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Scandinavian Executive Publishing Meeting 2012

Thank you very much for your participation and for making the Scandinavian Executive Publishing Meeting on 22 November 2012 a great success.
We hope the event gave you lots of inspiration from the selected speakers, a glimpse of the future, and that you had the opportunity to expand your network.
We have gathered the most important highlights from the event. You can use the links below to see the exclusive video interviews, download the program from the conference, and sign up for the next Scandinavian Executive Publishing Meeting on 20 November 2014.

We look forward to seeing you on 20 November 2014 for yet another successful event with new and interesting sources of inspiration on the agenda.
Kind regards
Poul Schilling


Executive summary from SEPM 2012

Schilling's annual Scandinavian Executive Publishing Meeting is an inspirational event for all who are involved in the strategic challenges of the publishing industry. This is an event where you can meet your colleagues from at home and abroad, make new acquaintances – and feel the burning platform. Like previous years, nearly 100 people participated in the event that once again took place at the Carlsberg Museum.

Among the participants were leading publishing executives from Scandinavia, the rest of Europe, and the US. The publishing experts from Schilling had put together a strong program with themes on innovation, branding, media convergence, and digital publishing.
The moderator of the conference was author and business expert Keld Jensen, CEO of MarketWatch Centre of Negotiation A/S. With his sense of humour and at times a little provocation, he contributed to a high energy level on a long day.
Film industry facing digital challenges
The film industry just like the publishing industry has been hit by digitisation that undermines the established business models and wreaks havoc in the value chain. Nordic Film Distribution has had to move their focus rapidly from cinema films to VHS and DVD, and now the big challenge is VOD (video on demand). You must have an acute sense of the future. Flexibility is key if you want to survive. "We have already changed our business model twice this year", Adrian Mandrup said drily. But it's not easy: Mandrup explained how they had been badly prepared for the introduction of Netflix on the market. Fortunately they were lucky! Things worked out better than expected.
Reading and writing freely and globally
Pieter Swinkels described Kobo's story – in particular the expansion in recent years and the belief in global reading and writing where Kobo's strategy has been to establish relations with a major local publisher and distribution network in a particular country and thus support the market penetration of their ebook reader. Swinkels talked about Kobo's Writing Life which is Kobo's platform for author self-publishing and for smaller publishers' access to the ebook market. And with a more open approach to formats and a less aggressive view on revenue distribution than their competitors Kobo is enjoying great success.
Going global - what does it take?
Thomas Ahlers who during a five-year period succeeded in divesting his start-up companies, ZYB and Podio, to major global players told us about his successes and failures. His message is that it is easy to create a success: just go ahead and do it. Failures happen, but you can always learn something from them. An important element that twice has lead him to successfully divest his companies to a major organisation is the team – involving the right people, finding talent across nationalities and without prejudice, thinking globally right from the start.
Can publishers live up to the expectations and demands from authors and readers?
Panel discussion: Lotte Garbers, Lisa Edwards, Kerry Wilkinson
What do publishers plan to offer authors in a digital world? And what do authors expect? This item on the agenda was based on Schilling's recently published white paper where publishing executives and authors throw light on the sensitive value chain that both authors and publishers are part of.
Garbers started the discussion by describing the lack of trust that unfortunately characterises the relation between authors and publishers today. Authors have become more professional, she felt. They demand more, and if publishers do not meet their demands, authors will go their own way. Kerry Wilkinson created his own success by self-publishing. He did, however, have to make an agreement with a publisher to market and sell his physical books in the major chains. Lisa Edwards has also felt the pressure on publishers. "We have to show authors and agents the make-up of our expenses. But this is OK with us."
Branding - more important than ever
Kasper Tang Vangkilde had an interesting contribution to the discussion about how publishers can create and maintain their brand and to whom. Vangkilde described how Hugo Boss' products are developed in a narrow space between the necessary innovation on the one side – seeing as 'the new' is the justification of the launch – and the safe maintenance of an existing brand on the other. Finally, Kasper asked if publishers will be able to create a brand around their imprint strong enough to "challenge" the author brand – in the same way that the Boss brand is stronger than that of the designer.
For a couple of years Scholastic has been involved in branding ‘The Hunger Games’ in the whole world on different media platforms. Lisa Edwards, publishing director of Scholastic, showed some examples of the cooperation between publisher and film producer where the two parties support each other in the establishment of a strong universe around the product. She noted that throughout the process the film production company acknowledged that the book was the core of the project.
Digital marketing and social media
Publishers must get closer to the end users, in other words the readers. Readers move in all the digital environments, and publishers must find ways to create connections with them where they are. Raphael represents and the concept/product "Distributed Engagement Channel". He showed examples of the tool for dynamic marketing in social media on line. According to Raphael, interaction and events around the product as well as a strong connection between content, user dialogue, and call for action are the way to go. The influence of social media is getting stronger, and publishers must pay heed to how they are discussed in the social media because it reflects the way they are seen – whether they want it or not.
Is the publishing industry ready for the major changes in the educational sector?
Kami Thordarsson is innovative strategies coach in the Los Altos school district in California. Together with her class she has undertaken a research project with the principles and interactive teaching resources of Khan Academy that make the teacher's follow-up on student learning easier as well as enhance the learning motivation for students because they control the level and speed of their own learning. In Kami's examples there wasn't a single traditional textbook from a publisher!
New players on the publishing scene
Anna Lewis and Oliver Brooks, the two founders of Valobox, also visited SEPM last year. This year we got a feeling for how an idea develops as it meets the real world. The possibility to "slice and dice" a book and get micro payment for the individual parts is very interesting in the non-fiction area – not just for user manuals but also for more popular content such as cookery books and other reference books. Since their last visit, Lewis and Brooks have succeeded in getting agreements with O’Reilly Media and Microsoft.
It may come as a surprise that young people have started expressing themselves in writing to a far greater extent than they did just a few years ago. Through their site, Movellas create a social environment for young people who want to write and share what they write with other young people. Originally a Danish initiative, it is gaining in popularity in the UK and likewise on its way in the US.
At its core, Saxo is an online bookshop. Their latest initiative is Saxo Publish where authors can publish their own books directly to the webshop – and sell directly to their readers. Saxo Publish also see that they can meet the needs of others such as for example companies and institutions who would like to make collections and reports available for selling. To raise the bar, Saxo is planning to create a "job bank" where authors can find the competences and services that will enhance the quality and design of their publications. This may prove to be a challenge for publishers.
The biggest problem for many publications is that their potential readers never find them. BookLamp's ambition is to help publishers and authors overcome this problem. The core activity of BookLamp is a continuous computer-based analysis of book publications – the DNA of writing, as they call it. The analysis provides new opportunities to compare books and generates objective metadata in a brand new way.
We hope to see you at next year's Scandinavian Executive Publishing Meeting, where the quality and relevance of the speakers will be as good as this year.

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