Meet the new crop of Tech Forum & ebookcraft talent

The speakers for Tech Forum & ebookcraft 2019 are starting to pour in. We’ve got some to share with you today, more coming early in January, and, best of all, a flash sale where you can take $25 your ticket price with the promo code HOLIDAY25. Valid only from Dec. 10 to Dec. 21, 2018, so hurry and register!

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ebookcraft speakers

Here are our newly announced speakers for ebookcraft’s main day on March 19, 2019.

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Dave Cramer, Senior Digital Publishing Technology Specialist at Hachette Book Group, will be pontificating on The Past, Present, and Future of Digital Publishing That Hasn’t, Isn’t, But May Still Meet the Promise of the Web. EPUB has been around since 2007; EPUB 3 came out in 2011. We’re told we live in an age of digital disruption, but little has changed in ebooks since before the very first ebookcraft. What’s going on? What might the future of ebooks look like? Should we use EPUB 3.2? Will there ever be an EPUB 4? Are Web Publications real? Part history lesson, part unhinged rant, part futile attempt to predict the future, Dave Cramer will shed light, or at least heat, on the big picture.

Nellie McKesson, Founder and CEO of Hederis, will join us to talk about Pagination in the Browser. More and more publishers are exploring ways to add automation to their workflows, and looking for tools that can replace or at least speed up the traditional InDesign workflow. Unfortunately, today’s standard automation tools can’t match the page quality that InDesign offers (at least not without tedious time-investment). At the same time, e-reading systems continue to vary widely in their support of standard Web design elements. Both of these reasons explain the continued interest in finding browser-based pagination solutions — as page-layout alternatives and as browser-based reading systems. Nellie will explain the problems that publishers are facing, and how web-based pagination can offer a solution to those problems. She’ll also go over some of the tools available today and those in development, a few case studies, and some of the theoretical concepts behind browser-based pagination.

Teresa Elsey, Senior Managing Editor (Digital), Trade Publishing at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, will deliver a talk called Building Ebooks That Last that will answer the question: “How does my company build ebooks that will still work in two years, or five, or ten?” Taking a pragmatic approach based on real-world examples of ebooks that did not last, with a dash of the theoretical that considers how web archiving work might apply to ebooks, Teresa will cover workflows, common issues that prevent ebooks from being sold, standards compliance, link rot, accessibility, and more. She will also look at how web communities are talking about digital archiving and how this might apply to ebooks.

Tech Forum speakers

Meet the new crop of Tech Forum talent speaking on March 20, 2019.

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Jordyn Martinez, Sales Representative, National Accounts at Simon & Schuster Canada, will demonstrate how to sift through the piles of data — from backlist and comp sales to forecasting popularity — to find the pieces that will really sell your book. How does your book line up with current trends in genre and entertainment? How can you pinpoint which bits of data to use, and which to ignore? Where does your gut fit into your sales strategy? Find the kernel and you’ll find your answers. 

Wendy Reid, Senior QA Analyst at Rakuten Kobo Inc, will be talking about Speccing the Void: Adventures in the Audiobooks Abyss. Kobo audiobooks launched in 2017 and as a QA on the project with a passion for EPUB, Wendy’s first question was, “So what is the spec for audiobooks, it’s like EPUB right?” Instead of being offered a link to a spec doc, she got shrugs. This presentation will introduce everyone to the process of creating something where there wasn’t something before (how the important thing to consider is whether or not your expected audience even wants it) and demoing what Kobo has done so far.

Christian Roy, President at Brix Labs, wants to know: How do we discover books? Sometimes we ask people, but more often than not, we ask search engines (“thriller Brazil,” “kids’ books dragons”). But these tools rely on the way books are described. But there are thousands of ways to describe a book and publisher time is limited. And book metadata is not always sufficient for all types of queries. Plus, discoverability is being increasingly performed through recommendation engines that are often based on historical sales data, not on the actual content of the books. Projet TAMIS was launched to address these challenges. Researchers are using algorithms, open source code, and free or cheap APIs to extract descriptive information about books from books and to do it at a granularity and scale that would not be possible for humans. Using AI to Address the Discoverability Challenge could have huge potential to enrich traditional metadata, as well as create new ways to discover books. 

Léonicka Valcius, Assistant Agent at Transatlantic Agency and Tech Forum speaker extraordinaire, sits down with this year’s keynote speaker, Ritu Bhasin, to discuss the current landscape for diversity and inclusion efforts in the publishing industry and what can be done to drive further innovation and change in a Fireside Chat.

For more information about ebookcraft or Tech Forum, visit the conference website. If you’d like to sign up for our conference mailing list to be the first to know about all future speaker and session announcements, sign up here.

We hope to see you in March 2019 in Toronto!