Book Kernel: Capturing Events in Print

Ben Gwalchmai

How many events have you been to this year?

How many conferences?

How many times have you been called a delegate?

I could count the number of festivals I’ve been to this year in a void. So too could I count the amount of conference papers I’ve kept from the six I’ve been to.

There is a way that would mean I’d kept those papers because they wouldn’t have simply been papers – they’d have been a book.

Book Kernel makes a book of an event and gets it to that event before the event has ended.

It’s the intersection between traditional publishing and contemporary social-media practices: it gives both an ongoing e-book and a take-home-physical book that collects the social media and on-the ground response from the event and is professionally edited by the Book Kernel team. The e-books can then be offered in .mobi, .epub, and .pdf and for those that choose to take a book home, there’s something magical about having a reference and memento that you’ve contributed to.

There’s always a question of legacy after an event – how long does the media produced get read, viewed, or shared? Do you, like me, file and eventually throw away so many loose sheets of paper? Would you do the same with a book? I wouldn’t. Especially one that I’d been a part of making – Book Kernel enables co-action in the creation of books.

The system itself highlights the iterative nature of writing and making books because there’s always a cut off point for the physical book but it can also present iterative versions of events – e.g. a 1p.m., a 4p.m., anytime, etc – as it has done at a translation event before. This also highlights the co-operative nature of Book Kernel: comments you make on the system or on Twitter can be in that time-slot’s edition.

Place yourself at the last conference or course you went to or took.

How many notes did you take?

Now start the day or term again in the knowledge that all the speakers/lecturers talks and profiles are already available online and that a professional editor is taking notes that can be viewed in real time.

Doesn’t that feel better?

In a perfect world, every time you go to an event – a conference, a festival, a course, any gathering of any sort – you’d only have to take the notes you feel absolutely relevant to you. More than that, you’d be able to see what people are talking about online and directly reference the text/speech/whatever they’re discussing.  This leaves you free to enjoy and be stimulated by the conversation and debate without the concern that you’re missing anything.

Within the Book Kernel team, I’m an Associate Producer and what we call a ‘Book Pilot’, with all the engines going, I fly the book home. I’m the editor putting things together before the book lands. I love making books and I love making books happen.

The Book Kernel team work with local printers. We place an importance on these local relationships because they encourage high quality from a local business, mean faster delivery times for an event, and make the publishing process clearer for anyone interested. We work closely with our printers before events to ensure that all of us have a feel for how the book will look, what are the needs of the event and what is the best we can make it.

That’s precisely how we think about books: we address the digital and physical needs of contemporary readers, using digital technology and analogue legacy to make the best book we can, precisely as you want it.

Find out more about Book Kernel here.

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