Tuesday, 31 March 2009

if:book goes to Oxford

The Book is Dead: Long Live the Book

Friday, 3rd APRIL

Chris Meade, Kate Pullinger and Bryan Appleyard
6pm McKenna Room, Christ Church £7.00

Is literature as we know it really moving from printed page to networked screen – or is this just hype? Our panel will examine the impact of the internet (the ‘read/write web’), and other new media on the book. It will debate whether fiction is becoming interactive, collaborative and non-linear, and how new technologies such as e-readers and print-on-demand machines are changing the way we read, write and consume literature. Panellists include Sunday Times' critic Brian Appleyard, Chris Meade, former director of the Book Trust, now director of If:Book, a ‘think and do tank’ exploring the impact of new media on reading and writing, and writer Kate Pullinger, whose novels include A Little Stranger and www.inanimatealice.com, a multimedia graphic novel in episodes. Chaired by Lucy Atkins.



Strategies for digital publishing in a time of uncertainty

Chris is one of the speakers at this day-long seminar, part of the London Bookfair.

Date/Time: 19 Apr 2009
Location: Earls Court One, Level 1, Cromwell Room
To book a place CLICK HERE

For American book publishers these are challenging times. The economic downturn is hitting hard an industry once thought by many to be recession-proof. Bookstores are reporting sharp declines in sales and traditional channels for books are shrinking and consolidating. Consumer confidence is low, reading skills and literacy levels are falling, and readers have more competing distractions than ever before.

While they confront today some of the toughest trading conditions they have ever known, American publishers have not forgotten tomorrow. Many are actively investing for the future with innovative and experimental programs focused on building tomorrow’s book industry. Central to these innovations is an understanding that America’s readers are changing and that a generation of consumers is emerging with radically different expectations about how content should be published, consumed, priced, and protected.


13.00 Welcome coffee
* 13.30 Introduction and Welcome
Michael Healy – Executive Director, Book Industry Study Group
* 14.30-15.30 Setting the context: Understanding the market and consumer

Understanding tomorrow’s digital consumer by knowing what they are up to today
Kelly Gallagher – Vice President, Publisher Services, R.R. Bowker.
* The American market for e-books today
Michael Smith – Executive Director, International Digital Publishing Forum
* Publishing strategies for the changing consumer
Chris Meade- CEO, if:book London on Imagination & Digitisation

15.30-15.45 Coffee break

15.45-16.45 Publishing strategies for the changing consumer

Academe 2.0: Responding to changes in student and professor expectations
Ken Brooks -Senior Vice President, Global Production Services, Cengage Learning
* The future of trade publishing in a digital marketplace
Mike Shatzkin – CEO, The Idea Logical Company

16.45-18.00 New Services and experiences for the changing reader
* It’s not about the technology; it’s about the reader – creating an immersive reading experience that rivals the book.
Neelan Choksi – Chief Operating Officer, Lexcycle/Stanza
* Books and busy lives – adapting to changes in reading habits
Susan Danziger – Chief Executive Officer, DailyLit
* Understanding the Google book settlement: what will it really mean for the market?
Jan Constantine - General Counsel, The Author’s Guild
* Creating the conditions for success: how standards are helping the digital market
Michael Smith – Executive Director, International Digital Publishing Forum
Michael Healy – Executive Director, Book Industry Study Group

Panel discussion - Q& A session

18.00 End of the conference

Monday, 23 March 2009

reading in colour 2

The colour e-book has arrived already - and I read somewhere it would take ten years to develop. It's pricey and not available here yet but... this is the thing that makes the screen better than paper for reading books on. Oo-er!

Monday, 16 March 2009

update on activities

Here's a brief update on if:book london's current projects.

On April 2nd we launch Songs of Imagination and Digitisation, a networked anthology inspired by the spirit of William Blake and including work by Lisa Gee, Sue Thomas, Tim Heath, Tim Wright, Toby Jones, Toni Lebusque, Sasha Hoare and Bill Thompson.

We're currently piloting our major education project, Motfothotbook, funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and using all kinds of new media means to help Year 8/9 students engage with literature of the past, present - and future. We've commissioned new work by Naomi Alderman, Cory Doctorow, Chris Joseph, Daljit Nagra, Alison Norrington, Jacob Polley, Kate Pullinger, Eva Salzman, Ross Sutherland...

The Golden Notebook, a unique experiment in on-line reading funded by Arts Council England involved eight women reading Lessing's work and commenting in the margins of a digital version of the book as they went along. The full text and accompanying conversation can be seen - and added to - at www.thegoldennotebook.org.

if so flo is an unconference to be held on May 1st for leaders of literature organisations to look at the threats and opportunities arising from the first networked recession.

Our if:bookgroup salon meets monthly(ish) at different venues, most recently the South Bank Centre.

Chris will be speaking at the Oxford Book Festival in April. More details soon.

Email chris@futureofthebook.org.uk for further information on any of the above.

Chris ponders how much there is to do...

Monday, 2 March 2009

arts funding we deserve

Last week Alastair Niven, now running the Cumberland Lodge conference centre, once Director of Literature at Arts Council England, hosted a colloquium on whether we have the arts funding system 'we' deserve, with speakers including Jude Kelly and Alan Davey, CEO of ACE. Tim Joss was the only speaker to present a vision for another way of funding the arts, based on his downloadable book New Flow. He imagines the closure of ACE, The Craft and Film Councils and the creation of two new organisations, one focusing on artistic experimentation and the other on audience engagement. I like the radical approach but feel the most exciting work of all bridges the two.

Other opinions expressed seemed all too familiar. ACE has been engaged in a constant process of restructuring for as long as I can remember. Centralise then give power to the regions, replace artistic lobbying with effective managers - then decide to centralise again, bring back peer review by fellow artists, stress excellence over education... and then start the cycle again. Meanwhile organisations bring in big guns to lobby against cuts to their grants in an environment when it's impossible for anyone to debate how good their stuff is. Oh, and how strange to be in an environment these days when so little attention is given to the Great Digital Revolution. It's almost refreshing, but actually concerning that despite regular mentions of webness, the view of the arts from Cumberland Lodge seemed to be essentially about activities in buildings that bring colour to grey lives, whereas I reckon the web gives nearly all of us access to a cacophony of culture. The issue is how to choose creatively, and what bits genuinely needs funding to sustain and expand the national imagination.

Cumberland Lodge
was an ideal setting for this timely opportunity to view the bigger picture of how we fund the arts at a moment when the existing structures of funding are under pressure.


..from last week's gathering at the South Bank.

How can a playground be used to stimulate creative writing? How can people on either side of political divides create a written world together? How can we make new kinds of booklike entities which unfold through time connecting people and ideas? These were some of the questions discussed at the if:so salon with a roomful of remarkable people: experts in play and gaming, writers, publishers, poetry and literature promoters, designers and artists.

hattie coppard presents the snug kit

the group thinks

kate pullinger and toni lebusque consider

writer and curator of the poetry site www.likestarlings.com caleb klaces talks to snugandout's tim coppard

giles lane of proboscis and pete law of somethin else