Last week Sheridan attended AWP 2015 (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) in Minneapolis, along with more than 12,000 other attendees and exhibitors. We went to the conference in high spirits and with three goals for our time at the event:
- See as many of our customers as possible,
- celebrate our 100 year anniversary,
- and find out what the new needs and priorities are for publishers.
We achieved goal number one with great success. Many a hug and handshake were exchanged as we discussed the past year’s accomplishments in print, received nice words about Sheridan’s customer service, and introduced one another to new team members and projects. We love our literary customers, and AWP gives us an opportunity every year to see many of our favorite editors and publishers who are doing amazing, creative work in the literary space.
Sheridan’s centennial celebration was a great success, too. You can’t go wrong with cake, right? We served more than 80 slices to AWP attendees on Thursday afternoon, and we gave out festive hand clappers and blowers to keep everyone in a celebratory mood for the rest of the conference. We are very proud to hit this milestone, and grateful for the opportunity to commemorate it with everyone at AWP.
Our third goal was achieved with guidance from some great customers and prospects. We know that digital is still at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Paper isn’t dead, but readers want options. We’ve been investing in digital print and online content technologies—from our Dynamic Edition to eBook conversion—for more than 5 years, so we’re familiar with the current landscape, but at AWP we gained much more insight into the heightened focus many literary publishers are giving these platforms.
We heard over and over again at AWP that the big concern is how to distribute electronically. You create an ebook or a web-based edition of your publication, but then what? How do you get it into the hands of your readers, and how do you do it in a way that’s still economical for you? There was a lot of talk about delivery of the issue, and a lot of talk about e-subscription sales.
These conversations provided us with really useful feedback to bring back to our technology team and Technology Lab. We were encouraged, too, to know we are already moving in the right direction. We have ebook conversion offerings, Sheridan Dynamic Editions, and e-commerce solutions to support a variety of selling options for single issues and subscriptions in electronic and print form. Thanks to the valuable discussions we had with many publishers at AWP, we are confident that we have, and will continue to develop tools to serve the literary market.