Publishing & ICT: how to work more closely together

On April 8th TISP hosted a seminar at the London Book Fair, ‘Publishing and the ICT sector: how skills are changing in these different sectors to be able to work more closely together’, chaired by Emma House of The Publishers Association which represented a live demonstration of the sort of projects that the TISP project aims to convey: innovative, collaborative and unique.

Marcello Vena, Director of Digital Business at RCS Libri demonstrated two projects that the company has been working on. With seventeen years of digital innovation experience across three continents (Europe, US & Asia), encompassing the roles of designer, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, management consultant and general manager, he now manages of the digital trade book business of RCS Libri, one of the largest European book publishers and owner of Rizzoli, Bompiani and Fabbri Editori. Rizzoli recently released La Grande Fiabe Narrate, a beautiful collection of fairy stories in EPUB 3 format where the narrative comes to life thanks to texts recited by the actors, the music and sound effects, small animations and illustrations in colour. The e-books are released once a week for twenty weeks, reminiscent of the Charles Dickens newspaper serials.

For weary, bored travellers, RCS has also teamed up with NTV to offer passengers on the Italo train network access to a free digital library while travelling. Train-users will be able to read books from devices installed on board and through their personal devices.

Laurent de Bernede was the second to take the stage as funding partner of Everlearn, and currently head of Sales and Marketing for the firm for which is involved in a number of technology start-up initiatives as both an investor and mentor. PrepMyFuture, Everlearn’s parent company, has partnered with Ellipses to aid learning by developing an online, adapted learning platform designed to help students revise for standardised tests. The platform aids students through a combination of easy-to-navigate interfaces, usable analytics and extensive collaboration to ensure that the content fits the platform.  The tool adapts the difficulty and content of its presentation to suit the level of each user individually, in order to optimise his or her study time and progress. Bernede alluded to the changing skillset of publishing, saying that ‘publishers are becoming more and more digital sales and marketing people’.

Afterwords Emma House gave the floor to Algirdas Stonys, a founder and CEO of TeleSoftas  the first Lithuanian mobile development company.  Litrecords, a subsidiary of TeleSoftas specialising in interactive e-books, has created the app Hour of the Wolf, a powerful steampunk adventure novel and the biggest Science Fiction / Fantasy best-seller in Lithuania of all times. Stonys brought his author, Andrius Tapinas, on stage to talk through the creative process. Tapinas spoke of how, as a gamer himself, he was able to bring gaming elements to the publishing process, and connect the content with younger people easily . Involving interactive maps, gaming elements and immersive elements (including ‘steam’ appearing from the iPad and the screen ‘cracking’ if a character hits it with his sword), this was an example of transmedia storytelling at its best, and particularly pertinent in London Book Fair’s first year of hosting a Gaming Pavilion, in association with UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) to showcase this kind of opportunity for collaboration.

Marisa Fernandez Esteban, EU Policy Officer, spoke about how good cooperation between the two sectors ICT and publishing can plug the e-skills gap and contribute to the prosperity of the EU as a whole and as well possibly what they can offer to foster this trend.

TISP’s dedication to and knowledge of small innovation projects, and its place as a support network for ICT partners and publishers alike was highlighted by the range of approaches, outputs and partnerships on show in the seminar. Once again, we saw just how incredible the variety of opportunities for digital innovation within the publishing sector is.

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