As the industry grapples with unprecedented challenges, the IPG’s Bridget Shine previews an event – the IPG Spring Conference – to connect and support independent publishers.
Of the many severe challenges wrought by the coronavirus crisis, one of the most disconcerting has been the restrictions it has placed on our ability to meet. The cancellation of The London Book Fair, scheduled just as the UK started restricting movements and gatherings, deprived publishing of one of the most important occasions of the year, and since then we have seen a host of events fall victim to the lockdown.
In an industry as sociable as publishing, where so much depends on partnerships and individual relationships, this has been a big blow. And the effects are felt keenly in the independent sector, where publishers draw a lot of strength from one another, exchanging advice and learning from publishing successes and mistakes. For start-up publishers in particular, listening and learning is an essential part of the business journey.
With that in mind, it’s a great pity that we at the IPG can’t welcome our members to our Spring Conference in person in 2020. It’s an event that has become one of the most popular and valuable gatherings of the year, bringing hundreds of independent publishers together to share experiences and ideas.
But just like our members, the IPG seeks to respond nimbly to setbacks and find opportunities in the challenges. It has led us to create what we hope will be one of the most memorable events of the lockdown period: a very special virtual Spring Conference on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 June 2020.
Like all IPG events, it’s going to be focused squarely on supporting independent publishers—which at the moment means getting to grips with a fast changing world. With the help of publishing leaders like Bloomsbury’s Nigel Newton, Atlantic Books’ Will Atkinson and DK’s Rebecca Smart, and some dynamic new start-ups, we’ll be sharing ways to sustain and strengthen businesses through these tough times. Waterstones’ James Daunt will be discussing book retail, and we’ll be considering Covid-19’s seismic impacts on the supply chain and international markets too. There’ll be tips for flexing sales, rights, marketing and audio strategies, and advice for helping publishing teams stay well and productive.
All this and more will be hosted on a state-of-the-art events platform that goes far beyond conventional video conferencing or webinars. There’ll be live speakers as well as pre-recorded sessions, and interactive elements that will help publishers connect with each other and with businesses in a virtual Exhibitors Hall.
Our Spring Conference will have all the great learning opportunities of our face to face events, but with two major differences: content will be accessible from wherever publishers happen to be working at the moment; and it will all be completely free for every member of staff at every IPG member (and available to others for a modest fee). Importantly, its large training element and official CPD accreditation means that staff who are currently on furlough will be entitled to take part, and we warmly encourage them to do so. We are hugely grateful to the many publishing suppliers and service providers whose support makes if possible to open up access at a time when budgets are under huge pressure, including our gold sponsor Ingram and silver sponsors PLS, ProQuest and The Paperback Shop.
At a time when we are all looking for positives and reasons to be optimistic, we’re very excited to be hosting this event. The IPG’s community has long had a very special spirit of sharing ideas and inspiration – and that is needed more than ever right now.
Bookings for the Spring Conference are open now. For more about the event and to reserve a place, click here.