International publishing meet-up in San Francisco

Pubnpub San Francisco

September 25th, 2014

Yay, it really happened!

The first Pub ‘n’ Pub in San Francisco was a great success! On September 18th 2014 roughly 30 publishing people met in the back room of Adobe Books. How did this all take place? During my ten day trip to San Francisco, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and get to know some people from the local publishing and start-up scene. Since I wasn’t able to find any meet-ups that met my criteria, I decided to bring the Pub ‘n’ Pub to the US.

Pub ’n‘ Pub is a series of pub meet-ups for individuals from all over the publishing industry to connect with each other.  This program was started by German blogger, Leander Wattig, in 2011 and has become quite successful since its inception. Events are now regularly held in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. 

An Editor walks into a bar

The main purpose of Pub ’n’ Pub can be summed up in three points: to learn, network and have fun! And that’s what happened last week in San Francisco. Publishers, authors, editors, illustrators and marketing professionals from the Bay Area gathered at the bookstore on 24th street in order to network and exchange experiences. Melissa Manlove, editor at Chronicle Books, gave an informative and amusing keynote entitled, “An Editor Walks into a Bar: Understanding the building blocks of humor, and why we should take humor seriously.”

The chairs filled so quickly, we ended up bringing extra armchairs from the shop into the backroom. The pictures of the night show the cheerful spirit and the great atmosphere of Adobe Books. The idea to bring the Pub ’n’ Pub to San Francisco was spontaneous— I thought of it only two weeks before while I was at an eBook Network event in Berlin. Because I only had two weeks to organize the event,it was difficult to find a pub in San Francisco who would host us for free. Leander posted on Facebook and I was writing to every person I knew with any connection to the US that we were looking for a location in San Francisco to hold our event. I was really impressed by the great help and wonderful feedback we got from so many people! In the end, I did not find a pub but I did find a wonderful bookstore. It may have started in a bookshop, but it ended – as the name of the series wants it – in a Pub.

Exchange over the Atlantic

Pubnpub Adobe Books
Children’s books experts: Melissa Manlove and me

I learned a lot from my American colleagues and I will surely stay in regular contact with many of them. The Americans enjoyed the event, too. As I learned at this evening there’s a vivid exchange in the children’s book scene in San Francisco. But there aren’t any overall publishing networks or meet-ups. That’s what the participants liked so much about this event. Many of the folk I invited could not attend the meet-up due to the short notice, but most of them said they were interested in future events of this kind.

In Germany, the San Francisco meet-up had a great deal support and interest. The team of Oetinger34, who is developing a software tool which helps creative minds to work together, wanted to ask the speaker questions about digital publishing at Chronicle children’s books. Due to time differences they posed them on facebook and I asked them Melissa at the event. It was very interesting to hear that Chronicle Books, after a short time of experimentation, stopped the expensive app business due to the small revenues and concentrated less on e-book publishing than on the qualities of the physical book.

Networking in real and digital life

Adobe Books
Pub ‘n’ Pub = networking which is fun

THANK YOU @lottereimann for putting on a beautiful event and @mmanlove for an inspiring talk at #pubnpub last night! Beer + Books = Yes

— Cindy Derby (@CindyDerby) 19. September 2014

The ultimate purpose of these meet-ups is to meet real people… in real life… with a good beer! Still, networking also takes place in the digital world with events on FaceBook and the hashtag #pubnpub connecting attendees from different cities and different countries. I would have never been able to organize a successful meet-up on another continent within only a few days without the social networks. Soon after the event, Karin Hartmeyer had the idea to organize a pop-up Pub ‘n’ Pub at the Frankfurt Book Fair. But during my discussions in San Francisco I realized that only a small number of American in the realm of publishing are able to attend the fair.

The future of our industry is digital

Pub 'n' Pub San Francisco
American Publishing people

In Germany, a number of programs which support the book industry exchange already exists— especially in the area of digital publishing.  These events, to name a few, are Arbeitskreis für elektronisches Publizieren (AKEP), the projects of Forum Zukunft, the eBookCamp—which is the first German Electric Book Fair. All of these programs are addressed to the German public, and they acknowledge the fact that initiatives that encourage international networking are missing. We are still discussing within a national bubble.  Traditionally, the book market is defined by language borders which, till today, only foreign rights and international sales managers were crossing. But if we want to create the future of the books, and if we don’t want to leave everything up to tech start-ups and e-commerce companies, we have to network internationally. We need international solutions and industry standards.

We have the tools, so why don’t we use them?

In this regard, the first Pub ’n‘ Pub in San Francisco was an awesome experience because it demonstrated how easy it is today to network across a geographical spread. We have the tools, so why don’t we use them? This series of publishing meet-ups, started by Leander Wattig in Germany, has the potential to push international networking. The keynotes of the Pub ’n‘ Pub events which I attended thus far, have ben such a high quality that I wonder why they are not video broadcasting in order to reach a bigger audience. With FaceBook and Twitter on our side, the international publishing exchange is only a tweet away. Maybe the meet-up in San Francisco and the pop up at the Frankfurt Book Fair get the ball rolling …

About the author

Charlotte Reimann has been active in Publishing for years. She has worked as a Foreign Rights Executive and a Children’s Book Editor at publishing houses in Germany, France, and the UK. Today she is a Project Manager at Artbookworld. Based in their Berlin office, she is responsible for online marketing and works with the development team on shop development. Charlotte blogs about e-books, online marketing and the future of publishing at