Friday, October 8, 2010

Frankfurt and the future

Frankfurt day 3, tomorrow is get away day (I can not wait to walk through my front door - this is too long).   It has been tremendously productive fair.  I have heard some people complain that there are 'less' people in the aisles which is crazy to me - of course there are less people.  How many people in publishing were laid off in the last 2 years?  Too many for sure, but the people that are here are here to do business.  Booths have been humming with activity and my calendar has been full.  Frankfurt also has done a nice job with their Story Drive programs which has stages and programming in the exhibit halls, with most of the programs focused on 'content' and delivery.  I have not sat through many of the sessions, but did peak in on many of them as I buzzed through the aisles from appointment to appointment and they were well attended.  I look forward to combing through the show dailies for coverage on some of the topics, but it is driving the conversation on new formats and delivery with the majority of people I am talking with this week.  

I have to remark on how viceral the emotional attachment is to the printed book.   I say this because it is a topic that dominates conversations with people seeing business models being transitioned one way or another by the digital convergence.  Being pro digital is like wearing a Sarah Palin, NAMBLA t-shirt - you are shoveling dirt onto the coffin that is the publishing industry as we know it.   That train has left the station because publishing is radically different than just a few years ago.   Printed books will remain an important part of that future.  Two things I will reference are 3rd party - one being O'Reilly at their Tools of Change program had a slide showing their digital sales with the expected dramatic growth slope - but that also showed increased digital led to increased print sales for the same titles.  I saw quote from Dominique Raccah from Sourcebooks explaining spikes print sales that they attributed to digital products, either digital books or apps from the printed books.  Print and digital are NOT mutually exclusive  - they are dependently connected.  That is the future. 

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