When you bother to look into content and into consumers, you find we are about to reinvent the whole game.
The annual Publishers’ Forum, opening today in Berlin, aims to reach beyond the usual scope of publishing conferences. From Artificial Intelligence to Big Data, and Video Games to Virtual Reality, Publishers’ Forum is “going full circle.”
Publishers’ Forum host and organizer Rüdiger Wischenbart asserts that publishing today is, indeed, a cycle, and not a straight line leading directly from author to publisher and finally on to the reader. As director of the event since 2015, Wischenbart has encouraged debate and critical self-examination of a wide range of industry assumptions, all while puzzling over the notion that “the business of books is expanding, converging and fragmenting all at the same time.”
As Wischenbart tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally, “In continental Europe, we are in a very weird situation right now. When you interview lots of publishers, you could think that we are in a lull where nothing much is happening. E-books have not caught on as massively as in the US or in the UK. No big failures, no big crashes have been seen for quite a while. Even the mergers and acquisitions have a little bit calmed down. So many people think not much is happening.
“At the same time,” he continues, “we see with virtual reality, with machine learning, with big data analytics, with semantic, that when you bother really look into content and into consumers, you find we are about to reinvent the whole game. That’s what we want to look into.”