List of conferences related to digital books, digital storytelling, cross-media / transmedia storytelling, interactive narratives…

It’s hard to define exactly where digital books end and other forms of narrative / storytelling begin. Think of storybook apps, for example (with gaming elements with creative features such as draw-your-own characters or record your story); or game-books, or “adventures” such as Inkle’s Sorcery, talked about by both book publishers and game developers as a form they recognise (Inkle define it as a game, but it has large amounts of text on the screen, a branching narrative dependent on choices and game-like actions by user / player / reader).
These are just a few examples of a myriad forms of narrative being experimented with in digital media, across platforms, devices and even crossing into other media such as printed book, comics, TV, film, AR, “real” life events, etc…

This is a list of conferences / events (with a UK / US / English language bias) that may be of interest if you’re into producing, or researching, this type of works. So a mix of industry and academia events (unfortunately typically “separated”). And there is also another bias: my current interest in “digital books” and games.

Oh… and please send suggestions of any events / conferences not listed! (this will hopefully help address the UK / English bias)


By the Book conference, Florence

This one took place this May, and I presented a paper. It was small scale, but with a high concentration of quality papers and people ready to engage in debate – one of most stimulating conferences I’ve attended. Hopefully again next year. Description from website:

This two-day conference brings together scholars from the field of publishing studies to examine key issues around the digital transformation of the book, as well as to discuss the developing field of publishing studies.

Analysed will be a key set of questions. How is the landscape of the book in Europe changing due to digital transformation? How will terrestrial bookshops survive the growth of ebooks? Are there international forces for change which will affect all markets, and what domestic factors will prevail? What is the connection between the spread of English as the global lingua franca and the growth of digital publishing?

This is the first conference to bring together researchers and teachers of publishing studies from all parts of Europe and aims to be the first in a series of such meetings. Also welcome are industry practitioners who wish to contribute to the debates.

Conference programme:

My talk at this conference:…

Conference committee

  • Benoȋt Berthou, University of Paris 13 (LABSIC)
  • Ernst-Peter Biesalski, HTWK, Leipzig
  • Alberto Cadioli, University of Milan
  • Pascal Durand, University of Liège
  • Miha Kovač, University of Ljubljana
  • Angus Phillips, Oxford Brookes University (Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies)
  • Adriaan van der Weel, University of Leiden

Associate partners

  • Association for Publishing Education
  • Brill
  • Federation of European Publishers

ICIDS — Interactive Storytelling
International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling
Academics, computer scientists, developers. Proceedings published annually by Springer. Description from website:
From 2001 to 2007, two European conference series addressed the open challenges of Interactive Storytelling, serving as annual meeting points for scientists, researchers and developers from diverse disciplines. In 2008, these conferences merged into ICIDS: the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling.

The Bookseller’s FutureBook Conference
2013 description, industry-orientated with large presence of practitioners from publishing area:
The Bookseller’s FutureBook Conference on 21st November is Europe’s biggest publishing conference. This two-stream event will highlight innovations, transformations and disruptions in the industry, all of which are sure to challenge your thinking.

DigitalBookWorld Conference + Expo
Industry / practitioner focus, very large event. Description from their website:
Now celebrating its sixth year, the Digital Book World Conference + Expo is the preeminent conference on digital content and digital publishing strategies. In 2014 it brought together over 1,500 media, publishing and technology professionals from around the world focused o developing, building and transforming their organizations to compete in the constantly evolving digital media ecosystem.

Power to the Pixel (PttP) Cross-Media Forum
Focus on helping film industry gain cross-media / transmedia skills. Description from 2014 event:
We’re delighted to announce that Power to the Pixel’s Cross-Media Forum will take place on the 7-10 October 2014! Held in association with the 58th BFI London Film Festival, this is the ultimate showcase of ideas, people and projects changing the face of media and the place to learn how to adapt to stay relevant to digital change.
This year we’ll focus in on finance models from around the world, bringing together the main commissioners, funders and backers of the newest entertainment and cross-media formats.
There’s also the PttP Lab, and Market – events / workshops to gain skills and access funding.

Digital Storytelling @ UC Irvine
On April 10, 2014, journalists, writers, designers, web developers, publishers, scholars, students, and members of the community will gather at the UC Irvine School of Humanities for a one-day conference on developments in the field of Digital Storytelling. This conference is free and open to the public; all are welcome.
Organized by the UC Irvine Literary Journalism Program. Co-sponsored by the Department of English, the Conversations on Writing and Public Life Series, the Office of the Provost, and the UC Irvine Humanities Collective. Special thanks to the The UC Irvine Academic Senate Council on Research, Computing and Libraries Conference Support Program. Additional sponsorship provided by Narratively.

ENGAGE: The NYC Digital Storytelling Conference
Industry / practice focus. Description from event website:
You know that adept digital storytelling is key to successfully creating an organic community. That’s true whether you’re a publisher, tech company or brand.But tech and trends are radically different today than just a year ago. Everything from contextual and native advertising to branded entertainment to sharable content is changing at the speed of light. Maybe a little faster. How do you keep up?

A one-day conference all about games, play, interaction, behaviour and everything with a playful edge.
Exploring games and play, without being a Games Industry event.
Since 2007, Playful has been a must-attend event in the calendar. Playful brings together a bunch of interesting people to share their ideas, work and things that inspire them. Each year, Playful attracts over 400 attendees from across the creative industries to hear from leading thinkers and doers in games, broadcast, art, advertising, publishing, illustration and beyond.