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Digital Book World Conference and Consumer Electronics Show: Past and Present

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A number of conferences dealing with electronic technology occur on a regular basis. Two of these are the Digital Book World Conference and the Consumer Electronics Show.

The Digital Book World Conference, a conference on publishing and digital change, is for all book-publishing professionals. This includes senior management, editors, agents, marketers, digital strategists, and others. It is unique in that it helps publishers address business challenges created by digital change.

The first annual Digital Book World Conference took place in New York City January 26-27, 2010 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers. Planners of the conference conceived the idea in June, put together the Conference Council in July, and drafted the initial program in August. They geared panels and talks towards the changing digital book business. It had three main themes: Evolving the Business Model, EBooks: Opportunity or Threat, and Marketing in the Digital Age. Topics discussed included management of digital rights, pricing of eBooks, and timing of eBook releases. The goal was to provide an outstanding program with expert speakers for attendees to takeaway practical ideas, and to include sponsors and exhibitors capable of offering appropriate tools for implementing the strategies individuals learned about at the conference.

Attendees were professionals from five continents representing more than 240 publishing companies including Amazon.com Digital, Barnes&Noble.com, Crown Publishing Group, Google, HarperCollins, Macmillan, National Geographic Society, Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, Random House, as well as many others. Individuals from all areas of book acquisition, production, and distribution were present at the conference. Among them were CEOS, Senior Agents, Directors of Marketing & Sales, Editorial Directors, Directors of Strategic Partnerships, and Directors of Digital Assets.

The second annual conference, Digital Book World 2011, coming up January 24-26, will again be held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in New York City. The theme this year is Managing Risks; Seizing Opportunities. On Monday, January 24, conference attendees can participate in three-hour workshops in the areas of eBook Design and Production, Content Strategy and Transmedia Development, and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing and Sales.

Planning for this year’s conference is well ahead of last year’s schedule. As they plan for the upcoming conference organizers need to predict what the relevant digital change questions will be and what will be relevant to the target audience of book-publishing professionals in January 2011.

The Conference Council, a group of about 30 made up of CEOs, representatives from large and small publishing houses, retailers, digital strategists, retailers, and independent leaders, will plan the programs and choose speakers who will address the relevant issues and problems that trade publishers are facing as they move into digital publishing. Not only is the technology of e-readers progressing rapidly, but e-Ink technology is improving alongside it opening new horizons for digital reading. According to the review “What’s Next in e-Ink Technology“, the new generation color E-Ink products are certainly crisper and offer better resolution and color reproduction that anything else seen to date and we expect to see electronic ink begin to compete with LCD displays (Digital Book Readers).

Another conference, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) puts on this technology-related trade show, which is not open to the public. Attendees must have a professional affiliation with consumer electronics. The CEA reinvests all profits from the show. They go towards such things as industry promotion and services, technical training and education, development of engineering standards, and legislative advocacy.

Originally, in 1967, CES was held in New York. Then in 1978, it started being held twice a year. In 1998 the show once again changed and went back to the once a year format. The CES gained popularity in 2004 after Comdex was cancelled.

The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, held January 7-10, had an attendance of more than 120,000. The most impressive e-book readers at the show were Skiff Reader and Plastic Logic Que proReader – touchscreen devices with integrated 3G. Also at that show, several companies announced 3D-compatible HDTVs and four companies announced standalone 3D Blu-ray players. Intel demonstrated a new Wireless Display technology (WiDi), and Motorola introduced the new Backflip Smartphone.

The next CES, January 6-9, 2011, will have more than 300 conference sessions covering every aspect of the consumer electronics industry. The full conference lineup will be available October 1, 2010.

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