Consumer engagement takes centre stage as Publishing for Digital Minds names 2015 conference chairs

Unbound co-founder and QI creator John Mitchinson will chair Publishing for Digital Minds 2015, with HarperCollins’ head of events Sam Missingham as deputy chair

The London Book Fair, in association with The Publishers Association, today (07 November 2014) revealed that consumer engagement will be at the top of the agenda for the seventh edition of the Publishing Digital Minds Conference as it announced the chair and deputy chair for 2015.

John Mitchinson, the writer, publisher, TV producer and co-founder of the UK’s first crowd-funded publishing house Unbound, will chair Publishing for Digital Minds in 2015. Also at hand to steer the conference through the increasingly direct to consumer focused waters of the global publishing industry will be deputy chair, Sam Missingham, who is HarperCollins’ head of events and a co-founder of FutureBook.

The seventh edition of Publishing for Digital Minds will take place on Monday 13 April at the Conference Centre in Olympia. It will set the scene for the opening of The London Book Fair on Tuesday 14 April. It will also inaugurate the second London Book & Screen Week a week-long, city-wide celebration of London’s contribution to the global creative and content industries.

As well as Mitchinson and Missingham, representatives from Blackwell Retail, Copyright Clearance Center, Profile Books , Penguin Random House, Sophie Hicks Agency , Faber and Faber, Bloomsbury, Egmont, EDItEUR, The Publishers Association, Hachette and Publishers Weekly make up the PDMC steering committee.

As in previous years, Publishing for Digital Minds will bring together an inspirational line-up of speakers drawn from the international trade and academic publishing industry, digital disruptors, prominent thinkers and best-selling authors. With Mitchinson and Missingham at the helm in 2015, the conference will also take a closer look at how publishers and content creators can engage with consumers and thrive in a world where disintermediation is the order of the day.

Both chair and deputy chair have built the latest stages of their careers around helping to bring consumers and content closer together. With Unbound, Mitchinson has created a platform that turns readers into investors in the books they read. Meanwhile Missingham, has helped HarperCollins to forge direct relationships with book-buyers through innovative use of events that deliver both real life and social media experiences.

Commenting on his vision for the conference, John Mitchinson, said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to chair this year’s Publishing for Digital Minds Conference. As digital publishing decreases the distance between the creator and the consumer, publishers have a huge opportunity to rethink their role and the value they provide to authors and readers. I’m looking forward to working with The London Book Fair to field a line-up of speakers whose expertise demonstrates how the industry is progressing in this digital future.”

Sam Missingham added: “For me, the digital innovation that matters is all about helping publishers achieve a simple aim: getting more books into more hands. What creators and companies are doing to achieve this in different markets and countries across the world is a fascinating topic and one I’ll be very excited to explore at Publishing for Digital Minds.”

Mitchinson and Missingham will shape the programming of a conference that is acclaimed as the European digital publishing event with the greatest international reach. In 2014, Publishing for Digital Minds attracted more than 400 delegates from over 25 countries in 2014. It also continued its tradition of setting the tone of the event with an address from a leading author with Anthony Horowitz.

2015’s day-long conference will remain a highly interactive blend of keynote speeches, panel discussions and the highly popular ‘Join the Conversation’ interactive round tables will be joined by the return of Publishers’ Question Time. In this session, which debuted in 2014, members of the audience will get the chance to quiz publishing industry leaders about topical issues.

Orna O’Brien, Conference Manager, The London Book Fair, concluded: “As it heads into its seventh year, Publishing for Digital Minds has become one of very few digitally-driven events that takes a global look at the excellence and innovation in the publishing industry. It’s been such a privilege to watch it grow into a forum where we can explore the trends and ideas that are changing the whole industry, not just its digital segment. We’re thrilled that John Mitchinson and Sam Missingham are on board and looking forward to announcing the first of our exciting speakers very soon.”

Tickets will be on sale from November 2014 via www.londonbookfair.co.uk. First Early Bird discount deadline is 13th Feb 2015: £300.00 +VAT. Entry to the conference includes free entry to LBF itself (Tuesday 14 – Thursday 16 April 2014, Olympia, West London).

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