The IPG will be holding its Annual Spring Conference for the 54th time in March—and as we promise every year, we are striving to make this the biggest and best one yet.
We have just unveiled the full Conference programme
, and as in previous years it is heavily influenced by what members have told us they want. Feedback from events of the last few years suggested that people would prefer to compress the content into two rather than three days, so this year we have packed everything into Wednesday 2
and Thursday 3 March—though we hope you will stay on briefly with us on Friday 4 March for our Annual General Meeting and coffee. We know you all have busy lives, and hope this new approach will help you get the most out of your time away from the office.
This year’s line-up has also been shaped by the Independent Publishing Report
, the major survey of members that we published with Nielsen towards the end of last year. The report found lots of reasons to be cheerful
, but it also identified a few areas of concern that we will be tackling at the Conference. They include cashflow, perhaps the biggest single issue for start-ups in particular, and together with a session on how to ensure longevity in independent publishing we hope to provide lots of ideas for steady and successful growth.
Elsewhere on the speaker line-up we have big names including former Business Secretary and economic expert Vince Cable—and whatever your politics, there will be some lessons for all small and medium sized businesses. As our second keynote we are pleased to welcome Elsevier chairman Youngsuk Chi. No matter our size, we can all also learn something from publishing giants like Elsevier, and this will be a good opportunity to reflect on change and opportunities in publishing.
Big themes of the Conference include the ever-evolving ways of reaching readers, tackled by Unbound’s John Mitchinson, Kobo’s Michael Tamblyn and Harvard Business Review Group’s Elizabeth Baldwin. We also have a comprehensive range of break-outs, tailored to the many different sectors in which IPG members publish. Audio, discoverability, data, rights, distribution and trends in trade sales and academic publishing are some of the issues we will look at here.
There are a couple of new features to the Conference this year. One is a package of training on the first morning that we hope will set you up with some new skills in various fields, and the other is a scheme to give any first-time delegates who wants one a Conference ‘Buddy’ to help ease them in. Events like these can be daunting, and we think this will be a nice way to introduce people to the friendly and sharing spirit of the IPG’s community. As one of our delegates has put it
, the Conference has "a heart-warming feeling of mutual support, and I felt like I met a group of people who would happily offer help and advice—and, in time, maybe I will have something to offer them."
While some things are new, we are retaining many popular Conference features like our first-night dinner and entertainment, provided this year by the brilliant comedian and soon-to-be Unbound novelist Andy Hamilton. We also have our longstanding ‘You and Your Business’ slot, plus lots of opportunities for networking and socialising. And on the Thursday night we will have our tenth IPG Independent Publishing Awards
—an extra-special celebration of our members’ phenomenal achievements. If you have not yet entered, we warmly encourage you to do so before the deadline on Wednesday 3 February
We are really looking forward to a great couple of days at our Conference, and hope you are too. Why should you come? "It's like a lunch with a trusted friend, or a meeting with a valued business adviser—you realise afterwards how much you enjoyed it or how much you learned from it," says our honorary president Jonathan Harris
. "For me it ticks both those boxes: plenty of friends to catch up with, as well as new friends to make; and heaps of advice, both practical and thought-provoking. I wouldn't miss it."