On Thursday, June 19th, Humber College and the Book and Periodical Council, in association with IFOA, returned to Harbourfront Centre for another year’s successful Book Summit. This year, the theme among presentations, labs, and panels was “In Bed With the Reader: Marketing Uncovered,” and speakers looked at everything from bookbuying data to the cost of owning a bookstore to marketing case studies. They examined the past, present, and future of publishing in print and online communities, and the new and old challenges of each. Throughout the day, attendees and speakers alike bombarded Twitter with #bksummit14 updates, and had the hashtag trending by the afternoon.
The presentations opened with “A View of Publishing’s Future” with publishing guru Mike Shatzkin, followed by “Big Ideas from Big (or Small) Data) with Peter McCarthy and then a conversation between them moderated by Humber College’s Cynthia Good.
The morning breakout sessions delved right into marketing, distribution, and circulation, offering a new spin on tried and true tactics and offering context for a variety of the industry’s current obstacles and struggles. In “Hits and Misses: Marketing Case Studies,” with Ashley Audrain from Penguin Random House and Jennifer McCartney from Skyhorse Publishing, attendees got the opportunity to see behind some of the publishers’ wacky, successful, and unsuccessful marketing campaigns, with hindsight 20/20 of course.
Other options for morning sessions included “The Book Distribution Game” with Kevin Hanson from Simon & Schuster Canada and Scott Waxman from Diversion Books, “Social Media: The Naked Truth” with Evan Jones of Stitch Media, or “Hot New Models 1: Circulation Models,” a panel of Sarah McNally (McNally Jackson Books), Brad Allen (Lawrence Public Library), and Andrew Weinstein (Scribd), moderated by National Post’s Mark Medley.
After a delicious, lakeside lunch, breakout sessions resumed in the afternoon with explorations of data, numbers, business, and branding. Summit-goers could choose from “By the Numbers” with Peter McCarthy and BookNet Canada’s Noah Genner, Brand Uncovered with David Doze of Pilot PMR, or two panels: Hot New Models “Hot New Models 2: Business Models” (Trena White, Page Two Strategies, Jennifer McCartney, Skyhorse Publishing, Kirby Kim, Janklow agent, moderate by Diane Davy, Castledale Inc.) or “Non-Traditional Publishing Communities” (Hugh Howey, writer, Ashleigh Gardner, Wattpad & Mark Lefebvre, Kobo, moderated by Mark Medley).
After the final breakout sessions, Book Summit attendants flocked back to the Fleck Dance Theatre for a keynote presentation from Upworthy’s Sara Critchfield: “The Data of Desire.” How can we combine metrics, platforms, and branding to help readers get what they desire? How can we harness the power of social media to track reader preferences and convert them into sales? Critchfield discussed marketing, data, and the power of the “human algorithm” in a keynote that provided a stimulating, provocative close to the day.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support Book Summit 2014 and contributed to another great year! We look forward to seeing you next year!
And a special thank you to all of our generous sponsors, who made Book Summit 2014 possible.