Two weeks ago we made our way to the Adams Street Private Members Club to attend the latest Bookmachine event: the greatly anticipated launch of the first ever Blook in partnership with Kingston University. For those already baffled, this is not a spelling error, it does read ‘Blook’ which is a book made up of blogs. The blogs have been taken from the Bookmachine archive, and discuss digital innovations and discoverability in the publishing industry. The Blook was produced by the students of Kingston University’s Publishing MA as part of their production module. A worthy venture for all involved, as the students were able to gain valuable production experience preparing them for entry into the industry and Bookmachine were provided with a beautiful new publication.This event resonated with us, and so even after two busy weeks here at Inspired, the launch of the first Blook is very much in our thoughts.
Entitled Snapshots, the Blook’s theme well and truly encompassed the evening with photographs being taken from all angles and polaroid’s instantly capturing all the action. The scene was set for an interesting discussion from the panel of Blook contributors Charles Catton (Publishing Manager – Amber Books), Erik Huang (Digital Publisher – MadeinMe), Felice Howden (Little, Brown Book Group) and Sheila Bounford (Strategy and Business Consultant) in which they were asked to provide one image or snapshot they believed represented the publishing industry.
Charles kicked of the discussion with an image of space and a pre-prepared speech he professed to be riddled with an infinity of metaphors. Despite the puns, the image represented digital publishing in which vast new things were being born, rapidly gaining mass and substance yet still remaining undefined and unclassifiable. Erik Huang’s image of old book spines was to represent everything new is actually old. He stated publishers believe thinking digital is a new way of thinking, however in order to innovate we must look to the past and observe how they redefined publishing to create new content.
Felice Howden produced an image of a Meme stating “It’s a trap!” on top of a cross-eyed alien. This was not a negative dig at the publishing industry, but rather a response to her task of the evening in which it was a trap to try and define the publishing industry in one image due to its constant changing state. She also highlighted everyone’s experience of publishing is very different and therefore to find one snapshot of publishing would not be representative of the whole. Sheila Bounford on the other hand took to the task wholeheartedly, after an apprehensive start and some crowd sourcing on Twitter she produced an image she had taken herself the previous evening in Tyneside. She alluded to the analogy of the phoenix, that like Tyneside, the publishing industry needs to rise from the ashes of a past dominated by original legacies and re-erect itself in the wider commercial cultures of today’s modern society. It was such an interesting discussion, we couldn’t help but take a pad full of notes!
The publishing industry is facing new challenges and can be hard to define, but one thing is certain, and that is we all love working in the industry. Events such as BookMachine prove that publishing is still a developing industry, with experienced publishing professionals and up and coming publishing graduates working together to create something new and fresh can only be a positive for the future of publishing.
Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter