Bookcamp NYC was my first Unconference. I should have taken some pictures.
Book Camp was better than Smores
The day kicked off with attendee volunteers creating/hosting the sessions. It didn’t take long for this enthusiastic group to put together a full and varied schedule with topics ranging from Career Paths in Publishing to App Development to Community Building. It was hard to decide which sessions to attend.
The first session I attended was led by Mark Gomperetz, digital publisher at Simon & Schuster, and titled by the Buddha. It was very zen and it involved fingers pointing at the moon.
He began with “publishers having visions of sugar plums and ebooks dancing in their heads” but wanted the focus off the “shiny bits.” It is not the device that will #savepublishing it is the book that will #savepublishing. The point is that the question everyone wants answered is simply “what do I read next?”
The conversation veered onto brilliant apps where the eBook is useless Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and The Elements were cited. We talked about the Perseus @PeterCostanzo‘s JFK: 50 Days app which also served as a brilliant marketing piece for the book -”living the dream.”
And we talked about bundling. Bob Miller was excited about bundling backlist or a comparative titles instead of “buy the Hardcover get the eBook.”
Mark ended the session saying the book is the “moon” and the device is the “finger,” don’t mistake the finger for the moon.
My next session was led by @brianoleary of Magellan Media Partners and was titled “Is There a Career Path left in Publishing.” Brian choose 3 people to offer their views: someone with a little experience, someone with a few years of experience and someone with a lot of experience. @DonnLinn was the voice of experience and he thought there are careers in publishing but not within the traditional career paths. We talked about new skillsets required to do the same jobs. How the role of editor, marketer, and agent is evolving. We talked about how each department is not the silo it used to be. My main takeaway: it is about new mindsets.
My session #3: Curation, Collection & Community with @Ron Hogan of Beatrice.com. I chatted in the hallway too long on my way in and I couldn’t get a seat. From the hallway outside Ron’s room I heard about robust publisher created and curated communities Mulholland Books (crime fiction) and independent communities like @annkingman and @mkindness‘ Books On The Nightstand. This morphed into a discussion about official publisher policies on Social Media. @ami_with_an_i talked about “The Exit Row & Blogging as an employee.” There are inherent responsibilities but it’s worth the extra legroom.
Last session #4 for me was Paid Advertising with Matt Schwartz, Random House. We talked about banner ads (approx .08% click through) but when well targeted (Facebook) it gradually builds exposure. I wondered aloud if banner ads are the (paid & better) equivalent to consumers seeing the same book being read on the subway over and over.
Rich Media ads have a much greater click through rate (I think he said around 12%) and ads in the right environment don’t feel like spam. He talked about being careful to not cover content (annoying the audience.) He wrapped up with an interesting discussion about producing Google TV ads and mobile landing sites.
Onward to cocktail hour! One of the best things about face to face meetings is seeing friends old and new.
Many thanks (again) to organizer @ami_with_an_i and sponsors sponsors: @cursr, @kobo, @jasonashlock, @openskyproject, @oreillymedia