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Annual Spring Conference 2016

Event Details
End date: 04 March 2016
Venue: Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park
City: Enstone
Region: Oxfordshire
Post code: OX7 5UF
Contact e-mail:
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The 2016 Annual Spring Conference is to be held on Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 March 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire. The tenth IPG Independent Publishing Awards will be given on the second evening at a gala dinner hosted by BBC TV and radio journalist Tanya Beckett, and the IPG’s Annual General Meeting follows on the morning of Friday 4 March.
Conference keynote speakers will be former Business Secretary and widely respected economic expert Vince Cable, and Elsevier chairman Youngsuk Chi. Wednesday's special after-dinner guest is comedian, writer and soon-to-be Unbound author Andy Hamilton.
Conference firsts this year include a morning of training sessions ahead of the start of the Conference proper on Wednesday 2 March, with delegates able to mix and match workshops from options including help with sales, metadata, copywriting and SEO. The Conference will also feature a new ‘buddy’ scheme, pairing up first-time delegates with long-standing ones so they can make the most of their experience.

'Buddy' scheme

If you have booked your place and would like to sign up for the 'buddy' scheme, click here.

Conference programme

WEDNESDAY 2nd March 2016
10.30am Registration Opens. Collect your Conference pack from our reception desk and meet your fellow delegates over tea and coffee
Train to Gain. In a new feature for the first day of the Conference, ahead of the main plenary sessions we are pleased to offer a round of training workshops. Run by experts in their fields, these clinics will equip you with tools and ideas to make your business even better. Choose from two options in a pair of sessions.
11.30am Mastering Metadata. Brush up your skills in metadata, the all-important stepping stones to publishing success, with the help of EDItEUR’s Graham Bell
OR Copywriting Magic. Learn how to write copy that sells with Nick Sunderland of Why Projects and Jon Sayers of Boom Communications. Their fun challenges and exercises will help you find your tone of voice, write great headlines, structure your copy and avoid clichés
12.15pm A Sales MOT. Are your sales strategies and processes fit for purpose? Join experienced sales consultant Martin Palmer to reflect on your achievements and identify areas for improvement
OR What You Need To Know on SEO. With online discoverability now so important, Search Engine Optimisation can unlock crucial sales. Consultant Alex Shaw reveals the secrets of making search engines work for you
1pm Lunch. The first of several opportunities to catch up with old friends and make new ones. This is also the time to hear what our Conference exhibitors can do to help your business; remember to complete your Exhibitors Passport to stand a chance of winning some terrific prizes
2pm Conference Welcome. As the main programme of the Conference gets underway, IPG chair and Rowman & Littlefield International chief executive Oliver Gadsby welcomes delegates and sets the scene for what is to follow over the next day and a half. The first three digitally themed sessions all make up our first Digital and Marketing Quarterly event of 2016
2.15pm Keynote Speech. Independents can learn a lot from giant publishers like Elsevier, and we are thrilled to welcome its chairman Youngsuk Chi to the Conference. He will reflect on rapid change for operators in all sectors of publishing through the 21st century, and on the role and value of publishers now amid so much freely available digital information. He will discuss issues including copyright, global opportunities and innovation, and look ahead to how publishing and learning might evolve in the future
3pm New Routes to Readers. With digital channels shaking up the way publishers sell content, this session takes a look at new models for reaching readers. John Mitchinson of Unbound discusses how crowdfunding opens up new consumer relationships, while John Hudson of Historic England considers what publishers can learn from the business model to better understand market trends and tastes
3.45pm Coffee Break. Another chance to chat and meet our Conference exhibitors
4.15pm The Evolution of Ecommerce. Get to grips with the building blocks of great ecommerce with the help of a world-famous publishing brand. Elizabeth Baldwin of the Harvard Business Review Group gives insights into sales strategies, direct online marketing, distinctive branding and the evolution of digital content
4.45pm The Digital Landscape. With digital publishing now a mature market, where should publishers look for opportunities and how can they best balance print and electronic content? Kobo chief executive Michael Tamblyn is our expert guide to the new landscape, scoping the many different ways publishers can now promote and sell to their customers
5.30pm You and Your Business. Our longstanding Conference tradition gathers members together in small groups to discuss one another’s businesses and books. It is an informal and sociable way to get to know fellow members and widen your knowledge of publishing
6.45pm Drinks and Dinner. Join us for a drinks reception hosted by the IPG board followed by dinner. Our after-dinner speaker is comedian and writer Andy Hamilton, the consistently entertaining contributor to numerous TV and radio shows including QI, Have I Got News For You and The News Quiz. He is the creator of popular series including Outnumbered and the author of a novel soon to be independently published by IPG member Unbound, and is sure to be a big hit as a speaker. Don’t forget to bring some cash to join our fun dinner raffle in support of The Book Trade Charity
10am Keynote Speech. Today’s keynote speaker is Sir Vince Cable, former Business Secretary and a widely respected economic expert. He will consider the opportunities and challenges facing small and medium sized UK businesses at home and abroad, suggest steps they can take to ensure they thrive and ponder pressing concerns including the looming ‘Brexit’ vote. As an author with IPG member Atlantic, he will have a good appreciation of how independent publishers are placed in the current economic climate
10.30am Taking the Direct Line. As publishers try to crack the direct-to-consumer market, Ruth Jones of Ingram Content Group shares advice for marketing and selling to customers through websites and social networks. Fresh from its acquisition of D2C business, Ruth will offer a sneak preview of Ingram’s new D2C service to be launched at The London Book Fair
10.50am What To Do When Cash is Tight. Our recent Independent Publishing Report revealed that cashflow is the most challenging aspect of business for many small and medium sized companies. Chris Burton-Brown of Mylor Financial Management joins us for a pacey session exploring practical ways for staying on top of it, while Globe Law & Business’ Jim Smith adds a growing publisher’s point of view
11.10am Coffee Break. More time to network, socialize and talk to our Conference exhibitors
11.30am Staying the Course. What are the secrets of enduring businesses? And if good firms run into difficulties, what can they do to turn things round? This session brings together valuable perspectives on each issue: Toby Faber of the Faber & Faber family on the seven habits of longstanding independent publishers; and Polly Powell of Pavilion Books on the successful turnaround of some established brands
12.15pm Break-out: Adventures in Audio. Audiobooks can be a valuable source of extra revenue for trade and children’s publishers. Few know more about the audio market than publisher, producer, consultant and Creative Content founder Ali Muirden, and she offers ideas for making the most of the new opportunities that digital platforms have brought to the sector
OR Break-out: The Age of Discovery. How can academic and professional publishers improve the discoverability of their online content and increase user engagement? Covering everything from metadata to marketing, Susanna Lob of OnlyConnect Consultancy and Dan Barker of dancan provide practical tips on how to maximise usage.
1pm Lunch. Mingle with fellow members over some food and drink and meet more of our Conference exhibitors
2pm Break-out: Making Data Work for You. Good businesses are driven by discipline and data. Bloomsbury’s Petra Green has advice on the best ways of structuring your work processes and putting smart data analysis at the heart of your decision-making and sales and marketing strategies.
OR Break-out: Rights v Distribution in North America. Sell book rights or arrange exports and distribution? It is the big question for publishers wanting to make the most of the North American market. Experienced children’s publisher Jill Coleman weighs up the pros and cons of each approach and outlines the issues to think about when setting your strategy. We will also have a view from the ground in North America from Eric Kennaugh of the American International Distribution Corporation
2.45pm Negotiate Your Way. Negotiations are part of everyday business life, but are you aware of the common negotiation mistakes that could be limiting the deals that you do? Writer Natalie Reynolds, author of the just-released We Have a Deal from Icon Books, has some solutions for publishers wanting to talk their way to satisfying contracts and agreements
3.30pm The Legal Eagle. In our perennially popular Conference legal slot, Mary Elliott of Fox Williams LLP delivers expert analysis of the latest legal issues confronting publishers
3.45pm Tea Break. Talk to our exhibitors and complete your Exhibitors Passport
4.15pm Break-out: The State of the Market—Trade. How was 2015 for sales in trade and children’s books, and what can we expect for the rest of 2016? Jo Henry of Nielsen Book crunches the numbers to reveal the hotspots and black spots of the market and the key trends for publishers to be aware of this year
OR Break out: The State of the Market—Academic and Professional. The academic and professional markets face some stiff challenges at the moment—but big opportunities remain for the best publishers. Kingston’s Martin McQuillan gives us a university professor’s perspective on the current state of teaching, funding and research and the interaction of academics and publishers in writing and collaboration. We will also have views from the other side of the fence from Bloomsbury Academic & Professional’s Jonathan Glasspool
5pm In Conversation with PLS. What can the Publishers Licensing Society do for you? Chief executive Sarah Faulder discusses how it can help independent publishers increase their income and protect their rights
5.15pm Modern Retail: Surprise Guests. We round off the day with a look at 21st century retail, welcoming some of the sector’s leading operators to contemplate its strengths and weaknesses and what publishers can do to maximize sales for everyone
5.45pm Conference Closes for the Day
7pm The IPG Independent Publishing Awards Gala Dinner. Dress up smart for our extra-special tenth Awards Dinner! After a drinks reception and food we will celebrate the cream of independent publishing in our Awards ceremony, hosted by BBC TV and radio journalist Tanya Beckett. The very best of luck to all the companies and individuals on the shortlists!
FRIDAY 4th March 2016
10am The IPG AGM. Join us for our Annual General Meeting as we look back on the last year at the IPG and ahead to the rest of 2016 and beyond. We will be electing the IPG’s officers, reporting on our activities and welcoming input from members. Note: IPG members only
10.30am Coffee. A final chance to network and socialize before departure.
The gold sponsor of the Conference is Ingram Content Group.
Interested in exhibiting at this event? We’d love to hear from you—please email us. An exhibitor form can be downloaded here.
With thanks to our sponsors:
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Also exhibiting at the IPG Annual Spring Conference 2016:
123libraryFinidr FirebrandFocus
Inspired Selection PLS POD-wwStison
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Annual Spring Conference 2016
Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park
Enstone Oxfordshire OX7 5UF