The Developing Global Digital Infrastructure

A handful of companies have already built positions in the US ebook market and are now taking their platforms global. They have the clear intention to aggregate titles from all sources worldwide and to deliver ebooks in every market worldwide. In these early days, these companies are still primarily working with a US-created title database, but that’s changing fast.

Among the North American companies every UK publisher will need to know are Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Ingram, and Overdrive. Sony is already in the UK, and other possibilities, such as Blio and Copia, are still organizing themselves. Barnes & Noble’s Nook is a clear No. 2 in the US, but hasn’t shown interest in other territories yet. Of the established North American companies, the first four are retailers; the last two are wholesalers who are providing ebooks to power local stores in multiple places. And just to make things a bit more complicated. Google and Kobo also work with local retailers at the same time that they’re selling ebooks under their own brands.

These companies will be selling UK-originated titles in the UK and globally. Where rights are available, they’ll be selling the US-originated titles in the UK as well, adding outside competition to the domestic market. By contrast, the only company based in the UK expressing similar global ambitions so far is the mobile phone ebook provider, Mobcast.

Three digital heads from major houses — George Walkley of Hachette, David Roth-Ey of HarperCollins, and Sara Lloyd of Pan Macmillan — have been dealing with all these companies from the first moments that they worked with UK players. With our conference organizers, Michael Cader and Mike Shatzkin, they will engage in a conversation about them, the extent of their development in the UK, and tell us what to expect from them all in the future.


Michael Cader
Publishers Lunch and

Michael Cader is the creator of Publishers Lunch, the largest-circulation book publishing industry publication in the world, and its companion website, which offers comprehensive news, databases, tools and more for book publishing professionals. For 15 years he created and produced over 300 books through his book packaging company, Cader Books.

Mike Shatzkin
Founder & CEO, The Idea Logical Company

Mike Shatzkin is the Founder & CEO of The Idea Logical Company and a widely-acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry. In his nearly 50 years in publishing, he has played almost all the roles: bookseller, author, agent, production director, sales and marketing director, and, for the past 30 years, consultant. His insights about how the industry functions and how it accommodates digital change form the basis of all of the company’s consulting efforts.


Sara Lloyd
Digital Director, Pan Macmillan

Sara Lloyd is Digital Director for the UK trade publishing house, Pan Macmillan. She is responsible for developing the company’s digital strategy and publishing programme, management of Pan’s Web platform, applications and tools and leading the organisational, cultural and operational change to enable Pan Macmillan to position itself for an increasingly digital future. Sara’s career over the last 15 years has spanned newspaper, academic, reference, STM and trade publishing and she has played a key role in transforming many publishing businesses from print to digital. She is a regular presenter and writer on all matters digital, and recently made waves in the global publishing scene with her article ‘A Book Publisher’s Manifesto for the Twenty First Century’, originally written for the US journal, Library Trends.

David Roth-Ey
Group Digital Director and Publisher, HarperCollins Publishers

David was named Group Digital Director and Publisher for HarperCollins UK in 2010. He is responsible for HarperCollins’ digital strategy and publishing initiatives across its divisions including ebooks, apps, audiobooks, e-commerce sites, and social media.

His publishing background includes positions as the editor-in-chief of Quality Paperback Bookclub, an editorship at Scribner, and a position at the literary agency International Creative Management.

George Walkley
Head of Digital, Hachette UK

George Walkley is Head of Digital for Hachette UK. His first role in the book trade was as a bookseller. He moved over to the publishing side in 2005, and has held various positions in marketing, business management and digital strategy at Time Warner Book Group and latterly Little, Brown Book Group, prior to moving to Hachette’s group management in July 2009. He is responsible for enabling and driving implementation of digital initiatives and strategy across the Hachette UK group, and represents the business on a number of industry groups including the operating board of the trade standards body BIC.