivating the mindset and behaviours needed to thrive in the digital age.” I think the idea is profound. There is no doubt that digital publishing has great potential, but the development process will be very tortuous. Therefore, publishers need to actively explore new digital technology, while improving the development of traditional publishing, so as to make the development of the publishing industry in a stable state.

The Bookseller believes that “FutureBook is the must-attend event for anyone who wants to face our digital future from a position of power.” I agree with it. In my opinion, with the development of digital publishing, the FutureBook Conference seems to be more and more important.

You can find more information about FutureBook Conference 2016 on their website and twitter.

And you can read the article from The Bookseller about Eva Appelbaum’s speech.–‘Human revolution’ needs to be understood, urges Appelbaum

by Puyu Cheng

Glasgow’s Historic Literary Societies- Book Week Scotland 2016

November 29th, 2016 by Kanika Praharaj | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Glasgow’s Historic Literary Societies- Book Week Scotland 2016
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For Book Week Scotland, Katharina Dittmann and I decided to nerd our little hearts out. And where did we decide to go, you ask? To the library, of course! Specifically, the beautiful Mitchell Library in Glasgow, where we attended a talk given by Lauren Weiss, a PhD student at our very own University of Stirling.

21-11-2016 quiz

The talk started off with a quiz. Needless to say, we now have ample proof that we would not fit into the nineteenth-century literary crowd.

According to Lauren, Glasgow has always been a city of readers and writers. In the 19th century men (and later women) got together to talk about books and reading. A ‘typical’ nineteenth-century literary group would meet up once a week. Reasons for joining a literary group usually had less to do with a love for literature and more to do with networking — networking isn’t just for us publishing students! Becoming a member of one of these groups would enable a young man to meet other people in a new place, people who could help him find a job and a place to live. This does not mean that there wasn’t an emphasis on the act of reading. Members were required to read for at least half an hour every day.

Many such societies had their own manuscript magazines. However, membership to a society wasn’t always needed to contribute to its magazine. These magazines weren’t quite as ‘literary’ as one might imagine. There were a variety of topics that people chose to write about. For example, a more traditional piece of literature like a sonnet could be followed by an essay entitled ‘Ants and Their Ways of Life’. Members weren’t always sticklers when it came to deadlines, making the editor’s job the hardest of all. In fact, the editor would quite often have to include last-minute contributions just as they were. Magazines would21-11-2016 then be passed on from member to member, who would all critique their fellow members’ works.

Between 1800 and 1914 Glasgow had at least 140 literary societies — less than ten of those are still running. A dismal figure until one thinks of all the reading groups (read: with wine) that people are a part of in today’s Glasgow. Reading is still a big part of the culture there, just in slightly different forms.

At the end of the talk, Dr Irene O Brien, Senior Archivist, and Patricia Grant, Library Collections Manager, spoke to us about the Mitchell’s unique collections. Fascinated by the wonders that the Mitchell holds within itself, we completely forgot what time it was and almost missed our train!

by Kanika Praharaj