AI, Amazon and the environment

Our top takeaways from the IPG Autumn Conference

IPG Autumn Conference

This September, Pullman London St Pancras played host to the ever-popular IPG Autumn Conference.

With over 400 attendees, the conference represented a fantastic opportunity to network with an incredible cross-section of industry professionals and inspiring speakers.

Here are our top five takeaways from the conference.

Chris Hobbs and Will Forster at the IPG Autumn Conference
Chris Hobbs and Will Forster at the IPG Autumn Conference

Publishers vs. AI

AI represents a significant challenge to publishers, with copyrighted material being ingested into AI modules at ferocious speed.

Speakers including Sarah Faulder (Publishers’ Licensing Agency) and James Bennett (Copyright Licensing Agency) made the case for appropriate remuneration to publishers, however the path forward is far from clear.

George Walkley noted that, “43% of writing could be replaced by AI”, which poses a significant threat to content writers globally.

Michael Bhaskar, however, was more positive in his assessment. He noted readers could be empowered to create unique experiences that might modulate dynamically in response to readers’ preferences. 

Whilst the future is unclear, it’s going to be very interesting to see how this technology unfolds, and the regulatory landscape that emerges to protect authorship.

Michael Bhaskar talking about AI
Michael Bhaskar discussing AI

Distribution dilemmas

A common theme voiced by a number of publishers was the challenge of finding a reliable distributor for print products.

With a number of recent closures and disruption to the market, many publishers are seeking a secure and sustainable long-term solution for their print distribution.

Hobbs offers a comprehensive global distribution service for our clients, and we would be pleased to speak to any publishers who are currently facing logistical challenges.

 
Staff member fulfilling a clients order

Acing Amazon

In the UK, Amazon controls at least 50% of the print market, selling over 106 million copies each year.

It is a sales platform that few publishers can afford to ignore; however listing, printing and distributing products via Amazon is fraught with issues and complexity.

Cam Lennon provided an excellent workshop, with valuable advice regarding product discoverability and sales conversions.

At Hobbs, we are exploring a variety of avenues to help our customers maximise the benefits of Amazon, whilst retaining control over stock management and distribution.

Cameron Lennon
Cam Lennon discusses optimising Amazon listings

Digital products

Across the conference, there were a number of interesting talks focused on the sale of digital products, specifically ebooks and audiobooks.

Digital sales are important revenue streams for many publishers and there is growing ecosystem of content creation, publication and distribution tools available.

The opportunity to create ebooks and audiobooks for our customers is an avenue we are excited to explore further in the months ahead.

headphone and books on blue background. audio book
The global audiobook market is valued at approx $7 billion in 2023

Sustainability

Sustainability remains front of mind for the publishing sector and our society as a whole.

Organisations including Book Industry Communication spoke about the importance of continued focus on improving standards across the book industry’s supply chain.

Hobbs have robust, scientifically measured environmental commitments and we are firmly committed to remaining the UK’s most sustainable print and delivery company.

 

Ecovadis and Factory

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Hobbs two vans outside the factory
Chris Hobbs on 26th September 2023