Skills and attracting talent for the book industry were cross-cutting themes during most of the Readmagine 23 sessions.
Luis González (FGSR) coordinated a conversation with María José Gálvez (Spanish Ministry of Culture), Christoph Bläsi (University of Mainz) and Porter Anderson (Publishing Perspectives) in which they discussed the training challenges for the industry and shared their opinions about the ideas to keep in mind during the next years.
In the presentation of the session, González explained the opportunity that this issue represents for the foundation which directly addressed the skills when PARIX (school for the Book in Spain) has just been created as a programme dedicated to train the professionals in the whole book value chain. Therefore he then proposed the following issues for discussion:
- New technologies
- Competition with the big digital platforms.
Porter Anderson stressed that it was essential to experiment and test (especially thanks to the incorporation of new people into the industry) what can work well between technologies such as AI and what may be irrelevant to the world of books. Accordingly, this is precisely the type of person to look for: those who have the «Test ability».
Regarding «Audiences» Bläsi stressed that it was interesting to work with students who are already involved in communities or social networks that generate audiences (for example, Tik-Tok). This means asking them to be «professionals» (from medium-sized publishers) in the sense that they learn to publish and promote things, even if they don’t like those things for their content. However, Bläsi also acknowledged that not many of his students would have this type of profile.
In this video you can also follow the interesting considerations by Porter Anderson on the different ways of attracting talent and, specifically, to bookstores, based on an anecdote that James Daunt told him about the success of giving autonomy to staff who work in their stores to explain on Tik-Tok what they like to read.
In the same field of skills to work with audiences, Bläsi contributed with his ideas about middle-aged people and Anderson explained the dynamics set in motion by Tandem Collective.
Subsequently, the matter of studies on reading behavior was discussed as a source of information for the definition of the new toolkit for the industry.
Another challenge is the very image of the book industry. Bläsi and María José Gálvez pointed out that in continental Europe the salary level is noticeably lower than in the rest of the industries (which is not the case in Great Britain). Gálvez also did some considerations about the image of the industry, because this is very diverse, and it would be necessary to refer to one or another subsector of the industry. On this level, María José Gálvez referred to the «intangibles» of this industry, which are attraction factors.
González recalled that when the first Readmagine was held (in 2006) and then it began to be organized annually since 2013, a fundamental line of work was to «import tools from other industries», among which answers regarding accessibility can be found. and sustainability. Based on these questions, María José Gálvez, Christoph Bläsi and Porter Anderson commented on their ideas on the rest of the related issues: what kind of professionals does the industry need? increasing weight of visual narratives such as comics? Definition of criteria? Listen to the people who want to join the sector and those who are already working in it? Perceptions about the publishing industry?
Christoph Bläsi (born 1960) is professor for book studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany (since 2009); before coming back to academia he had held senior positions in digital publishing and strategic information management of various major German publishing houses (1992-2004). Christoph Bläsi´s current research areas include artificial intelligence applications in publishing, (particularly economic aspects of) educational publishing as well as cookbooks (following an approach including Digital Humanities); at the moment, he is involved in two collaborative research projects, Aldus Up, the Creative Europe-funded European Network of Bookfairs, and AuROA, a project funded by the German government on aspects of the Open Access book in the humanities and social science.
María José Gálvez is managing Director of Books and Reading Promotion in the Spanish Government is in charge of promoting literary creation and translation, supporting the publishing industry and promoting reading, specially through public libraries. Previously she was Editor-in-chief for Tirant lo Blanch publishers, and previously worked in the Spanish Parliament and national government. Gálvez is Associate Professor at Carlos III University of Madrid, she holds a PHD in Constitutional Law.
Porter Anderson ( @Porter_Anderson ) BA, MA, MFA, is a journalist, speaker, and consultant specializing in book publishing. Formerly with CNN and CNN International as well as the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and The Bookseller, he is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives, founded and operated by Frankfurt Book Fair New York. Publishing Perspectives is the news medium for the international trade publishing industry. With Jane Friedman, Anderson produces The Hot Sheet, a private subscription newsletter of expert industry analysis written expressly for trade and independent authors. Within the past year, Anderson has spoken and/or covered and/or programmed events in international publishing at venues including Frankfurt Book Fair and its Business Club, The International Publishers Association’s 32nd World Congress in New Delhi, StoryDrive Asia in Singapore, London Book Fair, Publishers Forum in Berlin, BookExpo in New York City, the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, PubTechConnect in New York City, The Muse and the Marketplace in Boston, FutureBook in London, the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York and Los Angeles, Digital Book World in New York, Sharjah International Book Fair and the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in the UAE, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) in Tampa and Washington.
Luis González. Director General at Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (FGSR). After a degree in Law was selected for the Senior Administrators Corp (Spanish National Administration) and worked in several Ministries at senior posts. As a civil servant also was member of the Board of Directors at Enresa, the JET Steering Committee and was awarded with the C.D.S. Raimundo de Peñafort for his outstanding services to the rule of law in Spain. During his period at the Ministry of Culture designed and directed the National Reading Promotion Plan (2001/4). At FGSR he launched several projects as PARIX, Readmagine, Renodo, Casa del Lector, Lecturalab, Canal Lector, Lectyo or Lectylab and participated in EU projects (Tisp, Redes1234, Aldus Up, Sidt). Luis is a member of the Steering Committee and the board of Directors of the Spanish Association of Foundations.