books on the radio


Thoughts on Applying to Present at #BNC11 in Toronto

Samantha Francis from BookNet Canada has posted the call for proposals for the BookNet Canada Technology Forum to be held on March 24, 2011, at the MaRS Centre in Toronto.

I attended the 2010 version of the BNC Tech Forum and it was interesting and educational. I wrote about it here.

Bob Miller and Richard Nash rocked the opening slots, Dominique Raccah delivered a great presentation, Ian Barker of SymText and Hugh McGuire of BookOven provided much-needed balance to the paranoia-inducing RFID session.

There was a party at the Pour House afterward courtesy of the awesomeness of Open Book Toronto and the Book Madam.  Guinness was consumed, I got to catch up with David Leonard, Clare Hitchens and Kimberly Walsh among many others.

All was good in with the world.

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But now maybe it’s time to start thinking about taking the next step, from attending/organizing conferences to  crafting a presentation that will create discussion. Help to move the conversation forward.

I’ve been working on the above presentation for a few months now – sharing/openness/P2P/infinite digital space – and I will be presenting it at the Surrey International Writers Conference later in October.

Can this presentation be recast and improved enough to be accepted for BNC11 in March? I think that it can.

Any suggestions on what direction I should take it? Thoughts on what/where I should focus?

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Announcing Bookcamp Vancouver 2010: Friday October 1st!

Friday, October 1st, 2010. SFU Harbour Centre. Cost = Free.

Happy to make an official announcement about Bookcamp Vancouver 2010!

The second annual installment will occur in downtown Vancouver on the classic binary date of 01.10.10.

It will be hosted again this year by the good people at SFU Harbour Centre, more specifically the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing which features the Masters of Publishing Program and the Summer Publishing Workshops – both of which feature amazing faculty and produce the leaders of tomorrow.

Our friends at BookNet Canada have once again generously sponsored the event! They rule, we love them, you should too.

The organizing team will be taking a more active curatorial role this year in an effort to bring everyone a more focused and informative day. We have decided to cut back the number of sessions, too, while including more time for conversation between sessions.

We hope that these decisions will provide a better experience for everyone.

Please check out our wiki and become a fan of our Facebook Page, too.

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments please don’t hesitate to let me or any of the organizers know.

See you in October!



ReThink / ReImagine / ReBuild: Crushing It at #BNC10 and Beyond

Craig Riggs & Dan Wagstaff Crush It at BookNet Canada Tech Forum 2010.

It was a brisk day at the MaRS Building in downtown Toronto last week as a couple hundred publishing denizens gathered for the BookNet Canada Tech Forum 2010.

The title for this year’s discussion was ‘Calculated Risk: Adventures in Book Publishing‘.

Alana Wilcox.

The day focused on four interconnected themes: Ambition, Trailblazing, Energy, Learning as You Go.

The conference organizers did an excellent job of creating a clean, professional and energetic atmosphere that was highlighted by Sachiko Murakami’s  introduction to Deanna McFadden toward the end of the day. (Good times, Sachiko, good times!)

The speakers mostly rose to the occasion and delivered passionate, thoughtful presentations that balanced insight and information in equal measures.

Sarah LaBrie, Clare Hitchens and Sachiko Murakami have written more specifically detailed accounts of the speakers than I will get into here.  Please go to their sites for their excellent analysis of the presentations.

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My Two Take-Aways

1) Nothing replaces human contact and collaboration.

You’ve got to make the time to get out and meet the people that you work with in the industry.  You have to spend time with them, talk to them, share stories and ideas.

There is no substitute for that experience and as someone who lives in Vancouver and spends a lot of time communicating digitally with people all over North America and elsewhere it was hugely gratifying to meet my online colleagues in person.

2) It’s about open source leadership and community building.

If you’re looking for the cookie cutter formula on how to proceed in book publishing in the digital age then you’ve come to the wrong place.

The opportunities – the verticles – available to content creators, publishers and the audience are past the point of calculation.  

As digital distribution eclipses standard supply chain and territorial restrictions and simultaneously generates new expectations from a worldwide audience where does one turn to for surefire solutions?

As the industry is beset by the sudden – and profitable – appearance of new players and new ideas in the publishing ecosystem how does a traditional publisher adapt?

When content creators have the tools to create and disseminate their work in high quality editions to a cultivated community of passionate followers in several formats for relatively little capital investment, what does that auger for the future of the modern business model?

As the concept of piracy becomes the new supply chain where does that leave the notion of copyright, territorial rights and control? What are the new revenue streams?

How does a publisher with hundreds of titles competing in the market that is divided into increasingly specific self-organized communities – whose constituents spend zero time pouring over the book review section of the Globe and Mail or concerning themselves with flashy banner ads on publisher targeted websites – make any impact on those communities?

What does leadership look like in this environment?

If – as Richard Nash noted in his presentation – content has become infinite and our focus on supply will change to management of demand, how does an organization make the transition?

How does one create, build and manage communities in this environment.  Can a standard top-down management structure succeed here?

I submit that in these circumstances leadership then becomes about empowerment, trust, collaboration and a willingness to explore.

Empower the people in the organization to step outside the box and experiment with authors and audience.  Trust them to make the right decisions and encourage them to be brave enough to make mistakes.  Have the courage to learn honestly from your mistakes and then go make some more.

Treat the people in your organization as trusted collaborators.  Be open to the ideas and instincts of the people who grew up never knowing a time before the internet.

The same goes for the authors and communities.  Empower them, trust them with your ideas and brands and collaborate with them to make books that truly serve the contemporary vision.

Breakdown any process that is inhibiting these relationships from flowering.

Lead by recognizing the moment that is at hand.

Trust, openness, collaboration, community, exploration.

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Thoughts on #BNC11 as a leadership model for the book publishing industry

If we are encouraging the book publishing industry to be adventurous and to embrace the four themes of Ambition, Trailblazing, Energy and Learning As You Go would it be crazy to suggest that the conference itself live these values and act as a qualified example?

If we are encouraging publishers to rethink their business models, to abandon traditional top-down mentalities and to take a more broadminded view of the relationship between publisher, content creator and audience, would it make sense that the conference itself abandon the standard ‘one to many’ model and encourage a more participatory, collaborative approach?

I’m not advocating for the controlled chaos of the BookCamp formula here and I don’t have any examples at hand for what a ‘more participatory, collaborative approach’ might mean right at the moment but I think that it certainly deserves to be investigated.

If we can engage the leaders of the industry to explore collaboration, to discuss the granularity of the digital possibilities with their colleagues and to facilitate experiential opportunities for engaging these ideas then maybe we demonstrate what adaptation looks like in real time and push the industry forward as a result.

Can the traditional conference formula be augmented to allow for these kinds of exchanges?

Don’t get me wrong, #BNC10 was a success and I learned a lot, but as we move forward I think that there’s opportunity for the idea of what BNC means in the future to change and to reflect the themes that it is built around.

Nevertheless, it was a great day and everyone at BNC deserves to huge thank you for making it so excellent.

I look forward to #BNC11.

Rampant twittering provides an opportunity for the entire publishing community.



Sociable! with Advent Book Blog & Open Book Toronto

Advent Book Blog & Open Book Toronto Present: Sociable!

The Advent Book Blog and Open Book Toronto Want You to Get Sociable! 

Get offline. Come be social. Then tell everyone on Twitter and Facebook where you are and how much fun you’re having! Twitter hashtag: #soc10

Sean Cranbury and Julie Wilson of The Advent Book Blog and Open Book Toronto cordially invite you to an event for social media geeks, publishing professionals, and anyone with a passion for books and readers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010
7:00 PM
The Pour House Irish Pub
182 Dupont Ave.
Toronto, ON
(Directions)

Leading up to the event, Julie Wilson of Book Madam & Associates will unveil the identity of the six inaugural Associates, many of whom will be at the event. Find them and say hello!

And be sure to get a piece of Sean Cranbury of Books on the Radio while he’s in town from Vancouver. He’s the big guy with the big voice and an bigger heart. Don’t miss him!

Many thanks to Amy Logan Holmes and Open Book Toronto for their generous support and donation of light nibblies. Nom!

Bring your insatiable thirst and enthusiasm! SOCIABLE!



Announcing BookCamp Vancouver 2009 Unconference

HERE IT IS: Details are still coming together but we have laid the foundation for the BookCamp Vancouver 2009 Unconference: Exploring New Ideas in Books, Publishing and The Future of Reading…

BookCampVancouver

Scheduled for Friday October 16th at the SFU Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver from 9am to 5pm.

Fellow organizers are Monique Trottier from SoMisguided and Boxcar Marketing, John Maxwell and Suzanne Norman from the SFU Masters of Publishing program, Nick Bouton from Protagonize.com and Morgan Cowie from BookNet Canada.

Lots of more details to come.  Media requests have been rolling.  I spoke to Stuart Woods at the Quill and Quire last week.  Check out his post about BookCamp Vancouver 2009.



BookNet Canada Investigates

bnc_header_2I only met Morgan Cowie of BookNet Canada very briefly during the BookCamp Toronto event but it wasn’t hard to recognize her genuine passion and enthusiasm.  She participated in the Death to DRM session that I lead in the morning and contributed great ideas to Lisa Charter’s session on the Quagmire of International Rights.  Unafraid to speak up and contribute, she may have been the secret star of the event.  But more on BookCamp Toronto in my next post.

Now Morgan is writing about the signal flares of interesting innovations in publishing and digital distribution on the BookNet Canada blog.  She’s started to write ‘intermittently’ on new publishing business models.  In her first two posts she highlights developments in ‘liquid textbooks‘ and the still mysterious to me thing called Scribd.