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The Global 50 CEO Talk 2022 will debate innovative trends in international publishing with Ashleigh Gardner (Wattpad WEBTOON Studios) and Michael Tamblyn (Rakuten Kobo)


The Global 50 CEO Talk 2022, held in partnership with Frankfurter Buchmesse on Wednesday, 19 October 2022, from 2 p.m to 3 p.m. in the Frankfurt Studio (Hall 4.0, Room Europe), will explore the book business beyond traditional publishers.

In recent years, the novel ways of how authors exploit their intellectual property (IP) have opened wide and highly productive fields of creation, radically expanding what books, publishing and reading encompasses today:

• Authors are building critical communities of readers online;
• Well established bestselling authors are going ‘direct’ by publishing their books themselves;
• Cross-media exploitation intertwining books, movies and games have expanded;
• Industry sized cooperations between digital platforms and retailers have become well established practices;
• With the success of graphic novels and manga, traditional boundaries between gernes of narrative fiction have blurred;
• New business models have surged, including freemium and subscription, curated access to collections and both broad as well as highly specialized niche collections of titles.

This year’s CEO Talk will shed light on the game-changing dynamics resulting from these non-traditional publishing models and explore the opportunities with thought leaders from two of the world’s largest platforms in this regard:

• Ashleigh Gardner (Wattpad WEBTOON, Canada/Korea), and
• Michael Tamblyn (Kobo Rakuten, Canada).

The Global 50 CEO Talk is prepared in conjunction with the Global 50 Publishing Ranking of the publishing industry, mapping the 50 largest publishing corporations each year since 2007. This ranking is listing the world’s 50 largest publishing companies, who in 2021 generated publishing revenues of 58.8 bnEUR (66.7 bnUSD).

The Global 50 Publishing Ranking is researched by Ruediger Wischenbart Content and Consulting, and published by Bookdao (PR China), The Bookseller (UK), buchreport (Germany), Livres Hebdo (France) and Publishers Weekly (USA).
The Global 50 Ranking and CEO Talk are supported by Bookwire.

The full Global 50 report, with the big list, an analysis and data rich company profiles will be available as a digital publication of around 250 pages from late September 2022 at www.wischenbart.com/ranking, and at websites of Bookwire, Bookdao, Livres Hebdo and Publishers Weekly.


About Ashleigh Gardner (Wattpad WEBTOON Studios)

As Senior Vice President, Managing Director Global Publishing, Ashleigh Gardner works with writers and publishers around the world to turn stories and digital comics from Wattpad and WEBTOON into books and graphic novels. Under Ashleigh’s leadership, the Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group is reshaping the publishing industry by leveraging data and insights from the one billion uploads that have been shared on Wattpad to find future best-sellers. In addition to publishing stories under the Wattpad Books and W imprints, Ashleigh sells translation rights, creating global imprints in partnership with some of the leading publishers around the world.
Ashleigh has spent her entire career at the forefront of technology and publishing. Before joining Wattpad, she was director of content management at Kobo where she focused on expanding Kobo’s existing catalogue while developing new ebook stores in international markets. Prior to Kobo, she was manager of digital development at Dundurn Press. Ashleigh graduated from York University with a Philosophy and Law degree.


About Michael Tamblyn (Rakuten Kobo)

Michael Tamblyn, President and Chief Executive Officer at Rakuten Kobo, drives growth, profitability and international expansion in a fiercely competitive market. He combines a passion for reading with a deep focus on hardware and software experiences. In addition to leading Rakuten Kobo, the global digital bookseller, he advises start-ups focused on aging and technology as Chief Entrepreneur of Age-Well NCE, is on the board of directors of the Law Commission of Ontario, Ontario’s law reform body, as well as The Power Plant, Toronto’s foremost contemporary art gallery. Michael has been a part of Rakuten Kobo’s executive team since its inception in 2009, and previously held the role of Chief Content Officer. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario.


About Ruediger Wischenbart Content and Consulting

Ruediger Wischenbart founded Content and Consulting in 2005, to create market reports and professional industry events for the international book industry with a particular emphasis on innovation and thought leadership.
Recent activities include the Digital Consumer Book Barometer series of reports (www.global-ebook.com), the Global 50 Publishing Ranking (www.wischenbart.com) and the ReBoot Books series of debates (www.rebootbooks.org, together with Carlo Carrenho and Klaus-Peter Stegen). Contact: office@wischenbart.com