8:45 am


With Publishers Launch founders Mike Shatzkin (The Idea Logical Company) and Michael Cader (Publishers Lunch)

8:55 am

The Consumer Data that Matters Now

For years now, publishers and data providers have been tracking the migration to ebooks, the migration to online purchasing, the decline of shelf space, and the differential speed at which different parts of the book market are affected by all these changes.

Peter McCarthy of McCarthy Digital will kick off Publishers Launch BEA with a presentation about moving beyond our standard understanding of “industry data” to mining and analyzing the massive amounts of public data about readers: who they are and where they are. The data publishers care about, and that can really help inform publishers’ strategies, isn’t labeled “book publishing data” but is far more useful and actionable than much of what we try to decipher meaning from that is.

We’ll take a look not just at where we are and how we got here, but also at where book publishing is heading and at what data sets the industry should be looking at next.

Peter McCarthy (McCarthy Digital)

9:25 am

Opportunities and challenges for agents in the face of industry consolidation

A panel of agents will tackle the new questions of scale in a changing industry. Do literary agencies need to specialize, by services offered (such as self-publishing help), by genre or topic (such as romance or political non-fiction), by focus on niches or global? (Does it take a certain scale to make managing many sub-agents economically viable?) Is it necessary for purely book literary agencies to team up with agents that can give them the scope of an WME or ICM? And what kind of resources does it take for an agency to monitor the “farm system” of self-publishing and harvest the best authors? Will a “services model” for agents, analogous to big publishers distributing small publishers, grow up to enable smaller players to continue?

Moderated by Michael Cader (Publishers Lunch)
With Brian DeFiore (DeFiore and Company), Robert Gottlieb (Trident Media Group), and Scott Hoffman (Folio Literary Management)

10:00 am

In the Niches: Market Verticals Reap the Rewards of Scale

In several short years, F+W Media has built its thriving ecommerce business to revenues in the tens of millions. Economies of scale have made this possible. David Nussbaum, Chairman & CEO will share how applying a single strategy to its direct-to-consumer ecommerce business has benefitted even the Company’s narrowest communities through increased efficiencies and shared resources. By focusing on creating best practices to serve its largest six communities and by deploying a centralized service model, two dozen of its smaller sub-communities have achieved greater reach and growing revenues. Hear from Nussbaum and learn how economies of scale make ecommerce success possible for publishing companies of any size.

David Nussbaum (F+W Media, Inc.)

10:20 am

Morning Break

11:00 am

Scale: The Investment Perspective

The scale strategy is working two ways for publishers. They are merging to get gigantic (Penguin Random House, and possibly Harper plus someone else) or they are slimming down and selling off assets to focus on core areas (Wiley, Hyperion, Quarto). Yet neither strategy—getting bigger or becoming leaner—by itself answers when scale is a publisher’s friend and when it is an enemy. Some publishers (Harper, O’Reilly) are taking capital of out physical manufacturing and/or warehousing and supply chain while others are looking to achieve operational efficiencies of various kinds through size. Former Macmillan president, and now senior advisor at media investment giant Providence Equity Partners Brian Napack provides an investor’s view of the rapidly changing ownership of publishing assets in a discussion with Michael Cader.

Brian Napack (Providence Equity Partners) in conversation with Michael Cader (Publishers Lunch)

11:30 am

Business Development: Publishing’s New Line Responsibility

Job titles containing the words “business development” are cropping up throughout the publishing industry. There were probably none five years ago. What does that term mean in the current publishing environment? This panel of publishing operators, all of whom with “biz dev” as part of their current or recent job description, will explain what it means in their shop and how the activity they’re responsible for was handled before the term became part of our nomenclature.

Moderated by Lorraine Shanley (Market Partners International)
With Peter Balis (Wiley), Andrea Fleck-Nisbet (Workman), Adam Silverman (HarperCollins), and Doug Stambaugh (Simon & Schuster)

12:10 pm

eBook Pricing: Insights from Bestseller Data

Dan Lubart of Iobyte Solutions has been tracking bestseller data at the major online retailers for several years. He provides the data and analysis that power the Digital Book World ebook bestseller lists.

In his session for Publishers Launch BEA, Lubart will look a little deeper into the data to gather additional insight, including studying the price variations among more granular “brackets” within the top 100s, outlier performances at particular stores for titles and categories, and analysis of price promotions that include the ones that don’t work.

Dan Lubart (Iobyte Solutions)

12:30 pm


Vouchers for the Javits Center food court will be provided for PLC-only attendees. Total Access pass holders will have lunch provided at the IDPF Digital Book Conference.

1:30 pm

Publishing and the Platform Wars: Big tech players, their strategies, and how they impact the publishing business

Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis in London tracks the big companies that manage so much of the environment and ecosystem in which publishers operate. In this presentation, he will review the strategies of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, with a special focus on the aspects of their activities that affect book publishers. Then Evans will talk about how publishers can best take advantage of the opportunities these companies make available while avoiding the pitfalls of dancing with partners who dwarf the publishing industry—let alone any single player—in size.

Benedict Evans (Enders Analysis)

2:00 pm

New World Scale Equation: Adding Value, Not Volume

Hachette Book Group has rebuilt their own digital infrastructure in the past several years to leverage the advantages of scale — scale which they believe can be achieved through efficiency as well as through size. Under the leadership of Ken Michaels, President and COO of Hachette and Chair of the Book Industry Study Group, the company is focused on better providing value to authors by investing in services, capabilities, and agility, rather than relying strictly on volume and size.

Ken Michaels (Hachette Book Group)

2:15 pm

The Outsiders: New book publishing operations from media and content companies    

More and more very lean book publishers – without big organizations – are emerging from other media as a result of the fact that books can be published without big print runs or big sales forces in the digital era. This panel of new publishers will talk about the motivations behind their publishing programs, the ways they are shaping their organizations, and the different degrees to which they depend on existing publishing organizations to get things done. There has been a lot of attention to author-based self-publishing which is made possible by digital change; this is a discussion among publishing organizations made possible by the same changes.

Moderated by Carolyn Pittis
With Jennifer Day (Chicago Tribune), Steve Kobrin (Wharton Digital Press), Alison Uncles (Toronto Star/Star Dispatches), and David Wilk (Frederator Books)

2:50 pm

Random House: Distributing digital and marketing capabilities at scale

Random House (and very soon to be Penguin Random House) is the trade publisher most able to operate at scale, and they have been applying that scale in the conventional way — investing in their core infrastructure — for many years. Now they’re doing the same for their digital infrastructure and marketing capabilities. Jeff Abraham is the president of Random House Publisher Services. In this presentation, Jeff will talk about how the company is extending many of Random House’s services, including their digital and marketing capabilities, to their base of distribution clients.

Jeff Abraham (Random House Publisher Services)

3:10 pm

Afternoon Break

3:40 pm

Cader-Shatzkin Conversation

Michael Cader and Mike Shatzkin will have a conversation about subjects they discuss with many players in the industry offstage but which they can’t find volunteers to have the conversation in public. They cover the most political and fraught subjects: the future of Amazon and B&N, what to look for from a Random House and Penguin merger, what might work as a strategy for the other general publishers, and what to expect from illustrated books in digital and the various social reading experiments, and much more…

Mike Shatzkin (The Idea Logical Company) and Michael Cader (Publishers Lunch)

4:10 pm

Digital State of the Art: Best practices for making illustrated ebooks today

Publishers Launch will take a look at the commercial realities and the current state of play for illustrated ebook publishing today. With the proliferation of devices and formats and the high costs of one-off development, how can publishers make and distribute digital illustrated books more efficiently and effectively? What new opportunities for discovery and marketing direct-to-consumers do these emerging digital tools and platforms present?

Ron Martinez (Aerbook)

4:25 pm

Picturing the Future: Strategies for illustrated book publishers in the digital age

As illustrated publishers look toward an increasingly digital future, they are simultaneously developing new digital products and revenue streams and looking for ways to protect and even grow their print business. Following Ron Martinez’s survey of the illustrated digital book landscape, a panel of illustrated book publishers will share how they are charting a path forward for their companies. How do they view the digital market and the potential for competition (or collaboration) from other media and content providers? What’s the future for online print sales? How might digital products help to bolster a faltering print market? What new opportunities are on the horizon for non-traditional and specialty retail accounts? And how do the answers for all of these questions change depending on the segment of the market?

Moderated by Lauren Shakely
With Joseph Craven (Quarto Group), Tim Greco (DK), Lindy Humphreys (Abrams), and Mary Ann Naples (Rodale)

5:00 pm

Closing Remarks

Mike Shatzkin (The Idea Logical Company) and Michael Cader (Publishers Lunch)