Ten highlights from the Virtual Spring Conference programme


Ahead of our Spring Conference on 2 and 3 June, here are some of the sessions we’re looking forward to

1. Leaders’ keynotes

The Conference will have sessions from two publishers with long experience of leading both small and large businesses: Bloomsbury founder Nigel Newton and DK’s Rebecca Smart. They’ll be setting out the pandemic’s impacts on publishing and business models and some of the lessons they’ve learned.

2. James Daunt on bookselling in lockdown and beyond

James Daunt of Waterstones and Barnes & Noble is always a popular and honest speaker at IPG Conferences. He’s joining us now to talk about the huge short-term impacts of the pandemic on bookselling, plus longer-term economic and cultural implications.

3. Breakouts on change across publishing

How is the pandemic affecting different parts of publishing? We’ll find out in four parallel breakout sessions: on trade with Atlantic’s Will Atkinson and Scribe UK's Sarah Braybrooke, children’s with Nosy Crow’s Tom Bonnick and Kate Wilson, academic with Berghahn Books’ Vivian Berghahn, and professional with Globe Law & Business’ Jim Smith.

4. Tips for smarter sales and marketing

Several Conference sessions will walk us through ways publishers can grow sales at home and abroad. Consultant Andrew Sauerwine has advice for selling in to retailers, Ingram’s Ruth Jones shows how to use data to drive sales, and Kogan Page’s Louise Dickens and Alison Middle explore agile marketing techniques.

5. A look up and down the supply chain

As the book supply chain prepares for a new normal, there’ll be views on changes and challenges from three leaders: Ingram’s David Taylor, the Booksellers Association’s Meryl Halls and The Paperback Shop’s Caroline Summers. We’ll be exploring other parts of the books ecosystem too, including agenting with Curtis Brown’s Jonny Geller and audio with Zebralution’s Carla Herbertson and The Do Book Company’s Miranda West.

6. Advice on staying safe and sane at work

At a difficult time for employers and employees alike, the Conference welcomes Melissa Doman MA to suggest ways to promote mental health and positive working environments. Fox Williams’ Jane Mann will be with us to set out what businesses need to know about reopening offices post-lockdown and keeping staff safe and well. And there’ll be tips on making working practices more sustainable too, from Paula Owen of Eco Action Games.

7. The ups and downs of starting a business

What’s it like to get a new publishing business off the ground in 2020? The people behind two start-ups—Jenny Broom of Magic Cat Publishing and Adrian Hobart of Hobeck Books—will tell us about the highs and lows of their journeys so far.

8. The latest on Open Access and more

We’ll get the very latest on the lockdown’s impact on Open Access and a review of other pressing policy issues in a special academic session with UKRI’s Helen Snaith, UCL’s Margot Finn and the IPG’s academic and policy correspondent Richard Fisher. Other speakers focused on the academic sector include ProQuest’s Helene Stewart, with thoughts on optimising discoverability for libraries.

9. Opportunities abroad

For publishers who haven’t yet properly exploited rights, help to manage and trade them is on hand from a Conference group of four: agent Isobel Dixon, PLS’ Marjon Esfandiary, Kogan Page’s Amy Joyner and Virtusales’ Kat Coveyduck. Other international dimensions to the Conference include talks from Michael Gordon-Smith of the Australian Publishers Association and Peter Schoppert of the Singapore Book Publishers Association.

10. Views from beyond publishing

As always at IPG events, we’ll be getting the perspectives of experts in worlds other than our own. There’ll be a keynote from popular tech and media analyst Benedict Evans, plus a session on staying productive from Mark Leruste, a specialist in leadership and entrepreneurship.

The full programme can be found in our special Virtual Spring Brochure.