Let's keep the flame burning: lockdown edition
Readmagine 2020 managed to adapt to the impossibility of bringing the participants together at Casa del Lector as in previous editions through a collaboration and digitization strategy. This organization along with Digital Publishing Summit adapted to the difficulties that arose for a physical event during the first wave of Covid-19 for a meeting based on the interaction of some professionals with others at the very beginning of June. The bet that involved quite a few risks catapulted Readmagine as a global event, which during these days is bringing together 550 professionals from the international publishing industry.
- What was learned about how Kobo works as a company during this (and implications forward).
- What was learned about readers and relationship to reading.
- What was learned about the industry as a whole.
And what the company had learned in this part of the experience was that it’s important to diversify vendors beyond one geographical area, because it’s not enough to have multiple vendors in the same market: “And the same is true of any children’s book publisher doing all their colour printing work in China.” He also declared: «This is a perfect time for the ebook. Over the course of 60 days, we gave away over 15 million books to people who were staying safe at home. The results were surprising…»
It will be interesting to see the commitment & reactions of people in the coming months»
When the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez organizers of Readmagine asked Tamblyn for a personal motto he proposed this one: “Under stress, we learn what is essential in reading – the words, the stories, knowledge, escape or immersion. Everything else is just a means of delivery”.
However, one of the wonderful surprises that Busch’s intervention contained was that, before delving into the description of the current situation, he did a quick and complete review of the strategic evolution and results of each of the operational phases during the last decade of the group he leads.
When the anthropologist Verónica Reyero presented in Readmagine her insights on consumer trends during the lock-down there were few data on the hands of the content industry and the publishing community was very interested on understanding the impact of those extreme conditions might have upon this industry.
The first idea from Reyero was: “Homo Sapiens have a great capacity to adapt to new contexts -we can live in the Sahara desert at over 45 ºC and in the North Pole under 30ºC. Its no surprise how quickly two thirds of the world´s population adapted to a total lock-down”.
What things will remain the same and what will change after Covid-19?
The social effects and consequences of confinement have been studied in the past by anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists. However, cases studied in the past were mostly focused on jail prisoners, and/or social experiments -like having a group of people in a small boat on the sea for a month-, and other extreme situations. But, what has happened in our homes since March? How have we been thinking and behaving? Has this situation changed us? And if so, how and why? The covid effects on our behaviours and attitudes requires a close examination. Many people reconnected with themselves, their houses, spouses, and even far friends and families through the numerous videocalls that happened in the first weeks. Remote work was already pending for years, and now it arrived to our lives in a matter of days.
Alexandra Borg / Erik Wikberg
“The book industry is undergoing a tremendous change during the pandemic -and the companies that is the most resilient to these changes are the publishing houses and retailers that already digitalized a lot before Corona.” And also added: “This development will have far-reaching consequences from both a business and a democratic point of view”.