ENTRIES TAGGED "bowker"

Three years of TOC at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Trends, topics and transformations in a market undergoing change

O’Reilly Media took its Tools of Change in Publishing Conference to Italy for the first time in 2011, teaming up with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair organizers to focus on opportunities for children’s content in digital publishing. That year the conference attracted 270 delegates from 27 countries, mostly publishers and developers. It was the first foray into the digital conversation for at least 40% of attendees. Two years and three conferences later, TOC Bologna has grown both in numbers as well as participant make-up, with authors and illustrators joining the discussion, and has spearheaded a maturing professional exchange on how the children’s sector might adapt, and thrive, in the digital landscape.

This article provides an overview of TOC’s three years at Bologna and highlights the trends, topics, and transformations currently at the forefront of a market striving to re-define itself as it heralds the future of publishing.

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The ISBN still has a place in the digital world

The Economist may think ISBNs are doomed, but Bowker's Laura Dawson has a different take.

A recent post at The Economist declared the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) an analog relic that “increasingly hampers new, small and individual publishers,” and an industry shift toward digital is “weakening its monopoly.” The post stated:

“Self-published writers are booming; sales of their books increased by a third in America in 2011. Digital self-publishing was up by 129%. This ends the distinction between publisher, distributor and bookshop, making ISBNs less necessary. … in the digital realm what matters is not the number that a publisher gives a book, but how easily it can be downloaded and for how much.”

I reached out to Laura Dawson (@ljndawson), product manager for identifiers at Bowker, to find out if the ISBN is indeed on its way out. Our interview follows.

Is the post at The Economist onto something? Are ISBNs becoming less necessary?

Laura DawsonLaura Dawson: ISBNs are necessary if the self-published author intends to sell her books using the traditional book supply chain. If the author is selling direct from her own website, or solely through Amazon (which doesn’t require ISBNs), then no ISBN is necessary. But if the author is distributing her books through a third-party distributor (such as Ingram, or Bookmasters, etc.), then an ISBN will be required. If the author is placing books at Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million or Hastings, an ISBN will be required.

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Sifting Through All These Books

We have a massive and growing supply and demand imbalance in the book business. And, as the technologies for creating and distributing books becomes trivial, the supply of books is just going to keep growing exponentially…. How are people going to sift through all these books to find what they want?

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