For a decade, the International Conference on the Book and its associated journal has provided a forum for participants in the book publishing industry, librarians, researchers and teachers from around the world to discuss the past, present and future of the book, and with it, other key aspects of today’s so-called ‘information society’, including publishing, libraries, information systems, literacy and education.
The Book Conference was launched in 2003 as part of a major project on the future of books and publishing for the Australian Department of Industry, Creator to Consumer in a Digital Age. First held in Cairns, Australia, among the plenary speakers at that first conference was one of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners in book publishing, Jason Epstein.
The Book Conference has been held annually in subsequent years in different locations around the world - in Beijing, China in 2004; at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK in 2005; at Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 2006; at the Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain in 2007; at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, USA in 2008; at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland in 2009; at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland in 2010; the University of Toronto, Canada in 2011; and Universidad Abat Oliba CEU, Barcelona, Spain in 2012. Each of these locations and partner hosts has been selected for its particular history of engagement with the cultural artifact of the book.
Over the past decade, some 500 articles have been published in the International Journal of the Book, which has now become a world-leading source of thinking about the history and traditions of the book, as well as explorations of exciting futures for the book in digital information ecologies.