Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interview with China Book Business Report

I am posting my recent interview with China Book Business Report

  1. What were the most important things happened in American/global book market in 2011? Give a summary of 2011 American/global book market or a summary of your book exhibition’s performance in this year?[Rosato, Steven (RX)]  The US book market change has been more dramatic than the global book market as whole in 2011, but dramatic change is the new normal for the whole global book market as technology and business models are changing more rapidly than the industry can keep pace with.  It is difficult to compare the US market vs. global publishing.  That is like comparing diving from 50 feet or 100 feet, it is scary and the water comes at you fast no matter what.  The 2 most significant developments in the US were the bankruptcy of Borders, the second largest bookselling chain and the advent of the Agency Model for e-book pricing.  The Borders situation is very complicated and their demise had little to do with the predicted decline of brick & mortar stores.  The good news came out of their bankruptcy was that publishing survived without a more devastating impact considering that Borders accounted for 15% of the total market. That also bodes well for the near future and for creating opportunities for independent stores and other retailers in those markets.  The Agency Model is an extremely complex issue that I could not properly explain here.  Also there is pending litigation that continues change what the total impact will be for publishing.  In the short term the Agency Model reduced the ability that Amazon would have had to dictate e-book pricing terms and made Apple and other e-reading options viable, which was critical for publishers.  Those very were  big issues that impacted the US and the global publishing community.  This past year has seen BookExpo become more relevant due to the turbulent changes in publishing – people need information on the market, technology and are looking more aggressively for new opportunities.  BEA has been able to keep pace with the changes and is moving quickly to stay ahead of where the market is going. Examples include BEA has begun developing opportunities to engage consumers directly with our video program and the launch of New York Book & Media Week that takes place throughout New York City at the same time that BEA is happening.  Now that we have established these platforms, publishers are increasingly looking to engage consumers directly to promote new titles while retailers can use BEA resources year round to discover and source titles.

  1. How do you predict the book market and international book fair business in 2012?  What kinds of trends will there be? What kind of changes will there be for the whole market?[Rosato, Steven (RX)]  For the short term, Book Fairs will be more important as publishers struggle to find sustainable models for a digital world.  Book Fairs provide many potential partners, market insights and education in a really efficient format.  There is a proliferation of Digital Conferences that has not yet peaked, but is not sustainable long term.  The trends are hard to determine as things are changing more rapidly – a lot depends on the answer to the question: Will e-readers be like TVs or music players where many manufacturers can participate in the market or will it be a closed market where the content and the devices are controlled by a few players?  Self publishing will continue to gain market share as traditional publishers continue to roll out programs to attract self published authors aside from all the new and existing platforms.  There will be more convergence of media, making content from books a valuable resource for other industries like gaming and film and TV.  In the US, the digital market share will approach 25% if not more by the end of 2012 which is more than double 2010 figures. 

  1. What are the opportunities and challenges that book fairs will face in 2012? [Rosato, Steven (RX)] Book Fairs will have to pull in new constituents that were previously not critical to the publishing industry or had a limited role.  Bringing in segments from licensing companies, educators and the entertainment industry are examples that will be critical to sustain the relevance of book fairs because those industries are all going to be much more closely linked to publishing and become influential players as well.  The challenge is to engage the key players and provide a platform for them to leverage at book fairs because increasingly this is where these types of transactions will take place.  For a fair like BEA, we see a big opportunity to engage consumers who will have more ways to consume published content than at any time in history from e-readers, smart phones, computers, traditional print and the flexibility that on-demand printing offers as well.

  1. Regarding the emerging digital publishing market, what kind of transition were publishers experience in 2011 and what will they do to adapt to the changes in 2012?  What are the prospects for e-books and digital publishing in 2012?   How will your book show exhibit such a trend?[Rosato, Steven (RX)]  Changes continue to accelerate more quickly every year.  The challenge is to transition to new revenue models while existing ones get displaced.  Publishers are moving toward being content curators as are booksellers – providing value for discovering, shaping and packaging content that will inform, educated and entertain people.  The platform will eventually be irrelevant, whether it is print or digital.  That is more the long term prospect for publishing in a digital environment, not just being a digital publisher.  The process that has begun in 2011 is how publishers are organized – you see number of sales reps in the field goes down as the resources are moved to discovery – that includes leveraging social media, metadata tagging, digital distribution are all small examples of where changes are happening now for publishers..   BEA will continue to be a platform for the leading companies and players from all sides of this expanding market which includes having on-line players, booksellers, retailers, librarians, publishers and device companies that will use BEA as marketplace and source for market intelligence as well as to see the latest in technology.   

  1. What will your company focus on in 2012? Are there any changes in your company’s  strategy? [Rosato, Steven (RX)] While BEA will continue to invest and support booksellers, librarians and traditional constituents that have made BEA one of the most important book fairs in the world, our current focus does represent a change in BEA’s strategy, which is to be the leading marketplace and resource for all things digital in the world of publishing.  We are doing this through conference content and content on the show floor which is represented by the companies that participate in BEA as exhibitors or attendees.  BEA will engage consumers through our New York Book & Media Week initiative and by utilizing video and streaming of events at BEA to make what happens at the trade event accessible for consumers. 

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