Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rubin Pfeffer: EBooks and Apps

Rubin Pfeffer is famous for challenging children's book writers and illustrators to think of ourselves as "Children's Content Creators."

He is a veteran of the children’s and adult trade industry. He has served as President and Publisher of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, SVP and Chief Creative Officer of Pearson, and as SVP, Publisher of Children’s Books for Simon & Schuster. Pfeffer joined the East West Literary Agency in December 2009, as a partner and established the Boston base of the agency. He works with such luminary talents as Patricia MacLachlan, Marion Dane Bauer, Steven Kellogg, Susan Cooper, Judy Sierra, David Diaz, Richard Jesse Watson, Jesse Joshua Watson, Jeff Mack, Mike Austin, and a host of other published and new talents. In addition, he consults regularly on digital content for the Ruckus Media Group.

Rubin Pfeffer presenting his session on EBooks and Apps

Rubin starts off his breakout session by describing the spectrum of digital publishing, on one end: ebooks which are simply screen versions of the printed book.  In the middle: enhanced ebooks, where the story is enhanced with other medium: audio, animation, sound effects, things like that.  At the other end: Apps, that don't necessarily even look like a book anymore.  If the App is based on a book, they might leverage the world or characters of the story to include activities or games.

He's running down the current technology (ipad, kindle fire, nook, droid, kobo, and other proprietary devices) and sharing some eye-popping statistics on the growth of tablets.

There are six macro trends that he wants us to consider.  Here's one:  The demise of brick and mortar stores... Though he has a hunch that we will begin to see a Renaissance of niche Children's book stores!

We're learning about Zombie books (the ability to bring back old books that were considered "dead") and the impact on reluctant readers of being able to change the font size - which changes their experience of reading a book, and so much more!

Rubin challenges us to imagine the opportunities of this statement:

"New technology always creates new content."

He's sharing so much more, and answering questions from the floor, including a discussion of self-publishing and credentialed alternative publishers.

Overall, it's a very inspiring, thought-provoking session.


  1. How great to be able to read this! Thanks so much for posting!


  2. After the prevalent rumblings about the demise of the book, it was good to hear of positive opportunities and developments in the electronic media. A different window!