I attended the 4th annual Digital Book World this week. I have made it to every one of them. I find it a great way to start out the year, learn what is going on, network and feel the pulse of the industry. This is also the third year I have moderated a panel. I enjoyed this year and look forward to #5 in 2014.
Great Way to Kick off the Year – as a consultant with clients and potential clients strewn across the world, DBW is the gathering place to meet all of them face-to-face. Technology has allowed us to do so much remotely, but nothing replaces meeting in person. I find January perfect for everyone has made it through the past year with holiday sales and vacations over. Many in the industry are ready to work on new initiatives and projects. DBW fits into that mind-set. It is Spring Training and everyone has an opportunity for the World Series. New budgets, new initiatives. new scoreboard.
Learn What is Happening – no single presentation or panel is going to answer every question. If I can get at least one bit of wisdom; one idea; one new way of thinking about an issue per session, I am satisfied. DBW more than delivers in that sense. Plus the informal chats are invaluable. I get tons on ideas and it helps understand our ever changing industry. Again, there will never be the “golden ticket” to success (the world has never worked that way), but there is a lot of collected wisdom. I have pages of notes of thoughts and ideas.
Networking – This is one of those things that every book tells you is invaluable for success. It is. But saying it and doing it two different things. Plus networking isn’t something one just does at these meetings but is a constant, year-long process. DBW is a key component for it though. I am still counting, but I have calculated that I spoke with close to 150 people. Some were exchanges of greetings with people I have known for years, others new introductions and many people I currently work with or for. This part could take a dozen posts to describe. But, I meet people I have met “virtually” through Twitter and LinkedIn. I also randomly run into many people. The key is to be there. Must get out and see people. Show up!
The Pulse of the Industry – This can not be quantified. It is an overall feeling. By having all these industry people in the same place and thinking about the same issues creates an overall vibe. This year, I felt industry confidence. In past years, it was more fear and wondering what will happen next. Sure there is always that. But digital has been integrated into every publisher. It is an accepted part of sales, marketing, editorial and publicity. The tools are available and many publishers are making tremendous headway. So that base is solid. But there is also a sense of what happens next? That curiosity is what will continue to drive our industry.
Digital Book World 2013 was very valuable. It is a great launch to the year. As with any conference, you get from it what you put in. I want to thank Shatzkin, Cader, Nussbaum, and Jess Johns (and I am sure many others) for their tireless work and insight for another tremendous conference.