Time For Publishers To Engage & Embrace Changes: Sara Lloyd, Frankfurt TOC, 2009

The O’Reilly Tools of Change kicked off their first ever conference on European soil at the Frankfurt Book Fair this morning. The O’Reilly TOC conferences are well known on the digital technology and publishing circuit in the USA. Their aim is to identify the challenges and decipher the tools of change needed in the digital publishing industry while also helping to cut through the hype to provide the direction forward for a more profitable future in publishing. The O’Reilly TOC conferences ask the strategic questions needed to adopt new models of business.

Sara Lloyd, Digital Director with Pan Macmillan, spoke at the conference about the need for publishers to embrace the changes and challenges ahead in regard to business relationships with companies like Google and Apple. She stressed that these new relationships had ‘no established terms’ in the new digital publishing environment.
‘There is almost a whole new distribution chain sprouting overnight. You need to start working out how you deal with them.’
There has been much talk of how modern authors are approaching the new world of publishing and how they too are embracing the digital platforms and easier access to reaching their readers and publishing their work. Despite the explosion in self-published authors and the continued growth in print on demand and author solution options for authors, Lloyd still believes in the critical importance and role publishers have to play in the future of digital publishing. She disagreed that the role of publishers was becoming redundant as authors choose publishing solutions and online access platforms that provide them with more direct paths to their readers.
Loyd believes the expertise of publishers to navigate the complex waters of supply chains, promotion and advertising in bookshops and various media is paramount for the support and success of authors in the publishing industry.

‘Publishers have always provided a great service for the hard things, and that just has to be applied to the digital world as it has been applied to print.’

Lloyd concluded her TOC conference address to delegates by suggesting publishers must not shirk or ignore the challenges ahead, but instead, engage and embrace the new digital publishing landscape.

‘The new thing is never as good as the old thing, at least right now. Soon, the new thing will be better than the old will be. But if you wait until then it’s going to be too late.’

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