Yesterday I attended the Book2Camp non-conference hosted by OpenSky & O'Reilly and had a blast. There was about 75, maybe a hundred people, which made for a great mix of authors, publishers, book store managers, and developers.
Even though it seemed like a lot of people to get motivated and organized, the folks from OpenSky had a good plan and got people sorted and moving towards the first sessions in rapid order.
There were four session rooms and each one had five consecutive sessions with a ten minute break between. I attended four sessions and gave a talk on how the convergence of media and networks has made it impossible to stop illegal file sharing.
Some of the sessions I attended were given by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez and Nick Ruffilo. Both of which I believe came well prepared and gave some solid insight into the future of publishing. Wil Johnson gave a very interesting session on the impact of piracy on the publishing industry. Wil works with Digital Crows Nest, O'Reilly Media, and Brian O'Leary of Magellan Media Partners. You can find out more about that study in a PDF here.
The highlight for many was the attendance of Margaret Atwood. That certainly became true for me when mid-way through my discussion of why it was pointless to worry about digital file sharing Margaret sauntered into the room and began to participate with vigour. It was amazing, and I have to admit I had to force myself to calm down and breath when she began pressing me on how I was going to pay for my cheese sandwiches. She brought a wonderful perspective to the discussion when she pointed out that this debate was not new. She offered the observation that artists and authors have been struggling with the dilemma of how to get paid for efforts for centuries.