Thanks to the wonders of wi-fi this posting was typed up live from Olympia in London which played host to the third Publishing Expo – their biggest and busiest yet.
It’s a decent old venue providing just enough space to mingle, view and chat to the exhibitors as well as allowing for a chance to catch up with a few familiar faces.
My own interest of course comes through award winning design and publishing company Planet Ink Limited set up two years ago with business buddy Gerry Cassidy, and I was looking out in particular for any new developments within digital publishing and on screen page turn software.
While happily we seem to be on top of most of the trends, it was interesting to note just how many suppliers have now emerged and their quite distinct marketing and development strategies.
Take the Irish based 3D Issue who offer to provide digital magazine software. It works and functions reasonably, but it lacks something of a ‘wow’ factor, and pales into the background against some of the bigger names.
The chaps at eBook Creator have a fairly attractive idea of offering a lifetime license for firms to use their software for digital publishing. But it is currently restricted to PC users ignoring the creative heavy Mac market entirely.
Nonetheless, the Copenhagen based outfit were full of energy despite their placing in the basement this time, and may be one for the watching with promises of changes to come.
Elsewhere Niche Communications have teamed up with Gerald Judd Sales to form their own publishing platform under the Zeenit banner.
And while their pricing ladder is competitive, the examples on show failed to inspire, despite the obvious enthusiasm for their own product. Hopefully they make it back next year with better.
My hopes had been high that a visit to the PageSuite stand would be worthwhile, but I couldn’t help but detect a sense of arrogance rather than excitement in their pitch, perhaps no surprise now given their high volume deals with UK publishers.
And while they should be pleased at snaring a great sector almost exclusively with a decent looking product, I wouldn’t say it is anything like being the best on the market yet – although they have a good accompanying pricing structure.
It will be telling how innovative they really are once we see future developments in their current offerings, or whether they will instead rest on their laurels. But it was disappointing that they didn’t seem to have the same spirit for the occassion as some of their rivals.
In stark contrast, the presentation from Daniel Rawles at WECLIK was the best of the day by far. Knowledgeable, informative and engaging and best of all, certified as an Apple solution expert ticking yet more boxes.
Their presentation, like their website, was slick complete with iTunes style cover flows to show off the best of their work. Also a good pro-active attitude of working with their clients to tailor services to budget.
It was my first encounter with WECLICK and they made a big impression. From the number of people around the site, I don’t think I was alone in hoping to study their products closer.
Professional as ever, Ceros Media were making a big impression at the event, helping cement their position as one of the leading companies in the field and with the financial muscle of parent company Fresh Media Group to match.
It was a chance to see their sister company BigKid juxtapositioned next to them with lots of great products to showcase relating to the next big things on the web – TV, video and mobile.
And kudos to Dominic and James on the Ceros team for being first off the mark with the traditional ‘thank you for visiting’ emailer – a sure sign that a company has its eye fixed on the ball.
There was plenty of interest too in publishing superstars YUDU who have been an ever present at the Expo since it launched, trailblazing the way for digital publishing.
They are still among the few to offer self-publishing, although WECLIK claim to now do the same, while the likes of Ceros are promising super-fast turn-a-round times in the hope it appeals to companies facing pressures of their own time.
Safe in the knowledge they already have a great and developing product range, Yudu are now also ramping up the pressure and hitting back with a new look volume based pricing structure, so little wonder there were smiles all round their camp .
Which is no mean feat when you consider there were 11 different digital suppliers at the event, which speaks volumes about the interest and demand in the technology, demonstrated by the large turn-out.
And it was clear in YUDU’s presentations to future prospects that the entire team knows their products inside out, reassuringly satisfying to those with a thirst for information.
The ever charming Rachael Jackson and Gemma Hindle were without doubt the star turns of the show.
But elsewhere at other companies there was a sneaky suspicion that some ‘glam’ hired hands may have been roped in, easily tested with a few simple questions about the technical specs of the products they were selling.
And that does leave some doubts in the mind about why they would cut corners at such a high profile event given the fact most of the audience would be serious business types with potentially big budgets to spend who could easily be turned off by such tactics.
On the whole, though, the feedback was positive from visitors end exhibitors alike, given that the event dovetailed nicely with a nearby tech exhibition along the road at Earl’s Court too which may have helped swell numbers further.
But note to organisers: The Expo on February 14 two years in a row? C’mon, give a guy a break. Unless maybe there’s a new market in digital Valentine’s Cards that we’ve been missing…..