Launch Kids to Explore Digital Opportunities in Children’s Publishing

[Press Release] ‘Launch Kids’ at Digital Book World Conference + Expo Centers on the Transformation, Opportunities of the Children’s Publishing Business Event Looks at How Content Providers, Publishers Reach and Teach Kids of All Ages Through New Media, Devices and Technology NEW YORK (Nov. 10, 2014) — The 4th annual Launch Kids, a one-day symposium during Digital […]

Read more

Digital Book World 2015: Speakers and Themes Announced

[Press Release] Digital Book World Conference + Expo 2015 Announces Keynoters and Themes NEW YORK – (May 27, 2014) How to manage changing roles and relationships in the constantly evolving publishing ecosystem is one of the key conference themes announced by the organizers of Digital Book World Conference + Expo, slated for January 13-15, 2015, […]

Read more

Marketing + Publishing Services Conference & Expo

Publishers Launch is teaming up again with Digital Book World to produce a unique one-day convention on September 26 in New York City. This solutions-driven event is really two shows in one, enabling strategists and operators in key publishing functions to learn best practices from and get direct access to leading experts and solutions providers — the right people with […]

Read more

Launch BEA — May 29, 2013

We’ve put together a great program for the third annual Publishers Launch BEA Conference, which will be held on Wednesday, May 29, the day before the BEA exhibit floor opens.

We are focusing intensely on the big issues that matter most right now and going forward: Consolidation and Scale. As the industry reckons with the pending Penguin Random House merger, the increasing dominance of one retailer, growing consolidation among literary agencies and realignment of lists at a number of houses, we’ll take a timely strategic view of the publishing landscape to help companies of all sizes operate efficiently, leverage scale to their advantage, and focus on innovations and new business strategies that work.

  • Peter McCarthy will kick the day off with a unified view of what we know about the US ebook market by pulling together various surveys and stats. And Dan Lubart will present a detailed look at ebook bestseller rankings across the major retailers, with a focus on and what that data can tell us about the impact of pricing and promotions on sales.
  • Top executives from Random House, Hachette, and F+W Media will share how they’re building scalable solutions to distribution, publishing systems and e-commerce.
  • Former Macmillan president and now private equity senior advisor Brian Napack will frame how scale has become more important than ever, and provide an investor’s view of where capital sees value in publishing.
  • A panel of leading agents, including Robert Gottlieb, Scott Hoffman, and Brian DeFiore, will discuss how some literary agencies are scaling their operations.
  • Publishing business development executives from Wiley, Workman, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster will describe how they are helping publishers better leverage their assets across new businesses and partners.
  • Operators from the Toronto Star, Chicago Tribune, Frederator Books, and Wharton Digital Press will discuss how their new ebook publishing programs fit into the larger strategic goals of their companies and what publishers can learn from their lean operations. 
  • Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis will provide a tech analyst’s view of the book industry, with a particular focus on how books fit into the strategies of the major tech players and how publishers should view their relationships with those companies.
  • Publishers Launch co-founders Michael Cader and Mike Shatzkin will offer their unique insight and perspective throughout the show as well as in a candid one-on-one conversation — tackling the big questions as only they can.
  • And we’ll close the day with a hard look at the illustrated book market. Ron Martinez will present about the current state of the art in digital illustrated books — both what the technology makes possible and what the economics make sensible — and Lauren Shakely will moderate a panel with Rodale, Abrams, Quarto, and Dorling Kindersley to discuss strategies for illustrated publishers to compete and thrive in an increasingly digital world.

You can find a detailed program here, as well as more information on our speakers. We hope you’ll join us, and claim your ticket while they are available.


We are once again working with the BEA organizers and the IDPF (which holds their own digital conference at BEA) to bring back last year’s hugely successful Digital Combo Pass.

The combo pass means that instead of choosing between the Publishers Launch and IDPF conferences, you can go back and forth between both, with one discounted ticket. The first block of 50 deep-discount Digital Combo Passes is sold out; we one to the next limited block of 100 passes, so if you are interested grab yours now.

Register here for PLC BEA only, using BEA’s site.
Or use the simple one-page sign-up form at PublishersMarketplace if you prefer.
Register here for the special Digital Combo Pass deal (which also includes a BEA badge).



Benedict Evans on publishing and “the war of ecosystems”

Benedict Evans covers mobile content, digital media and electronic publishing for Enders Analysis, a research and consultancy boutique in London. As part of his work, Evans regularly tracks the tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. He will join Publishers Launch Frankfurt on Monday, October 8, to share his view of these companies and how books and the publishing business fit into their strategies.

In anticipation of the conference, Evans spoke recently with Publishers Launch co-founder Mike Shatzkin about the intersection of content, devices, and platforms and the future of these developing digital ecosystems. Read on for the full interview and a discount to next Monday’s conference.


Mike Shatzkin (MS): You track five companies that Ken Auletta in a recent New Yorker piece identified as those who will determine publishing’s future: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. I’m going to assume that Amazon is the most likely of these to be disruptive of publishers’ traditional business models. Of the others, which one do you think publishers should be paying closest attention to for the future of their own businesses?

Ben Evans (BE): That’s a tough question because publishing is really pretty peripheral to the businesses of all of these companies except for Amazon. (There is an argument about how important publishing really is even for the future of Amazon.)

I think the way to look at it is that publishing is a pawn in the maneuverings of these companies as they build platforms in order to serve their own interests. Microsoft wants to sell operating systems and therefore wants to sell devices; Apple wants to sell devices; Facebook wants to build a social graph of people sharing stuff. It’s really only Amazon for whom the core business is selling things; for everybody else, that’s a means to an end.

MS: A recent story in the Washington Post suggested that the platforms will be fighting it out for content they don’t own and that the content owners could see some significant opportunities developing soon as a result. Do you agree with that overall analysis?

BE: Stephen Elop, the Chief Executive of Nokia, said that his company is in a war of ecosystems and a war of platforms, rather than a war of products. So, you could produce a beautiful tablet, or beautiful phone, or beautiful website, for that matter, but if it hasn’t got an ecosystem of content and applications from all sorts of third parties attached to it, then it’s just a piece of plastic; it’s just a dumb screen that doesn’t do anything.

Now you could see that very clearly if you contrast the Kindle Fire that Amazon has just launched with the Google Nexus 7, which is another tablet that looks very similar to a Kindle Fire, at a very similar price. But the difference between a Fire and a Nexus 7 is that when you turn the Nexus 7 on there’s not really anything you can do with it. There aren’t a great many apps; there isn’t a great deal of content, except what you get from Google. As a buyer, you need to compare the Google content lineup with the Amazon content lineup, and of course, they see that Amazon can bring you a lot more than Google. Books are an important part of that. So are movies, so is music, so are magazines, so are games – probably all pretty much equal in importance in shifting the device.

So, Amazon has a coherent content proposition; Apple has a coherent content proposition; nobody else really does. That clearly opens up opportunities for any content provider whether they’re a games developer, whether they’re a magazine company or whether they’re a books company. In positioning their content, they’re extracting favorable terms from Google or from Microsoft in gaining placement and in providing their content on that device.

MS: Which of course means that Amazon’s position in the book business, of potentially being able to monopolize content, is a unique situation that could present them with strategic advantage in the long run.

BE: Well it could, but here’s where it gets complicated. Amazon’s own devices are just the front end of their store, but they’ve put their store in other devices, too. Amazon wants people to be able to buy their content on any device. You’ll get the best experience on a Kindle, but you can get Kindle content on a Nexus device or on an Apple tablet, too. So, Amazon is trying to have it both ways. They try to give you a monopoly experience on their own hardware, but also to draw people away from other competing content propositions and other competing hardware as well.

MS: Amazon has acquired some exclusive rights already of course, such as to the James Bond backlist and has picked up a couple of troubled publishers with small lists. Google acquired the Frommer’s list from Wiley. Is this the front end of a trend? Will they continue to acquire copyrights and do you think any of the other three will join them?

BE: It’s interesting that you mention Frommer’s because that points to the kind of oblique way that technology companies see this industry. Google didn’t buy a books company; what Google bought was content to make Google Maps better. They bought Zagat for that same reason. Apple’s reaction to that has been to partner not with a books company, but with Yelp, the online social reviewing site, in order to put reviews of restaurants and bars and shops into their new mapping service.

Both companies are doing this to get more content, but they’re not doing this because they think of these things as publishing. In fact, what Google is going to do is take all that content and stuff it into the mapping services for free. It’s a way of making their map services better, to drive their advertising revenue.

What all these companies are trying to do is build a really compelling ecosystem, but they’re building ecosystems in different places. Amazon starts with the proposition of having users choose one platform to read books on, and maybe even music and movies as well. They want to make the Amazon content platform ecosystem as appealing as possible, and that means TV shows, it means movies, it means books. And so, having exclusive rights to books makes it that much more compelling. It also, incidentally, is part of a more general attempt at innovating around what kinds of books are available. So Kindle Singles isn’t just about exclusivity, it’s also about giving people yet another proposition, yet another reason to switch to ebooks.

What Google does with Frommer’s and what Apple is doing with Yelp is totally different. That’s about making maps really great, so that you buy an Android device, or you buy an Apple iOS device. They’re not thinking in terms of books, they’re thinking in terms of making the mapping product really good. And so Google went out and bought Frommer’s and Zagat. Apple has a partnership with Yelp, and they bought a Swedish company called C3 that does 3-D mapping of cities, so that you can get 3-D models of 100 or 200 cities.

That’s the mentality that they’re coming out of. It’s, “How do we use these to make our proposition really great? How do we make it so that users get a really great service when they turn the device on?”

MS: Of course, if that’s what they want, in many cases they wouldn’t have to buy the company or own the content. They could license it for the purpose that they need, and it could continue to live as a book business elsewhere.

BE: I think that’s absolutely right. The other interesting thing about the Frommer’s deal is how cheap it was relative to the valuations of a lot of the internet companies in this space. Yelp’s market cap is about a billion dollars; TripAdvisor is about four-and-a-half-billion dollars. For the market cap of Yelp you could buy pretty much every travel book publisher on the planet. There might be a huge Japanese one or something, but you could buy all of the others. What they’ve done is by unlocking local advertising, and by tying it into a mobile device, they’ve hugely increased the value of a restaurant review – vastly beyond what you could ever have made from selling books.

There is a broader point here, which is that with some of these types of content, these very specific types of books, if you’re doing them now, you would never make a book, because they are actually a print-out of a database. This is very specific to topics like travel and location. However, if you turn to the New York Times bestseller lists, or the Man Booker Prize winners, or mainstream convention fiction and nonfiction outside of these very specific topics or genres, then that’s about simply having great books offerings and making their device the one that you adopt to get your books on.

There’s a question that applies to Apple, which is that when Apple created the iPad, they were not entirely sure what people were going to do with it. So they did put a lot of pieces in place to make sure that people would find it useful. In hindsight, it’s not apparent to me that they would definitely make iBooks if they knew then what they know now.

MS: This might open up the question of how long Apple will persist if it turns out to be harder than they thought.

BE: I think that’s more about Apple’s commitment to its customers and its willingness to cut them off, which I think is not really how the company operates. It’s more how Google would tend to operate. But you could argue that iBooks was there in case Amazon didn’t make the Kindle for iPad app.

MS: It was an insurance policy.

BE: Exactly. It was an insurance policy in case Kindle wasn’t very good, or Amazon demanded onerous terms, or they didn’t make the app at all, or something. Apple doesn’t really need iBooks to exist today to sell iPads. Obviously, from the fact that 90% of the share of ebooks in the UK is on Amazon, so clearly people are buying the iPad without using iBooks.


Hear more from Ben Evans, and other insightful speakers, at Publishers Launch Frankfurt on Monday, October 8. You can save 20% off the full ticket price when you register with code Partner20PL.

Find out more about Ben Evans on his website,, and follow him on Twitter @benedictevans.


Free Webinar: Previews from Publishers Launch Frankfurt

Our October 8 event Publishers Launch Frankfurt features publishing innovators and changes to the publishing environment. This webinar offers a nice glimpse of presentations from innovators Marcello Vena at Rizzoli (which is experiment with DRM-free and publishing digital in English) and Rick Joyce at Perseus Books Group (offering advice on how to use social media monitoring tools for productive ends); and original data on the how consumers discover books from Peter Hildick Smith.


Free Webinar: An Introduction to Book Publishing Cloud Services

We’re excited to share this webcast of our first Publishers Launch webinar, “An Introduction to SaaS and Cloud Services for Book Publishers”.

The webinar, sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services and Publishers Launch global sponsors Constellation and Copyright Clearance Center, provides a great concise overview of what we’ll cover in depth next Thursday, July 26 in New York City at our full-day show, Book Publishing in the Cloud: How Software as a Service is Transforming the Book Publishing Industry.

Publishers of all types and sizes are increasingly turning to cloud-based and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions as a cost-effective alternative to traditional publishing technology. Cloud services promise the latest technologies without a large up-front investment. They can help to streamline the complex workings of large publishers, and they can level the playing field by providing new capabilities and scale to smaller players.

This webinar highlights the pros and cons of cloud-based software versus traditional IT solutions and will help you discover if SaaS can meet your publishing needs.

Publishers Launch co-founder Mike Shatzkin and leading industry consultant Ted Hill are joined by top publishing service providers and publishers at the forefront of this trend to explore how cloud-based publishing software will impact the future of the publishing industry:

  • Ken Michaels, COO, Hachette Book Group
  • Rick Joyce, CMO, Perseus Books Group and Constellation
  • John Wicker, Publishing Segment Head (Global Consulting Practice), Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

These speakers and more will also appear at Book Publishing in the Cloud. Check out the full conference program, and register today to save $150 off the regular price.

Publishers Launch BEA

A “lively, stat-packed day” at Launch BEA

Publishers Launch BEA 2012 was a packed day of data, insights and news. We are posting slides from many of the presentations, and we’ll have some audio on the way soon as well.

We’d like to thank BEA for their support and our fantastic speakers and sponsors for their help in making this our best show yet.

Launch BEA offered one of the crispest, most aggressive rounds of presentations I’ve seen in any conference setting yet (and I see and cover almost all of them).
— Porter Anderson, (@Porter_Anderson)
    Journalist and Critic, Writing on the Ether


Some highlights from Publishers Launch BEA:

One presentation of widespread interest was Ingram chief content officer Phil Ollila‘s new data–commissioned by Publishers Launch–analyzing how the rise of ebooks affects what is sold in physical bookstores. Ollila’s primary focus was to identify opportunities for both publishers and retailers to boost sales of print books. Building on the ABA’s data showing that member stores reporting to Bookscan grew sales 13.4 percent (in units) so far in 2012, Ollila said Ingram’s experience was that “some bookstores are having fantastic years, and others have not adjusted to the marketplace.” That adjustment means recognizing that bookstores will have a harder time selling fiction and an easier time selling certain categories of nonfiction, in greater depth.

from Publishers Lunch
Presentation: Phil Ollila explores A Changing Retail Marketplace

Michael Cader gave his signature summation of all the important themes, and introduced the first speaker, Hachette COO Ken Michaels, who gave a well-constructed talk on the checklist of changes that publishers need to make to be efficiently poised for a print-and-digital future that will be orchestrated via the cloud.   He argued that, with the right partners, and in a cloud-based system, a publisher could be “up and running in 90 days.”

from Publishing Trends
Presentation: Michael Cader reviews Book Publishing in 2012
Presentation: Ken Michaels on Software as a Service

In a lively presentation, Macmillan evp digital publishing Fritz Foy announced that Tor/Forge will launch a DRM-free ebookstore this July. It will sell all 2,000+ ebooks from which the company is lifting DRM, and “eventually, offerings from other publishers as well.” … Foy was joined onstage by three Tor authors: Cory Doctorow, Charlie Stross and John Scalzi. Doctorow repeated his message that DRM “prevents competition, not copying.” Stross noted that “DRM is poison to voracious genre readers…who expect to reread the best of them” and want to preserve access to their sizable digital libraries. Given the pace of technological change, he noted that “an ebook with DRM is unlikely to be readable in more than 5 years time; 10 years at the most.” Scalzi reminded the audience that “your author is your frontline customer contact” and observed, “all we know is that our readers are unhappy and they are projecting it at us, and they want us to do something about it.”

from Publishers Lunch
Presentation: Macmillan Takes Tor/Forge DRM-Free

Twenty-four percent of Indian adults with Internet access have bought an ebook, Bowker’s Kelly Gallagher said in a panel at the Publishers Launch BEA conference today, and 18 percent of Brazilian adults have done so. In predicting ebook penetration rates, it’s key not just to look at the “technology-savvy” countries, Gallagher said, but to look at the size of the overall population combined with Internet penetration rate. “Suddenly, India becomes the second largest potential market” after the U.S., he said, followed by Brazil. The UK and Australia have high Internet penetration, but their populations are small.

from paidContent
Presentation: Kelly Gallagher takes A Look at eBook Growth Around the World

Check out more coverage of the show around the Web.


Publishers Launch 2012 Conference Line-Up

Publishers Launch Conferences returns in 2012 for another year of comprehensive and practical education for the global book publishing industry.

We are excited to announce continued partnerships this year with BookExpo America, Frankfurt Academy, and F+W Media to produce co-located conferences at major industry events in the US and around the world. We are also proud to welcome back our flagship global sponsors Constellation and Copyright Clearance Center.

As always, every Launch conference will highlight the news and events that impact the book business and will feature the influencers that are shaping it for the future. Our shows offer practical and strategic insight to help everyone in the publishing value chain thrive in the digital era. We’ll be posting more detail about our upcoming events in the coming weeks. So stay tuned!


2012-2013 Event Calendar

Publishers Launch BEA
Monday, June 4, 2012 | New York City
Presented with BookExpo America
. . . . . . . . . .

Publishers Launch NY
Thursday, July 26, 2012 | New York City
Presented at Baruch College
. . . . . . . . . .

Publishers Launch Frankfurt
October 8, 2012 | Frankfurt, Germany
Presented with the Frankfurt Academy
. . . . . . . . . .

Publishers Launch Children’s DBW
January 2013 | New York City
Presented with Digital Book World & F+W Media

Authors Launch DBW
January 2013 | New York City
Presented with Digital Book World & F+W Media


A Look Back at Publishers Launch 2011

Seven conferences, four cities, three countries, one year.

Publishers Launch Conferences brought together hundreds of professionals from all corners of the publishing business in its debut year. Digital publishing analysts, experts, and innovators from around the world shared insights from their experiences at the forefront of this evolving industry. And our equally distinguished audience included publishers, agents, authors, retailers, and other channel partners from over 35 countries.

We would like to thank everyone who made the first year of Publishers Launch possible: our producing partners at BookExpo America, the Publishers Association, NYU Center for Publishing, Frankfurt Academy, StoryWorld, and Digital Book World; the fantastic presenters, panelists, and moderators that helped shape our programs; and of course our Global Sponsors — Constellation, Copyright Clearance Center, and Bowker. Their support and valued input made Publishers Launch a success in its inaugural year, and we look forward to another year of providing critical and practical advice and education for the trade book publishing business.

Here is a look back at what we covered in our first year:

Publishers Launch Conferences 2011-2012

Publishers Launch BEA
Wednesday, May 25, 2011  | New York City
Presented with BookExpo America
. . . . . . . . . .

Publishers Launch London
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | London
Presented with the Publishers Association
. . . . . . . . . .

Publishers Launch New York
Monday, September 26, 2011 | New York City
Presented with New York University’s Center for Publishing
*Presentations also available*
. . . . . . . . . .

Publishers Launch San Francisco
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 | San Francisco
Presented with StoryWorld Conference + Expo
*Presentations also available*
. . . . . . . . . .

Publishers Launch Frankfurt
October 10-11, 2011 | Frankfurt, Germany
Presented with the Frankfurt Academy

eBooks Around the World — Program | Speakers
Children’s Publishing Goes Digital — Program | Speakers

Coverage of both days is also available.
. . . . . . . . . .

Publishers Launch DBW
Monday, January 23, 2012 | New York City
Presented with Digital Book World
*Presentations also available*
. . . . . . . . . .



eBooks for Everyone Else Presentations

eBooks for Everyone Else was filled with data, insight, and advice from leading ebook publishing service providers and experts.

Slides from both the New York and San Francisco eBEE conferences are now available.

The image above comes from Kobo evp Michael Tamblyn’s very helpful analysis of pricing bands for different types of books. (His presentation also covers stats on self-publishing, and addresses other issues including DRM under the general premise, “what are a few things that would be helpful to know if you were not a big publisher?”) Other presentations cover the costs of epublishing; distribution options; understanding distribution deals and sales models; making both simple and complex ebooks; what you need to know about apps and enhanced ebooks; understanding metadata basics; and tips on online marketing and social media.

Both shows (and the accompanying 48-page printed program book and directory we provide to all attendees) drew enthusiastic reviews from participants:

I got a better understanding of the epublishing paradigm shift and came away feeling much more positive about what’s ahead. This was the single most valuable seminar I attended in years.”

“The most informative single day you can invest in regarding the current state and future of the digital publishing world.”

“eBooks for Everyone Else has provided me with an up-to-the-minute toolkit I can take back to my client publishers to make their eBook dreams come true. Gathering this much information would have taken days if not weeks; instead, just eight hours.”


Publishers Launch: Children’s Books at Digital Book World In January 2012

For the first time, we present a full-day US conference just for children’s publishers, addressing the special digital opportunities and challenges they face as ereading tablets take off. Publishers Launch DBW: Children’s Publishing Goes Digital opens the week of activity around Digital Book World 2012, on Monday, January 23, the day before the big DBW Conference (programmed by Publishers Launch Conferences) starts.

The takeoff of tablets and the proliferation of smart phones are igniting opportunities for digital children’s books — interactive ebooks, apps, learning products and online communities — that are vastly different from both the maturing adult ebook market and traditional children’s board books and chapter books. A flood of new entrants is reinventing — and supplementing — children’s publishing, from classic illustrated story books through to middle grade and YA. Children’s Publishing Goes Digital looks closely at this disruption and how the marketplace for children’s content will change in the coming year, and what publishers need to know about this new continuum of content, games, animation and interactivity.

See the full program.
Register now for the best-available pricing.


Publishers Launch: eBooks for Everyone Else

After a number of “global” shows for international audiences, eBooks for Everyone Else is a show for all of those people in the US looking to jump-start their ebook plans. Specifically aimed at literary agents, small- and mid-size publishers, as well as individual authors, this event focuses on the main pieces of making, distributing and marketing ebooks effectively. At each step of the way we’ll help attendees understand the pluses and minus of “do it yourself,” and what focused vendors can do for you.

A “speed dating” session allows attendees to engage in small-session meetings with vendors including PubIt, Bowker, Constellation, INScribe Digital, Ingram, Vook, and the Copyright Clearance Center–and experts will lead parallel discussion/q&a sessions on marketing, understanding the overall business requirements and costs of professionally publishing books, and choosing and managing outside service providers at the same time. Visit here for program details and check this page for some of the wonderful praise from the New York version of this show that we held in New York (“Extremely well thought through and organized, Publishers Launch NY: eBooks for Everyone Else was one of the most useful and high value for my money conferences I have attended.”)

The San Francisco version of the conference includes the addition of bestselling author Bob Mayer on using his extensive backlist to build a successful epublishing line, and new panel of agents on how they are approaching epublishing opporunities for their clients, and the addition of Vook to our speed-dating sponsor team.