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Agent of Change: The Role of Technology in Publishing

Updated: Jun 7, 2023


A photograph showing our 4 panelists on stage at London Book Fair 2023, including a C-suite studded panel – including Andreas Arnold, CIO & CTO at Penguin Random House UK; Nick Wright, CIO at Bonnier Books; Brendan Goss, CIO at Hachette UK; and James Long, COO at Pan Macmillan, plus Virtusales’ CCO, Chris Harvey.
Chris Harvey kicks off discussions at the LBF23 session, The Role of Technology in Publishing

On 19th April, in the Tech Theatre of the London Book Fair 2023, a C-suite studded panel – including Andreas Arnold, CIO & CTO at Penguin Random House UK; Nick Wright, CIO at Bonnier Books; Brendan Goss, CIO at Hachette UK; and James Long, COO at Pan Macmillan, plus Virtusales’ CCO, Chris Harvey – came together to discuss the rapidly-evolving role of technology in publishing, and its increasing prominence and importance in day-to-day publishing processes to further efficiencies.


Over 100 people attended the session to learn about the challenges that technology can help the book industry supply chain at large to overcome, and the transformative opportunities it can open up for all involved – from publishing houses (large and small), their authors and agents, to third party business partners and end-consumers.


Kicking off the discussion, the panelists acknowledged the evident shift towards technology and business-critical digital workflows in recent years; with tech teams’ positions in publishing houses shifting from back office to front-of-house, and publishers’ primary focuses transitioning from their products and formats to the metadata and processes than support their products’ discoverability and sales; as Chris Harvey explains:


“It could be said that the focus of technology for publishers today is not so much the media and the format in which content is consumed, but rather the processes, tools, data analytics, and the infrastructure that underpins these business critical themes.”

– Chris Harvey, CCO, Virtusales Publishing Solutions


Describing technology as “the bedrock of publishing activities”, James Long in particular noted the impact that the pandemic had on the book industry’s digital transformation, whilst Andreas Arnold suggested it brought about “a bigger appreciation for technology” and digital solutions.


With the panelists agreeing that “the borders between business and technology are more blurred than ever before”, key themes throughout the panel included:


  • Our industry’s acceleration towards the cloud and SaaS infrastructure – which “level the playing field” for publishers, according to Nick Wright – enabling publishers to scale up; more agilely and meaningfully respond to trends; improve visibility of and access to their data and assets companywide; and ultimately get books to market faster.

  • Technology’s role as an enabler, including careful experimentation with AI – to drive efficiencies, help publishers to gain deeper insights via intelligent reporting, and create targeted content that will allow them to connect directly with consumers.

  • Technology as a trusted partner and the concept of ‘Citizen I.T.’ – leveraging tools to align publishers’ business operations with their strategic objectives, and empowering employees to operate in the most efficient manner possible by embracing technology.

  • The social impact of technology, and the pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion; ensuring representation across the publishing industry including in technological roles which are becoming evermore visible within the industry.


“The impact of technology is the ease with which you can build up a company, begin to publish and reach a global audience in ways that could never have happened ten years ago”.

– James Long, COO at Pan Macmillan


Read more about the panel, and watch clips from the show, here:



Brendan Goss noted that Hachette UK’s systems help to streamline its operations and maximize its data to get books to market faster. BiblioSuite is trusted around the globe, helping world-leading publishers to optimize their digital workflows. If you’d like to find out more about how BiblioSuite solutions can help your publishing house, contact us today to speak with one of our consultants or arrange a demo.


“It’s much more commercially viable to look at very good systems now.”

– Brendan Goss, CIO at Hachette UK

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