Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Shoots of a Digital Spring

The London Book Fair as expected raised the digital bar with a string of announcements which indicate that there is no digital hiding place and action has at last started in the UK trade. Random declared widget races formally open with 500 runners today and 5000 by the end of the year. It was interesting to see their UK widget and it raises the question if the US will adopt it or whether digital federalism will prevail. Penguin and Macmillan declared digital frontlist release programmes, Faber announced their digital plans and Bertrams their vault. Academic publishers continued to move forward at pace, Ingram and Gardners showed their grasp of the issues, market and the benefits of the foundations they have already have lain.

Francis Bennett organised a series of seminars culminating in the lively and engaging Crossing the New Frontier: America and the Digital Revolution. Which showed us that although the US was indeed moving forward on many fronts, it was in reality, only a little further along the road than the UK. A number of questions were raised which merit debate and we will write separately on these over the next few days:

• The Organisational Impact of Digitisation
• Retail versus Library
• Widgets and marketing
• The Gorilla in the back yard
• Experiments
• Formats
• Double Your Money
• Is the world Publisher Centric?

Does one swallow make summer? Obviously not, but the mood of optimism show that Digital Publishing, is indeed becoming Publishing.