Somehow Ami convinced me to come into Manhattan on a Saturday to attend a book conference. Thankfully, it was Book Camp NYC and well worth it. Once I saw who was in attendance, I knew the level of dialogue would be very high – none of the usual vague complaining or salesmanship that mars most book/tech chats. Lots of deserved praise to the organizers for curating an excellent group.
The “unconference” format successfully broke up the traditional one-way approach, encouraging dialogue and multiple perspectives. I joined Charlie Schroeder and Emily Williams’ panel on “New Content Models & New Revenue Streams” (mostly because I loved Williams’ DBW post on subscription models). We talked about transmedia projects, including Neal Stephenson’s Mongoliad, and Richard Nash brought up the game industry’s recent trending away from subscription models (World of Warcraft) to virtual goods (Farmville). On a related note, I’m still hoping some science fiction publisher will license short fiction to an MMORPG for players to read during loading- and down-time.
Regarding subscription models, Don Linn praised Unbridled Books’ program, saying he’s liked 14 of the 16 books they’ve sent him. (An incredible batting average.) I hope more bookstores and publishers try this out. I would certainly buy a New Directions Pearls subscription if they offered one.
On my way out, I chatted with Matt Schwartz of Random House and Jim Hanas (Why They Cried) about Facebook advertising and our experiences with demographic and keyword testing. The fact that a VP from the country’s biggest publisher and a short fiction author experimenting with ebook only releases could pool their knowledge spoke to Book Camp’s inclusiveness.
A great event, all in all. Thanks to Open Sky for hosting.