Where in the World Is Florrie?
by Florrie Binford Kichler
In business, as in life, relationships matter. The internal strength of IBPA has always depended on the publisher-to-publisher connection, sharing knowledge and experience with one another either electronically or in person. Building connections is equally critical in the industry at large. Effectively advocating for and defending our members’ rights, bringing you the latest information from educational and other industry events that affect you as an independent publisher, and introducing new marketing and benefit opportunities are just a few of the advantages that come from IBPA’s presence and influence “out there.”
Which is why one of the major elements of my job as president is to represent IBPA on boards and at publishing industry events, trade shows, and conferences. When I’m out there, so are you, and so is IBPA. So grab the boarding pass, the laptop, and the baggie with 3 ounces of liquid and join me as we take a whirlwind tour of where IBPA and I have been over the last few months and view a snapshot of what’s coming up.
If It’s January, It Must Be Digital Book World
As is the case with many book industry conferences these days, Digital Book World featured general and breakout sessions focused exclusively on digital publishing. IBPA agreed to be a “supporting” organization of the conference, which netted our members a discounted price to the event and gave us the opportunity to staff a table in the exhibit hall. I was able to connect with several folks who were already IBPA members and many publishers who were interested in becoming members, as well as with numerous vendors who were great prospects for providing future benefits.
The overarching message from Digital Book World was best expressed in a presentation by the Book Industry Study Group and Bowker on the results of BISG’s first survey of Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading. Kelly Gallagher of Bowker said that all consumers care about is getting their content when, where, and how they want it, and the challenge for publishers is to stay ahead of those wants and needs. And, according to the survey, the number-one reason readers acquire e-books rather than p-books? Affordability.
Next Up: Tools of Change
February brought the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference, which again focused on digital books—the marketing, production, distribution, and copyright protection. Although I was unable to attend this one, IBPA board member Steve Mettee represented our association at the conference and was kind enough to provide on-the-spot coverage on his blog while I provided background coverage on the IBPA blog. Take a look at one or both blogs for details: ibpablog.wordpress.com for the IBPA blog, and thewritethought.com/blog for Steve’s blog.
Spring Brings a Conference on Business
In early springtime, a publisher’s fancy turns to the Publishing Business Conference and Expo.
IBPA was once again a supporting organization, which meant our members could attend this conference at a discount. A dual-purpose event that serves both book and magazine publishers, it let me audition possible speakers for our own Publishing University, network with many independent publishers, and be your educational eyes and ears at the sessions.
My favorite session was the CEO Roundtable featuring the publishers of Chelsea Green, HarperStudio, and Clint Greenleaf of the Greenleaf Book Group, who has been a loyal speaker at our own Publishing University. More details about this conference can be found at ibpablog.wordpress.com.
March Comes In Like a Lion—But Ends with the Public Library Association Show
As I write this, I am packing my bags for Portland, OR, this year’s home of the every-other-year Public Library Association show. Lisa Krebs, IBPA’s assistant director, and I will be representing your titles in the IBPA cooperative booth during the three-day show, which attracts librarians from all over the country and beyond.
I freely admit I’m a trade show junkie and never happier than when I’m standing in the IBPA booth, finding the perfect title for that buyer whose customer or patron is searching for a book on fly fishing in upper Montana, organic cooking for children, historical fiction set in the 17th century, or any other of the almost infinite number of topics on which you, our members, are experts.
I am also excited this year to have the opportunity to meet the members of our IBPA affiliate in Portland, the Northwest Association of Book Publishers, as I will be speaking at their regular meeting.
Early May Brings BISG’s Making Information Pay
I am fortunate enough to fill IBPA’s seat on the Book Industry Study Group board, which meets every other month. The only organization that brings all segments of the book industry together to search for solutions to industry challenges, BISG works to “create a more informed, empowered and efficient book industry supply chain for both physical and digital products,” and board members represent organizations as large as Random House and Amazon and as small as single-person consulting firms.
IBPA has partnered with BISG on numerous educational initiatives, including the publication of Digital Printing for Dummies. For BISG’s flagship educational conference, Making Information Pay, held in New York City on May 6 this year, we once again got a discount on the conference fee for IBPA members. As your onsite representative, I not only network but also report the highlights of presentations to those of you unable to attend.
IBPA Publishing University Caps It All Off
It is my honor to be IBPA’s spokesperson in the industry, and I thank you, the board of directors, and the staff for that opportunity. Nowhere do I feel that responsibility and honor more than at Publishing University, taking place in New York this year on May 24–25.
The IBPA Publishing University is the only program that emphasizes real tools for real publishers working in the real world and covers the entire spectrum of what you need to know to start, run, and grow your own publishing company, all the while encouraging you to build relationships with your fellow attendees and instructors.
I’ll be behind the podium once again at this year’s event, joining megamarketer Seth Godin, publishing pioneer Dominique Raccah, and a cast of hundreds of the best teacher-experts publishing has to offer. Look for me in front of the podium too. I hope to speak to you there—in person.
Follow Florrie and IBPA on Twitter at twitter.com/ibpa, and on IBPA’s blog at ibpablog.wordpress.com. Join Independent Book Publishers Association–IBPA group on Linked In (linkedin.com).