Books in Browsers 2012: A Publishing Industry Rushing into the Future


PETER BRANTLEY || PUBLISHERS WEEKLY || NOVEMBER 2012

I just attended the Books in Browsers (BiB) conference, which I program with the support of the Internet Archive and O’Reilly Media. BiB, held within the luminous sanctuary at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, a former Christian Science church, is distinguished from other conferences by its focus on the software engineers and user experience designers who are creating new, born-digital ways of telling stories, and it’s indicative of the audience that the most sought-after enhancement for future shows to was add a hackfest the day after the main sessions, something we will definitely incorporate in 2013.

At BiB, startups vastly outnumber established companies, and the conference has evolved into a venue for debuting new ventures and services. Rather than try to canvass the range of discussions, I’ll highlight two personal, profound impressions. The first, which I believe was shared with many of the attendees, crystallized on Friday morning after two back-to-back edge-y presentations: the first by Liza Daly and Keith Fahlgren of Safari Books Online, and the second from Blaine Cook and Maureen Evans, launching a new venture called Poeti.ca. Liza’s and Keith’s presentation was a demo of a collaborative editing tool with voice recognition software recording their keynote in realtime, integrating github and Google Docs for revision control. Poeti.ca is an online multi-user copyediting tool with a beautiful user interface and intuitive operation, befitting a startup that unites the original developer of Twitter and creator of OAuth, with a poet who has innovated in the application of social media to writing. As Blaine suggested, “What we are trying to create is a sense of joy.” >>READ MORE

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