Back in the ‘90s, ebooks were hyped as the next BIG thing, with many pundits boldly proclaiming that print was dead. It never happened. In their first iteration, ebooks failed for many reasons. But now, according to research published by The American Association of Publishers (http://www.publishers.org/main/IndustryStats/documents/S12007Final.pdf), ebooks have risen again like a Phoenix from the ashes, turning in a compound annual sales growth rate of 55% between 2002 and 2007, versus an anemic overall trade book growth rate of only 2.5%.
Why the surge of interest in ebooks, and how can ebooks fit into the digital publishing strategies of today’s book publishers?
This session, moderated by Mark Coker of Smashwords, will feature a blue ribbon panel of ebook industry experts who will provide attendees diverse opinions on a wide range of ebook industry trends and issues, including DRM, reading device trends, consumer awareness and consumer marketing trends, ebook self-publishing, how Amazon’s digital self-publishing offerings might upset the balance of power in traditional print publishing, digital ink technologies, and more.
Mark Coker is founder and CEO of Smashwords, a Silicon Valley digital publishing startup that aims to change the way books are published, sampled, marketed and sold. Smashwords launched January 2008 at Tools of Change in New York, where Coker unveiled the company in a Lightning Round Presentation.
Coker’s previous startup, BestCalls.com, was acquired and is now owned and operated by the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. His work with BestCalls, as a champion for fair disclosure, was a catalyst for the SEC’s ground breaking Regulation FD. See this link to Wikipedia for more info on BestCalls.
Coker is also co-author, with his wife, of Boob Tube, a novel that explores the wild and wacky world of daytime television soap operas. It was his frustration trying to get Boob Tube published that led him to conclude the traditional book publishing industry is broken, not just from the perspective of authors and publishers, but for readers as well. He believes Smashwords holds the promise to make publishing more profitable for authors and publishers.
Joe Wikert is a publishing executive with 20+ years of industry experience. He is currently General Manager of the OTX division, which publishes the storied “animal books,” at O’Reilly Media, Inc. Prior to joining O’Reilly he was a Vice President and Executive Publisher in the Professional/Trade division of John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and had management responsibility for the WROX and Sybex imprints. Since graduating from Purdue University with a degree in management and computer science, Joe has held a variety of sales and editorial positions in the publishing industry. He is also the author of seven books on programming languages and computer applications.
Joe regularly shares his publishing industry thoughts and outlook on his Publishing 2020 blog which can be found at www.JoeWikert.com. As the proud owner of an Amazon Kindle, Joe also blogs about his e-book reader experience on www.Kindleville.com. He can be reached through his blogs or via e-mail at email@example.com.
April L. Hamilton is an author, blogger and leading advocate for the “indie” author movement. In her popular self-published reference book, The Indie Author Guide (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1434857689 or serialized on her blog at http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/), she offers aspiring self-published authors a roadmap to publishing success. She is also the author of several novels available in both ebook and POD form. As a former engineer and software designer of 15 years, April enjoys immersing herself in ebook, Print on Demand and other emerging publishing technologies for self-published authors.
I founded TeleRead.org – devoted to e-books, digital libraries and related topics. We’re an influence in our little niche. TeleRead advocated OpenReader, which in turn helped spur the IDPF to release the ePub standard. I’m also author of The Silicon Jungle (Ballantine), The Complete Laptop Computer Guide (St. Martin’s), and four other nonfiction books. In December 2008, Twilight Times Books will publish electronic and paper editions of The Solomon Scandals, my Washington newspaper novel—a mix of suspense and satire on D.C.’s oft-bizarre ways. Among the formats? ePub. My interests include e-book devices and related hardware such as OLPC’s sharp-screened XO-1, e-libraries, copyright, business models for E, digital divide issues, the DRM debate, and, of course, format standards. I consider both traditional DRM and the Tower of eBabel, as I’ve dubbed it, to be lit- and sales-toxins in most cases. One possible DRM-related compromise might be social DRM.
I’ve been writing about e-books since the early 1990s and am the author of the TeleRead chapter of Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier (MIT/ASIS), where I call for a well-stocked national digital library system carefully integrated with schools and libraries—-and the popularization of book-friendly hardware. TeleRead-related articles have also appeared in the Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report, among other places.
One of the co-founders of E Ink, Russ Wilcox leads the Company as President & CEO. Previously he played senior leadership roles in the company’s sales and marketing, intellectual property, strategic alliance, finance and R&D functions. Wilcox was also active in corporate development efforts that raised financing for E Ink and secured world-class partnerships. In previous positions Wilcox launched new products related to speech recognition and Internet commerce for Boston-based technology companies. While at Corporate Decisions, Inc., Wilcox advised technology companies in the U.S. and Europe on business strategy, product marketing, consumer loyalty and financial valuation. Wilcox earned an honors degree in Applied Mathmematics at Harvard University and received an MBA with highest honors from Harvard Business School.
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