By Nancy Stosik, Senior Manager Publisher Engagement
For the first time, Digital Book World was held in Ingram’s home town of Nashville! DBW18 took place at Music City Center from October 2-4. Recurring themes for this year’s conference included: the rise of Audio, Voice-first technology, AI, Data and Discoverability, and Blockchain technology. These themes were explored and discussed in many of the keynote presentations. Attendees could also learn more about best practices, the state of the industry, and emerging trends and technologies during smaller breakout sessions, covering six different areas of focus: Legal, Production, Marketing, Education, Data and New Media.
As a presenting sponsor this year, Ingram assumed a prominent thought leadership role, leading two keynote panel discussions and conducting an author workshop. Our massive booth presence on the exhibit floor added to our impact and enabled us to provide a nice space for both scheduled and impromptu meetings.
On Monday, Robin Cutler, along with Orna Ross (Founder, Alliance for Independent Authors - ALLi), led a two-hour workshop titled, Running an Indie Author Business. In this workshop, authors learned the basics of self-publishing. Robin and Orna outlined seven business models that self-publishers can use to increase their income, impact, and influence. The workshop included examples of independent authors around the world who are creating successful publishing businesses.
On Tuesday morning, Marcus Woodburn moderated a keynote panel, entitled The Customer, Your Boss: Direct-to-Consumer Marketing. During this lively discussion, Caitlin Churchill, Jess Johns, Robin Cutler and Andrew Wamberg (Head of Sales, Southeast, Google Cloud), thoughtfully answered Marcus’ questions, and discussed how understanding and reaching the consumer directly is becoming increasingly more important for publishers to grow their businesses. The panelists provided a quick overview of market changes, and discussed specific tools to increase discoverability, find customers, and market and sell to them. Towards the end of the discussion, Marcus and Andrew gave a surprise Google voice search demonstration using Google text-to-speech technology; this was the same demo that Deanna gave at the Google NEXT conference in CA, back in July. Andrew pulled out his phone, asked Google to read an excerpt from the book, Virgil Wander, and then requested the app to purchase the book for him through an Ingram shopping cart. The audience audibly conveyed their excitement.
Wednesday afternoon, Ingram presented another powerful panel discussion called New Frontiers in Publishing. Hosted by Bradley Metrock (CEO, Score Publishing), Ingram panelists included: Kelly Gallagher, Deanna Steele, and Marcus Woodburn. In this Q&A session, our Ingram thought leaders talked to publishers about how to “future-proof” their businesses against the dynamic changes driving the industry. They discussed how to ensure that content is available whenever, wherever, and however the market demands, and talked specifically about what Ingram is doing, from a technology perspective, to make sure we are providing the tools to keep publishers relevant. Marcus and Kelly provided insights on POD, Audio, new technologies, the “democratization of content”, and even engaged in some witty back-and-forth banter, resulting from a difference of opinions. Deanna weighed in with her thoughts on infrastructure challenges, emerging technologies and the best ways to navigate rapid change.
DBW plans to return to Nashville in 2019.