LONDON: In publishing these days, one person’s big idea is the next person’s belly laugh.
But “The Big Ideas Session” near the end of The Bookseller’s FutureBook conference in London last Thursday was intended to be the day’s most provocative event. (Of course, there were some other provocations, as covered yesterday by Roger Tagholm in Is Government the Only Force Able to End Amazon Dominance?)
In the trademark deep-pink glow of the FutureBook’s backdrop, the segment crackled with lightning glimpses of an industry still picking its way awkwardly, sometimes testily, across a treacherous digital landscape.
Faber & Faber’s Stephen Page energetically hosted a panel of eight industry figures, each of whom had a few minutes to pitch a “big idea” to the 600+ attendees at Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster.
Calling the group into session, Page left no doubt that he hoped for something a bit more than a smooth ride, remarking: “To change, when you’re doing pretty well, is incredibly difficult. We must innovate in the core, in the core of our publishing.”
Adding that he’d like the session to offer particular challenges to publishing houses that still see ebooks as innovative, he said, “It’s nonsense to say publishing doesn’t innovate. Who here today will be who we talk about in 20 years?”
Michael Bhaskar: “Don’t Believe the Crap”
The first to take the lectern was Profile Books’ Digital Publishing Director Michael Bhaskar, who took aim at what he sees as three myths surrounding publishing.