If the headline writers are to be believed then we are an industry on our last legs, struggling against an inevitable demise but that isn’t what I see – I see the buds of innovation and creativity starting to bloom and I for one can’t wait to discover and help shape what they grow into.
In the last two weeks I have been lucky enough to see some wonderful, innovative apps from publishers and publishing partnerships that show just what the publishing industry is capable of evolving into and, if the makers are to be believed on the figures, how they can thrive whilst doing it.
Because far from being the 'death of publishing' the digital revolution and the rise of the tablet is offering publishers a way to create products that can compete directly with games and movies for the attention and money of the mass-market audience, by creating immersive storytelling products that inspire, enlighten and entertain (to steal DBPs own USP).
Anyone who has seen Heuristic Media's London - A City Through Time cannot fail but understand the opportunities now afforded to the publishing industry, particularly we illustrated non-fiction publishers who have been looking for a way to connect with the digital-user but have lacked a viable ebook solution. What Heuristic have done is create an expansive app, that offers people incredible amounts of history, personal story, video, audio and text but in a user-friendly environment, breaking it down for them so they aren't overwhelmed.
Children's publishing has already been moving in this direction, Nosy Crow a fine example of making apps that children (and their parents) enjoy using and come back to time and again - but who also make it work financially by treating their apps like any other IP and successfully selling foreign rights licences. And I must make a quick mention of Magic Town (mainly because my son adores this app) which creates a rich, engaging and imagination-inspiring world from which children can explore a wide range of books from a range of publishers - the app is free and has some free books but you can subscribe to give your child access to the full range of books available that month.
I personally left these two presentations (The Appside and The Lit Platform/Futurebook Innovation Workshop) reminded and rejuvenated about the inspiring, engaging and entertaining industry we work in. And personally I have mentally taken some of our most recent pitches from editors that might not be books and moved them squarely into my 'potential digital product' pile.
Publishing is dead, long live publishing!
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