Tools of Change 2013: What Excites Me Right Now

February 2nd, 2013 · 8 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

In about two weeks, I, along with a couple thousand or so of my closest friends, will be attending the 2013 Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York. As you may have guessed, recently I’ve felt I haven’t had much to add to the digital publishing conversation. In many ways — while I know there has been exciting innovation — I’ve felt like we’ve been at a standstill.

(Or, to misquote my friend Eoin Purcell, publishers feel like they have this whole digital thing sorted. Done and done.)

Of course, if you’ve been paying attention (and I know you have), you know there is a lot of innovation happening outside the world of traditional publishing. And, to be honest, inside of traditional publishing, though I would characterize many of those experiments as baby steps instead of bold initiatives. Perhaps this is how it should be.

What I mean is that it is hard to run your core business while transforming part of it into an R&D operation. Particularly when “the future” is something nobody can define. Unless, ahem, you happened to spend a very long weekend with a 19-month old and her iPad. Then you have a clear picture of where the world of story is going, and the expectations that generation will have.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. I am very excited to once again attend TOC (and the If Book Then conference in Milan in March). I am thrilled about participating in Kevin Smokler’s Books at the Block Party: The Economics and Outcomes of a Local Literary Economy panel, a panel that also features Dan Blank, Stephanie Anderson, and Rachel Fershleiser. We’ll be talking about the physical, face-to-face aspect of our bookish culture.

What excites me even more is the Startup Showcase on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Every year, Kat Meyer and the rest of the TOC team bring us cutting edge companies doing amazing things in the world of publishing. These companies are the future.

And I’d like to highlight one company in particular: Paperight. I’ve spoken and written about Paperight more than a few times in the past couple of years because it still blows my mind.

We talk about publishing, particularly here in the United States, as if it is something we can take for granted. As Arthur Atwell, the brains behind Paperight demonstrated, in places like sub-Saharan Africa, there is a serious challenge in getting reading material to people who desperately want it. Local bookstores, much less Amazon, aren’t even potential solutions.

Atwell and his team instead utilize existing infrastructure to deliver reading material to readers. And by “existing infrastructure”, I mean telephone lines and copy shops. Customers purchase legal, low-cost books. Publishers and authors get paid. Information is shared. Goals are accomplished.

This is genius. This is important. This is innovation in publishing. I applaud every publisher and author who participates in Paperight. Nothing excites me more than the possibility to spread the joy of reading to people!

I know the TOC schedule is jam-packed with amazing sessions, but I hope you make the time to attend the Startup Showcase. More than a few friends are presenting their innovations (The Holocene and Valobox are two other standouts) and I think you’ll be as inspired as I am by their work.

And…I think you’ll have your entire perspective changed by what Paperight is doing.

File Under: The Future of Publishing

8 responses so far ↓

  • Ether for Authors: What We Leave Behind | Publishing Perspectives // Feb 4, 2013 at 11:50 am

    [...] set of ideas comes from Kassia Krozser in Tools of Change 2013: What Excites Me Right Now. She starts with an interesting comment that resonates, somehow, despite the log-flume feel of the [...]

  • Ether for Authors: What We Leave Behind | Porter Anderson // Feb 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    [...] set of ideas comes from Kas­sia Krozser in Tools of Change 2013: What Excites Me Right Now. She starts with an inter­est­ing com­ment that res­onates, some­how, despite the log-flume [...]

  • Gloria Bonnell // Feb 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I think that Paperight is wonderful! Who craes how we read – just that we do. If the “river” stays full then quality and content will continue to flow.

  • Gavin King // Feb 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I wonder if the adoption of epub 3 will be covered much. The standard is complete and retailers seem to be slowly coming to the party. Will publishers embrace multimedia into their workflows or continue to struggle with digitally enhanced content? Can’t wait to read about what everyone takes away from this years TOC to mull over and put into their test labs!

  • Johnny Ray // Apr 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I guess I am a little late for the party, but I love to keep up with what is going on. I just made plans to go to the Frankfurt book fair, where many great innovations will be introduced this year.

  • LJB // May 23, 2013 at 12:25 am

    I was watching a video about the demise of publishing, with self publishing becoming the norm. Personally I love to read as a form of relaxation and to stimulate the grey matter. As long as someone publishes something, using print or epublishing, I’m good!

  • Josh // Jun 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

    I think that is great that so many authors are self publishing their books, but I will always be a fan of print.

  • Birdy& Bambi // Jul 29, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Great blog!
    I’m wondering: Do book lovers necessarily have to be book collectors?
    I tried to get rid of my books and failed miserably
    (http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2013/07/you-get-to-decide-what-to-worship-iv.html).
    What do you think?

    Love from Germany,
    Bambi