As an exclusive to BookMachine, we are proud to be able to announce that our partner, Digital Book World – the longstanding and influential publishing conference which takes place in the United States each year – has landed Amazon as a sponsor for the first time.
BookMachine co-founder, Laura Summers, sat down with Digital Book World executive producer Bradley Metrock to discuss this news.
1) Congratulations on getting Amazon on board as a sponsor for Digital Book World 2018. What will be their exact involvement?
Thanks. Amazon is participating in the conference at a significant level – they are one of our Presenting Sponsors. They will be present within the conference program, giving at least one talk within one of our six thematic breakout tracks. Other ways they’ll be involved will be revealed closer to the event.
2) Who from Amazon will be at Digital Book World 2018?
The group we know will be there is the Alexa team, with the vastly increased role Alexa is playing in modern storytelling and complementing the publishing experience across other media. Every publisher in the world has to be aware of the worldwide movement toward voice technology (or more formally, “voice-first” computing) and Digital Book World will be the singular place to hear Amazon’s Alexa leadership talk about the technology, and to get up to speed on what is becoming a major paradigm shift.
Obviously, Amazon has their hands in every conceivable area of modern publishing. We anticipate other business units from Amazon will also be on the newly-revamped Digital Book World 2018 Exhibit Hall floor this fall. Though Amazon is a Presenting Sponsor of Digital Book World 2018, these deals have to be negotiated one-by-one with Amazon’s various business units. We’ll have more to announce soon.
3) Are you pleased with the progress Digital Book World has made since you and your company acquired it?
Definitely. The conference was not in great shape when we took over – survey feedback results from the past year or two indicated several things attendees didn’t like, from stale topics to promotional talks that lacked information to an exhibit hall that didn’t have the proper diversity and mix of companies present.
We’re well on our way to fixing all of those things. The increased number of registrations and increased projected attendance numbers are evidence we’re doing something right.
4) Why has Amazon not sponsored Digital Book World in the past?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I know they spoke at the conference in 2015. We’re just happy that they’re on board now, participating in Digital Book World 2018 which was just recently referred to as “The Super Bowl of Publishing.” It’s a real turning point.
To have an event called “Digital Book World,” you’ve got to have technology leadership from Silicon Valley (and elsewhere) present. The first thing we did is lined up tech luminary Walt Mossberg as the conference keynote, along with Silicon Valley comms veteran Karen Wickre (Google; Twitter) who will also give a plenary talk.
If you’re doing anything with publishing – working for a traditional publisher, working for a university press or education-oriented publisher, working for a corporation which publishes a lot of material, or working for any tech company providing products or services to content creators – you’ll find a lot that will be valuable to you within Digital Book World 2018.
5) As the producer of the iBooks Author Conference from 2015 to 2017, you have been critical of another of tech’s major players, Apple. Do you anticipate they will sponsor or participate in Digital Book World 2018?
I have no idea. I’ve been critical of them because I (and many others) view Apple as failing to live up to its significant potential in the digital publishing space. Given the announcement about Apple Books, and Apple’s renewed pursuit of digital book market share, we’d love to have them there and it would make sense for them to be there, as they re-commit to the space. But I have no idea if that’s in the cards.
We are very pleased, however, to have the DAISY Consortium join us, which has deep connections to Google. Accessibility is an important and timely topic, and Digital Book World will have the absolute experts in the space to discuss it and share best practices.
Technology’s biggest companies, alongside all kinds of small and mid-size companies, will create the proper ecology within the exhibit hall we’re looking for.
6) Why did you move Digital Book World from January to October?
October is the most popular month for conferences and conventions in the United States. It’s also a great time to visit Nashville, Tennessee, which many don’t realize is quickly turning into one of the most pre-eminent cities in America. Steeped in history and full of entertainment and culture, as well as home to one of the newest large convention centers in the nation, the Music City Center, Digital Book World is in a great new home.
7) Should people get registered now? Even this early?
(Laughs) Of course they should. Discounted passes are available now. And for anyone at a registered non-profit organization, or any student or educator, deeper discounts are available that will make it easier for you to attend.
There’s also a company pass option, which can save companies quite a bit of money when employees register together.
8) For anyone with questions, how can people reach Digital Book World and your team?
Email DBW@ScorePublishing.us – it’s the best way to reach us. We’ll respond promptly. We’d love to hear from anyone considering attending or who is already registered.