NEW YORK—The Digital Book World Conference & Expo (DBW) isn’t designed for authors.
And that’s fine. Various sectors of the industry! the industry! have every right to get together by and among themselves to consider things from their own viewpoints and on behalf of their own interests.
As good as our authors are at contorting themselves, day by day, in the search for how to exercise their craft and genius in a world that keeps changing, I’ve wished many times that our writers could be along on these occasions to see and hear how the establishment talks to itself.
Then again, at other times, I’ve been worried at how many authors don’t seem to think it’s important to listen to publishing’s internal dialectic. So much to learn there. But our entrepreneurial author movement may at times be just as guilty of dissing the suits as the suits can be of denying the rising force of authorial careerists.
In its fifth anniversary stomping of the hotel carpet — held this week in New York — #DBW14 was again led by longtime publishing wonk Mike Shatzkin as a show the business built. Shatzkin’s elevator pitch was ready at the outset of his comments: “The purpose of this event is to provide the information and insight publishers need.”
At times, the 1,500-person, three-day conclave was gently rocked with corporate consolation, as in Sourcebooks publisher Dominique Raccah’s talk on reframing failure as opportunity and even inspiration.
At other times, #DBW14, as we hashed it, crackled with inquiry: consultant Joseph Esposito revealed that some library book suppliers will ship faster—indeed with Amazonian efficiency—if librarians place their orders through “our friends in Seattle”; and so, he told us, many librarians are doing exactly that. Prime stuff, baby.