Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

In The Digital Driver's Seat with Anita Windisman

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In The Digital Driver's Seat with Anita Windisman

On September 26th, visit The Word On The Street's newest venue, the Digital Drive Stage, where you can expect a lively discussion on the future of reading, writing and publishing. In anticipation of the event, Open Book: Toronto checks in with some of the panelists with a new interview series, In The Digital Driver's Seat.

Anita Windisman,the founder and president of One of a Kind Publishing Inc, and author of Business Lessons I Learned from Barbie, is moderating "E-Publishing, E-books, E-reading—the E-asy guide for readers and writers" and participating in the panel "Look at Me! Look at Me! How to Use Social Media to Market your Work. Visit the website for more details.

Open Book:

You are among a group of writers and publicists that has fully embraced electronic publishing. What made you decide to “grab the wheel” of the industry’s digital revolution?

Anita Windisman:

First and foremost, I am a marketer who happens to write. More specifically, I am an internet marketer who has been involved in online advertising since 1997¬—the very beginning of the commercial internet. There was never a question in my mind whether I would launch my book in electronic format—it was a given. I’ve always advocated a multi-channel approach to any type of marketing, which includes both online and offline efforts, so my book is available in both print and electronic formats.


How has your involvement in e-publishing changed the kind of work that you do?


I have a broad definition of e-publishing. Whether we blog, tweet or upload a presentation online, we are all content creators and therefore electronic publishers. Social media has certainly changed the marketing landscape in the last few years, especially how we can engage with an audience. Now, more than ever, we all have multiple platforms and many tools available to us—mostly free—which help us to make our work available to a wide audience. As such, I make sure I use as many of those electronic tools as possible. So in that sense, my attention and efforts are most certainly directed online.


What aspect of publishing do you think will change the most as a result of the digital drive?


Without a doubt the digital ebook readers have been the game changer in the industry— especially with the recent launch of the iPad. The tipping point has already occurred, with Amazon reporting that eBooks have outpaced hardcover book sales by about 50 per cent. Furthermore, as the prices of these devices come down, digital book sales will most certainly increase. I would predict that once the eBook readers sell for under $99—most likely by this Christmas, that will make the reader attractive for a mainstream audience.


Do you feel differently about online publications versus print publications? Do readers have different expectations?


Not really. I consume both formats. I think consumers expect a better price point for eBooks. After all, you’re taking the printing, distribution and transportation costs out of the supply chain. Prices will drop in the long run, similar to what happened with online music.


You are the president of One of a Kind Publishing Inc. What are people looking for in the electronic publications that you produce? Does it differ vary much from what they want from a print publication?


Our publications are a little different, in that we offer personalized content. The reader’s name is incorporated throughout the book’s content, making it seem as though the author is speaking to you directly.


Tell us about your book Business Lessons I Learned from Barbie. Can any of these lessons be applied to the business of e-publishing?


Absolutely! My book offers seven lessons but I think the most relevant is Lesson #5—Embrace Change. Corporations must stay on top of changing trends in the marketplace to remain relevant, so obviously this applies to the publishing industry.

If there’s one thing to be said about Barbie, it’s that throughout the decades, she has used change to her competitive advantage. Since Barbie hit the market in the early 1960s the roles of women have changed dramatically. In her careers, she has been ahead of the curve, assuming the role of astronaut and president before women assumed these positions. During her 50 plus years, Barbie has had over 125 careers, with the most recent being computer engineer.

She has also had to stay relevant in the digital age. The Barbie brand has been licensed and marketed for products such as digital cameras, electronic diaries, MP3 players, laptops for children and even a digital nail printer—all in Barbie’s signature pink, of course. Barbie has made it chic to be geek—especially for girls! I wouldn’t be surprised if not so far off into the future we’ll see a Barbie-branded eBook reader.

Anita Windisman is the founder and president of One of a Kind Publishing Inc, a company specializing in the personalization of content in the form of books and ebooks. Her expertise includes e-business strategy development, online content delivery, and social media. Anita is author of the book Business Lessons I Learned from Barbie.

Anita is moderating an e-publishing panel on the Digital Drive stage at 12:30 and discussing social media at 4:00 with Nina Lassam, Mark Leslie Lefebvre and Julie Wilson.

The Digital Drive Stage is launched with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The stage is hosted by Stuart Woods, editor of Quill & Quire, and Quill & Quire book review editor Stephen W. Beattie. Read more about it at

Want to hear more about publishing's digital revolution? Check out the CBC Book Club, where this month's topic is The Future of Reading.

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