Readmagine: the annual innovation gathering in Madrid

Readmagine took place from June 4-7, 2019 in Madrid (Spain). It is the Week on Innovation in Reading, Books and Libraries, organized by the Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (FGSR) and IPDA (the International Publishing Distributors Association) at Madrid.


Readmagine was created in 2005 and rebooted in 2015 as an annual meeting for the most avant-garde executives within the publishing business as well as a set of ideas in motion and exchange with professionals from other fields. The climax happens every year with the two-day conference co-organized by FGSR and IPDA (the International Publishing Distributors Association), when a group of 100 professionals of the book industry gather seeking the last and unusual approach for the future.

IPDA is the international umbrella organization for the associations and companies that develop its activity in the field of publishing distribution (books, magazines, newspapers… both on print and digital versions).

What is Readmagine?

Readmagine consists of a set of talks, workshops, conferences, meetings and other formats for the exchange of ideas about the digital transformation process experienced by the universe of reading and books. In this edition, India was the Focus Market of this convening.

The event offers insights by organizations and experts from their experiences, knowledge and very different interests. Actually, the centre of FGSR in Madrid is a material embodiment of the ethos of Readmagine: there are 7,000 m2 devoted to boost innovation capabilities by means of cooperation with other sectors and industries which work differently composed by teams from distant areas, who think and act differently to build experimental devices. This centre (Casa del lector, meaning House of the reader) is the venue for Readmagine and during the whole year houses organizations and networks of very different kind of knowledge and skills for the discovery of unsuspected paths and action models for the libraries and the publishing sector. From the readership perspective, this centre is defined as a hub of activity and community programs particularly for the parents of young children interested in exposing them as early as possible to reading with a goal of building the reading habit into young minds and a lab for the designing of new methodologies for the reading and libraries projects.

José Manuel Anta is Managing Director of Federation of National Associations of Distributors (FANDE) and the International Publishing Distribution Association (IPDA). FANDE is an umbrella organization in Spain for about 200 companies engaged in the distribution of books, magazines, newspapers and digital contents. He is also the coordinator, under the IPDA umbrella, of the European Press Distribution Round Table, The International Meeting of Booksellers and Distributors at the Frankfurt Book Fair and the International Digital Distributors Group.

Readmagine 2019

In this edition, the key alliance between FGSR and IPDA offered a set of unusual thinking during June 5 and 6. The first day of sessions titled “Learning at the borders” focused on several ways of innovation, which included encouragement of a new strategic thinking, with the conference “Publishing in the exponential age” by Brian O’Leary (Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, USA) and the analysis of new audiences, with a presentation on the consumption behaviors of Generation Z, presented by Chris Beer (GWI, UK).

Also, there was a focus on two areas of fast growth and increasing degree of impact: the e-sports new business models by Fernando Piquer (Movistar Riders, Spain) and Artificial Intelligence by Colin Lovrinovic (Gould Finch, Germany).

Besides, there were creative sessions intended to provide a follow up to the operative process for the elaboration of the Manifesto for Innovation in the creative sector in Europe.

New working tools were provided through three workshops on Designing Smart Experiences by Luis Villa del Campo (Principal Director at Accenture, Spain), Hands on the Blockchain by Sebastian Posth (Blockchain Project, Germany) and Accessibility for publishers and distributors by Gregorio Pellegrino (Fondazione Lia, Italy).

Next day meeting was opened by the presentation by Rüdiger Wischebart (Global Ebook Report, Austria) on the market for the distribution of ebooks and a report on trends in digital consumption (Global Web Index,UK).

The Focus Market this year was India and Shweta Khurana (Editor at All about Book Publishing) offered an extended presentation on the digital publishing scene in the country. The audience was astonished by the size of growing figures in the Indian market as well by the dynamism of adaptation and innovation of its book industry. Khurana presented a general landscape of the trends and special reality of this book market and its links with e-learning and new business models.

Moreover, there were panels on Subscription models, Voice Tech and Discovery of books (discoverability).

Renodo is another initative, this platform is open and free for everyone and is based on a diagnostic on the main challenges and breakthroughs in the industry elaborated by the partners (Smartphones as reading devices, AI and the book industry, Dynamic prices, Convergence of formats, Rights Management Systems, Blockchain, CX).

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