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IBPA Publishing University Recap

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IBPA-Publishing-UniversityWhat was your primary objective for attending IBPA Publishing University?

Richard T. Williams, Director, Publisher Development, IPG: This was my 9th year attending the show; normally I participate on behalf of Small Press United, because it’s a small press show with a wide variety of publishers and self-published authors, many of whom are looking at distribution options (of which there aren’t many left).

Kelly Peterson, Client Services Director, INscribe Digital: I really wanted to attend IBPA to meet with Elizabeth Turnbull, a member of IBPA’s board, and to lead the panel “What Makes Customers Click to Buy.” So many publishers believe that sales are up to the retailers; really, it’s largely in the publisher’s control. We believe in giving publishers the tools they need to turn their own books into strong sellers.

ibpapull1How was this year’s program different from others you’ve been to in the past?

Richard: IBPA has been slowly changing its focus as the industry has changed, and now they’re concentrating on a very specific and growing vein of self-publishers that is all but ignored by the traditional book trade. Each year they seem to expand their demographics and I’ve seen a wider range of new publishers from all walks of life.

Kelly: This was the first time I attended IBPA, but I have to say that I was impressed by the team. Angela Bole is organized, and despite her protestation that she is an introvert, she was a rock star presenter.

What was the program’s biggest success, in your opinion?

Richard: The show instills a very strong sense of community and shared knowledge in a varied group of people. Publishers go in feeling like they’re isolated and come away feeling like a part of something larger. It’s still not yet strongly connected to the traditional trade, but IPG serves its role well as one of the few companies willing to connect.

ibpapull2Kelly: I also loved doing the “Ask the Experts” program; because they asked what areas you like to discuss. I got a chance to discuss some topics I hadn’t since my last role (as eBook Manager for Borders)! That was a treat.

What would you want to see differently next year, either on the part of IPG/INscribe or of IBPA?

Richard: IPG either needs to develop a way to accommodate hybrid (this year’s buzzword) publishing models or make a decision to become a distribution program specific to the self-publishing tier and the very specific audience that it reaches, which is not the traditional trade.

Kelly: I would love to be a part of IBPA even earlier next year. They have a vibrant community, and I look forward to being a part of it. I’d love to see even more attention to IPG/INscribe…after all, they are comprised of independent publishers, and that’s right in our name!

What was your main takeaway?

ibpapull3Richard: The show is a vital resource for publishers who are just getting started or for self-publishers wanting to know what they must do to cross the bridge into the traditional side of the industry. It is not a must-attend show for established publishers who have already made inroads into the trade.

Kelly: There is an interesting new market of small publishers coming up: they are thematically tight and highly motivated, and are looking to brand their own content. They are really filling the niche marketplaces, and I can’t wait to get to know all of them!

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