Spotlight on 3 speakers: SYP Conference 2012 [REPORT]

The SYP committee did a great job this weekend of bringing together speakers from all areas of the publishing industry to share tips and learn from each other. The talks ranged from focussing on traditional publishing to digital demos; with topics covering social reading (fiction) to ELT publishing trends. It made for a fascinating and varied day. Here’s a brief overview of talks from 3 of the great speakers at the conference.

Julia Kingsford, Chief Executive, World Book Night

Main Point ‘1 in every 3 households in the UK don’t have books in them; World Book Night exists to get books into the hands of people who don’t read’

Julia kicked off by asking who had heard of World Book Night. 90% of the room had. A great start for a super initiative, which aims to deliver books to those who don’t read and by doing so aims to improve literacy rates. 40% of adults in the UK have a level 1 in literacy– this equates to lower than a grade D in GCSE English. A shocking statistic and something that World Book Night wants to tackle by getting more books into the hands of more people. World Book Night is on 23rd April.

Andrea Carr, Managing Director and Owner, Rising Stars

Main Point: ‘If you are creative, with a flair for marketing, an interest in politics and are inspired by technology then a career in Educational publishing might be for you’

Andrea founded Rising Stars from her own home 10 years ago. It is now an award – wining books and software publisher for primary and secondary schools. As an educational publisher she sells directly into schools. Rising Stars isn’t threatened by Amazon, as they sell, talk and listen directly to teachers – their customers. Schools are advanced technologically and there are sets of ipads being distributed in certain schools, with most classrooms equipped with Interactive Whiteboards. Andrea thinks it’s an exciting time to work in educational publishing.

Andrew Rhomberg, Founder, Jellybooks

Main Point: ‘JellyBooks is exploring how readers will discover books in the future and adapting its model to suit these needs, allowing readers to try before they buy’

Amazon is full of price points and call–to–actions to make you buy at every point of the user journey. Jellybooks doesn’t aim to sell you a book, until you have decided what you want to read. The interface is simple – author, title, cover and brief summary. What else do you need? The platform gives the reader the opportunity to try 10% of a book before purchasing. They didn’t even have a ‘buy’ button on the site interface, until feedback suggested that some readers wanted this. Their next research is ‘project pineapple’ where they aim to make reading more social. You can view his slides here.


  1. Thanks for the review Laura – it was great to finally meet you and I’m glad you managed to stay for some of the seminars! Also, you should probably add yourself to the above list for your lovely presentation at the opening debate…

    1. Thanks Julie! Bit hard to take notes and talk 😉 – catch you next time!

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