It's that time of year again—time for the New York edition of the Tools of Change conference, the digital publishing meeting, February 14–16, at the New York Sheraton Hotel & Towers. Now in its fifth year, the conference has grown bigger with each show, and this year's edition offers another excellent slate of speakers, panels, and networking opportunities that examine what it means to publish in the digital age.
Certainly 2010 was a breakthrough year for digital publishing—the launch of the Apple iPad; Google's cloud-based e-book venture, Google eBooks; and a surge in e-reading devices and changes to platforms like the Kindle. This year's panels include the usual array of topics, from forward-thinking, experimental models to nuts-and-bolts practices. Registration is still open at www.toccon.com/toc2011.
Among the speakers and panelists at this year's program:
Margaret Atwood: the award-winning author will offer her take on "the publishing pie," examining how the largest changes and challenges since Gutenberg will affect authors.
Theodore Gray: the software developer and author will discuss his work on The Elements, one of the most successful e-book titles for the iPad.
Ben Huh: the former journalist and founder of Cheezburger Network, best known for FAILS, LOLcats, and other funny memes, will talk about popular Internet culture.
Kevin Kelly: Wired's senior maverick will talk about generating value in a "free copy" world.
Brian O'Leary: the founder of Magellan Media will offer a "unified theory of publishing," discussing how a "container-first" model that strips metadata from content hampers digital discovery.
Skip Prichard: the Ingram president and CEO will examine the seismic changes in the publishing world, where, for the first time, both content format and delivery are changing at the same time.
Abe Murray: the Google Books product manager will participate in the publisher CTO panel on e-reading, discussing how systems and interfaces must adapt as the very definition of a "book" is in flux.
Heather McCormack: the editor of Library Journal's book review section will lead a discussion on the thorny issues involved with lending in a licensed, consumer e-book world.
John Oakes and Louis Rosenfeld: former traditional publishers will discuss their startups (OR Books, Rosenfeld Media) and look at publishing business models.
Richard Nash: the always insightful and entertaining Nash, founder of the soon-to-launch digital publisher Cursor, will participate in a discussion about copyright in the digital age.