Full program announced for BookUp 2024

Innovation and adaptation is the focus for the 2024 BookUp Conference, taking place on Wednesday 7 August 2024 at State Library Victoria in Melbourne. Join us for a day full of experts from publishing and beyond, discussing thought-provoking ideas and delivering invaluable professional development for publishing staff at all levels.

This year’s focus is on innovation and adaptation at an individual, company and industry level. The world is changing fast, and at BookUp we’ve programmed sessions packed with ideas on how we make change happen in:

  • Generative AI – exploring regulation through to reimagined business practices
  • Publishing practices – from trauma-informed editing to BookTok-inspired marketing campaigns
  • Working with schools – getting more Australian resources and creators into classrooms and libraries
  • Workplace culture and inclusion – how to create and sustain supportive workplaces
  • Reading rates – halting the decline of reading across all ages

Thames & Hudson’s Bianca Jafari is a member of the conference’s programming committee, and says of this year’s event:

‘In 2024, BookUp will be more practical, more informative and more innovative than ever. We’ve expanded the program to include more than just keynotes and panels – you can expect an author-publisher in-conversation and a marketing case study covering one of the biggest titles on the shelves.

We’ll continue the discussion on AI, learning about how we could and shouldn’t be using it in the workplace; look at best practice HR – including diversity, hiring and retention; and keep you updated on the latest reading and data trends. It’s a jam-packed program that will set the new standard across the publishing industry.’

Learn more about our keynotes and other sessions below, along with some the speakers you can look forward to hearing from, and book your tickets here

Photo of a smiling woman with long brunette hair, with text Arpita Das, Founder and Publisher Yoda Press

Keynote: Innovation in action: Experimentation and growth at Yoda Press

Growth and new market innovation will be the focus of our opening keynote, delivered by Arpita Das, founder and publisher of the New Delhi-based independent publishing house Yoda Press.

Das will talk about the variety of ways in which Yoda Press explores opportunities for growth and new revenue streams – from experiments with crowdfunded graphic novels to book extracts in podcast form. She will also outline her ambitions for publishers globally to become more active in screen adaptations, and why industry needs to play a larger role in developing book culture spaces.

Celebrating its 20th year in 2024, Yoda Press publishes new perspectives on history, sexuality, dissent, cities and popular culture, with a focus on narrative non-fiction and graphic novels. Das is also editor of the South Asia Series at Melbourne University Publishing (MUP), and a columnist on South Asian book culture for Publishing Perspectives.

Another session on our program will delve into reading culture and behaviour:

Overcoming the barriers to reading

Despite the wealth of benefits documented in local and international research, the decline in Australians reading for pleasure, particularly across generational lines, is concerning for our industry and society as a whole.

Join Breanna Wright, Senior Research Fellow at BehaviourWorks Australia, and Anna Burkey, Head of Australia Reads, as they explore the barriers preventing Australians from reading, and discuss how behavioural psychology can help reverse this trend. This conversation will delve into strategies that industry can implement to help boost reading rates.

The full program can be viewed here, while previously announced sessions include the following:

Photo of a smiling woman wearing glasses with long brunette hair, with text Lauren Stewart, Director BookNet Canada

Keynote: From Data to Decisions – Insights from BookNet Canada

From book sales to library borrowing to consumer research, industry data is central to an informed and innovative book industry. The Canadian book industry relies on BookNet Canada – a non-profit at the heart of the supply chain – to gather data to help publishers, booksellers, libraries and other stakeholders promote and sell books more efficiently and effectively. Lauren Stewart, a director at BookNet Canada, will use her keynote to share insights into the collection, analysis and – most importantly – the strategic use of data across the Canadian publishing industry. 

BookNet Canada is industry owned, and provides data, as well as developing technology, standards, and education, to serve the entire Canadian book industry. Lauren will also reflect on what the Australian industry can learn from this forward-thinking and integrated approach in Canada. 

Lauren’s keynote will be followed by a Q&A with Cat Colwell, Head of Product & Supply Chain at the Australian Publishers Association.

AI and publishing: it's complicated

While AI technologies present serious legal and ethical challenges for publishers, they also offer potentially transformative opportunities. Find out how publishers are navigating these challenges in-house, and reimagining their business practices to adapt and thrive in a rapidly evolving landscape. Joining the discussion are experts Josephine Johnston (Copyright Agency) and Stuart Glover (Australian Publishers Association), who will shed light on their advocacy efforts at the highest levels of government.

  • Ben Pecora-Burne – Head of Product (Digital), Hardie Grant Publishing
  • Josephine Johnston – CEO, Copyright Agency
  • Sharon Mullins – Editor and lecturer, University of Melbourne
  • Katherine Roan – Senior Product Manager, Cengage
  • Stuart Glover (Chair) – Government Relations and Policy Manager, Australian Publishers Association

Working with schools

How can publishers best support teachers in today’s educational landscape? In the ‘age of distraction’, what content truly captivates and resonates with learners? Our panel of educators and learning experts address these pressing questions, and offer insights on how to get more Australian books and authors into classrooms and school libraries.

  • Kristy Kendall – Principal, Toorak College
  • Hayley McQuire – CEO, National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition, and Co-Chair, Learning Creates Australia
  • Nick Rose – Founder & Chair, Curriculum Writers Association Australia
  • Cam Salton (Chair) – Director - Learning Services, Pearson ANZ

Browse the full program

Other topics covered in the packed program include:

  • Case studies of award-winning marketing and publishing campaigns
  • Navigating complex content in publishing
  • Supportive workplaces: How to create and sustain them

The conference will once again be hosted by Meanjin editor Esther Anatolitis, one of Australia's most influential advocates for arts and culture. Look out for further session and speaker announcements in coming weeks, and browse the full program and the speaker biographies on the event page.

The BookUp program has been put together by a committee featuring a stellar group of publishing professionals:

  • Cathy Beswick-Davison, Head of Portfolios, Secondary at Cengage Australia & New Zealand
  • Kasi Collins, Communications Director at Hardie Grant Publishing
  • Kate Cuthbert, Editorial Director at Pantera Press
  • Yazmin Islam, Marketing Manager at Wiley Australia 
  • Bianca Jafari, Product Development Executive at Thames & Hudson Australia
  • Camha Pham, freelance editor and former Development Editor at OUP

Book your tickets now

Don’t miss this opportunity to come together with your industry colleagues for invaluable professional development and networking! Attendees can expect a mix of inspiring and informative keynotes, panels, in-conversations and case studies. If you aren’t able to join us, you can still watch the BookUp conference online and join in with the vibrant discussion throughout the day.

Book your tickets here

BookUp is made possible thanks to the continued support of the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund and Books+Publishing, while we're grateful to the support of Media Super in supporting the Rising Star award.