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Encouraging Publishers to Innovate

Page history last edited by Peter Collingridge 12 years, 9 months ago

I run a web company called Apt Studio (also where James works during the day) which specialises in working with publishers, and doing "new media" projects with them.

 

I also consider myself to have worked in publishing since 1997, when I joined Canongate, and got into the web (in a major way) soon after. In 2001 I went to the other side - agency - and since then have spent most of my time thinking about how publishers can use the web, and increasingly the non-web new media, to do their business better. I've probably produced 40+ projects for publishers since then, as well as blogging about how publishing and technology can have a happy future together, and hassling publishers to spend more time innovating.

 

It's fun, but it's by no means easy. Present company excepted, it's quite hard to persuade publishers that their money and energy could be better spent (and deliver better, more traceble returns) online. (I don't just put this resistance down to my personal evangelism rubbing them up the wrong way either.) It's getting easier - in part due to the great work of the people publisher-side at this conference - but the entrenched thinking is still, on the whole, anathema to the way we all want to work. In other words, for books, often the point of publication is the last thing a publisher has to do with them (or at least until paperback publication) - the attention moves on to the next item in the production line. With websites, it's the opposite - getting a site live is the beginning of a project, and you need to spend a lot of time nurturing and developing the content, your community, and adjusting to both. More often than not, however, publisher sites can quickly die and remain written in concrete rather than evolving.

 

Without being pessimistic (I'm not!) I'd maybe like to run a "grey sky" session that includes representatives from the houses present - I think we've got Penguin, HC, Pan Mac and Hachette - and which perhaps draws on other people's experiences (Russell?!) as to how we can wrestle some of the blue sky stuff into becoming practical, commercial realities, and how to get this past the board?

 

Or is this against the ethos of a -camp?

 

 

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