All presentations are posted with generous permission from our speakers.

Platform Wars

Presented by Benedict Evans, Enders Analysis (@benedictevans)

In a recent New Yorker piece on the US Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple and five publishers, five big tech companies were named as largely holding the fate of publishing in their hands: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis tracks all five of these companies, with particular attention to what they’re doing that affects publishers. He discusses them all and advises publishers about how to maximize the opportunity and minimize the disruption of their business as these five behemoths fight a battle that is much larger than our industry.

See also this interview with Ben Evans and Mike Shatzkin: Ben Evans on publishing and “the war of ecosystems”

Publishing Innovators: Sourcebooks

Dominique Raccah, Publisher & CEO, Sourcebooks (@draccah)

Dominique Raccah is the CEO of Sourcebooks, one of the leading and largest independent trade book publishers in North America. Perhaps the most prolific experimenter in our industry, Raccah owns and operates her own business, now celebrating its 25th anniversary. 

Find out more about Sourcebooks’ new Shakeperience — interactive Shakespeare editions — at the Sourcebooks blog, the LA Times, and Good E-Reader.

Listen to Dominique Raccah’s presentation.

Publishing Innovators: Bastei Lübbe

Helmut Pesch, Editorial Director E-Publishing (Fiction), Bastei Lübbe Publishers

Helmut Pesch oversees the efforts of the German publisher Lübbe for digital fiction publishing. He’s begun two initiatives that appear pretty radical today, but which seem like they might ultimately be adopted by others. He’s publishing a multimedia novel in serial form, as a series of shorter offerings delivered through an app. And he’s breaking his company out of the market constraints of the German language by publishing in the world’s two most widely-used languages: English and Mandarin Chinese. 

Hear about Lübbe’s digital transition in this short video from Frankfurt Academy and in this article from Publishing Perspectives.

Listen to Helmut Pesch’s presentation.

Pursuing Strategic Innovation: Some Early Success Stories from Italy

Presented by Marcello Vena, RCS Libri (@marcellovena)

Marcello Vena is the Director of Digital Products for RCS Libri in Italy (including the imprints Rizzoli, Bompiani, and Fabbri Editori Life). He is spearheading a number of experiments, including ebook-first and genre imprints; illustrated and collectible ebooks; and DRM-free and English-language publishing. In this presentation, he talks about these projects, what RCS Libri is learning from them, and how he sees them as “the beginning of our digital publishing evolution.”

You can hear more from Marcello Vena in this Publishers Launch webinarA .pdf of his presentation is available upon request. Please write to to request a copy.

The New Book Discovery Gap: How the decline of bookstores and the rise of tablets are changing how readers find and buy books around the world

Presented by Peter Hildick-Smith, Codex Group

Former senior book publishing sales and marketing executive Peter Hildick-Smith has been tracking digital change in the US publishing industry since 2004, through interviews with over 250,000 book consumers. His data quantifies the impact on consumer behavior of fewer bookstores, which he believes has robbed the industry of its most important source of new book “discovery”– yet to be replaced by online methods, including SEO and social media. In this presentation, he gives international publishers an idea of what to expect as local bookstore shelf space inevitably diminishes. He also analyzes how the rapid emergence of tablets as the dominant reading device — after the ebook disruption had started in the US and UK — will produce a very different adoption sales curve in digital markets outside the US.

Hear Peter Hildick-Smith share some of Codex’s US data on book discovery in this Publishers Launch webinar.  Attendees who wish to learn more may contact Peter directly at

Tribes, Foundations and Crowdsourced Commissioning

Rebecca Smart, CEO, Osprey Group (@rebecsmart)

Rebecca Smart is the CEO of Osprey Group, which began as a military specialist publisher but is rapidly expanding into other verticals. When they bought the fledgling sci-fi imprint Angry Robot from HarperCollins, Smart remarked at the time that military buffs love science fiction. They also own two businesses publishing for the UK heritage market, Shire and Old House. Recently they acquired the UK publisher Duncan Baird, which owns a substantial and long-standing religion imprint called Watkins as well as a list with many mind body spirit books and titles in food and health. That gives Osprey at least two more vertical areas to work in and a start on some others. In this presentation, Smart describes Osprey’s vertical strategy and discusses how what Osprey has learned and developed for its original market of military buffs benefits them in other areas far afield from where they started.

Also see this video interview with Rebecca Smart.

Publishing Innovators: Perseus Books Group & Social Listening

Presented by Rick Joyce, CMO, Perseus Books Group (@rickjoyce)

Rick Joyce is the Chief Marketing Officer of the Perseus Books Group, which includes responsibility for several owned publishers (including Running Press and Basic Books) and over 350 publishers distributed through one of the company’s three separate distribution arms and Constellation, their digital distribution operation. For the past couple of years, Perseus has been experimenting with a range of “social listening” platforms: software that captures disparate web conversations across web sites, Twitter and Facebook streams, and blog comments. But Perseus has used these tools in a different way. Rather than trying to track what has happened in the past, they are using the tools to target the places they should be actively marketing a book in the future. They are building profiles of topics, understanding how and where audiences engage even down to the nomenclature that they use. They find the right sites and the “power words” that can produce interest in a book in places where they can already see the prospective audience is gathering.

Hear Rick Joyce talk about the Perseus Books Group approach to discovery and social listening in this Publishers Launch webinar.

Investing in the Publishing Strategy

Presented by Brian Napack, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners

Brian Napack was president of Macmillan US for five years, overseeing publishing businesses in education, trade publishing, digital media, and magazines, and playing a leading role in the company’s transformation from print to digital. Now he has joined one of the leading private equity investors in media and he is viewing publishing from a completely different perch. In his talk at Publishers Launch Frankfurt, Brian will talk about how publishing looks to investors in this time of digital turmoil. He’ll describe the challenges and opportunities he sees for the industry as it strives to retain its role in the changing media landscape. Finally, he’ll discuss the markers that investors might be looking for as they consider investments in publishing.

Listen to Brian Napack’s presentation. 

Digital Change in Publishing in the BRIC Countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China

Presented by Carlo Carrenho (PublishNews), Alexander Gavrilov (Book Institute Russia), Ananth Padmanabhan (Penguin India), Lisa Liping Zhang (Cloudary Corporation)

The BRIC countries are closely watched by economists because they are the emerging global economic powers. They’re begin watched by the publishing world because they are very large economies that are about to open up as digital book markets. India is of particular interest to the English-speaking publishers because it is part of their natural marketplace. But all of these countries presented serious logistical challenges for print book sales and distribution and it is reasonable to anticipate much more profitable markets there for all publishers in a digital environment. This panel will report on the stage of digital change in each of these countries, the prospects for the near future, and what publishers from around the world should anticipate as the market opportunities for them.

Listen to the panel discussion. 

It’s a Kobo World: 12 eBook Markets in 12 Months and What We Learned

Presented by Michael Tamblyn, EVP, Content, Sales and Merchandising, Kobo Inc. (@mtamblyn)

The Canadian-grown and now Japanese-owned ebookseller Kobo has ebook operations and retail partnerships in the US, Canada, Germany, UK, France, Holland, and Japan, with launches planned soon for Italy and Brazil. Tamblyn is overseeing these initiatives worldwide and is in a position to see how these different marketplaces are developing. He provides insights about the unique conditions and concerns across territories and highlights what publishers need to do as they prepare to sell their content in new markets.

Listen to Michael Tamblyn’s presentation. 

Spanish-Language Publishing, a Global Industry

Arantza Larrauri (Libranda) & Santos Palazzi (Grupo Planeta | @SPalazzi) in conversation with Patricia Arancibia (Barnes & | @queridapatricia )

Spanish, like English, is spoken and read by millions of native speakers in many countries spread across different continents. It is the second most studied and the third most spoken language on the planet. The Spanish-language publishing industry has developed with a great concentration of rights-holding—and therefore commercial control—in one country, Spain, where the “big three” (Planeta, Santillana, Random House Mondadori) have their headquarters, despite the fact that the Latin American countries in the aggregate are a much bigger potential market with hundreds of millions of readers. Mexico alone has a population of 115 million, while the US is home to 55 million Hispanics, and Spain, with a population of 47 million, is closer to the sizes of Colombia and Argentina.

While ebook conversion and reading have taken off in English, the adoption has been much slower in Spanish. Availability, of course, is key. While ebookstores often offer about 3 million titles in ePub in English, there are hardly more than 75,000 titles available in Spanish counting free titles and PDFs. It would appear that, like in English, growth in ebooks in Spanish-language markets could spawn translations into Spanish by publishers who originally publish in other languages to enter the market themselves. This panel of top Spanish-language publishing executives talk about why ebooks have been slower to take hold in Spanish, what the future holds, and whether the historical dominance of Spain itself for global Spanish-language publishing is likely to continue or will be eroded by the forces of digital change.

Listen to the panel discussion. 

Copyright Concerns Around the World

Presented by Michael Healy, Copyright Clearance Center (@MJHealy)

Important changes to copyright law are being made by governments and in courtrooms around the world changes that can have a direct impact on the business of publishing and the ways in which content is licensed and used outside the country whose legislature or court took action. Michael Healy, formerly the head of the Book Industry Study and Group and the Book Rights Registry, is now Executive Director at Copyright Clearance Center, the leading global provider of content and licensing solutions.

In this talk, Healy reviews recent copyright developments around the world and some that are pending and explain how business-critical their implications are for publishers and users everywhere.

See also this interview with Michael Healy at Beyond the Book: Copyright is Everywhere

Publishing Innovators: Pan Macmillan

Presented by Anthony Forbes Watson (Pan Macmillan)

Pan Macmillan has been punching above its weight in digital, getting a bigger market share of ebooks in the UK than it had of print books. They have recently reorganized to get closer to the market and closer to their authors. Managing Director Anthony Forbes Watson will explain the reorganization and the thinking behind it and will talk about the challenges of getting people to embrace new roles, structures, and workflows.

Listen to Anthony Forbes Watson’s presentation. 

Book Publishing Moves to the Cloud

Presented by Ken Michaels, President & COO, Hachette Book Group (USA)

Ken Michaels has driven his own company toward software-as-a-service and cloud-based publishing solutions. Now, he shares his insights on how these cloud-based systems are transforming publishing’s basic systems and capabilities, and how HBG is becoming a service provider of its own.

We Publish in the Present Tense

Presented by Stephen Page, Publisher and CEO, Faber and Faber (@stephenpub)

Stephen Page of Faber & Faber is integrating both product and channel innovation into the publishing program of a long-standing UK trade house. Faber is building a robust publisher and author services business, with a virtual community of authors and readers that also includes staging live events and writing courses. His shop has created two of the most commercially successful enhanced digital projects to date: one for T S Eliot’s The Waste Land and a more recent one on Shakespeare’s Sonnets. And Faber is also pioneering digital services and direct to consumer capabilities for distributed lines in conjunction with partners Perseus Constellation and The Firsty Group.

Canadian Book Market & Consumer

Presented by Noah Genner, CEO & President, BookNet Canada (@BookNet_Canada)

Over the next two years BookNet Canada will conduct the first comprehensive and ongoing survey on the behaviour of Canadian book buyers. The survey examines reader demographic information; ebook buying and reading trends; where consumers are discovering and buying books; perception of books’ value; how print and ebook consumers are using libraries; and more. In this presentation, BookNet CEO Noah Genner presents new data from this survey, giving the first detailed look at the Canadian book consumer.