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IBPA Joins Consumer Research Committee Convened by the Panorama Project

Monday, April 13, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Cross-Industry Initiative Moving Forward in Partnership with Portland State University

(New York, NY - April 13, 2020) — The Panorama Project, in partnership with Portland State University, has convened a cross-industry Consumer Research Committee to spearhead its “Immersive Media & Reading 2020” consumer survey to measure immersive media consumption and buying behaviors across key formats and platforms. The committee will be chaired by Dr. Rachel Noorda, Director of Publishing at Portland State University, and includes representatives from the American Library Association (ALA), Authors Guild, Book Industry Study Group (BISG), Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and PubWest.

  • Dr. Kathi Inman Berens, Assistant Professor of English and Book Publishing, PSU
  • Angela Bole, Chief Executive Officer, IBPA
  • Alan Inouye, Senior Director, Public Policy & Government Relations, ALA
  • Brian F. O'Leary, Executive Director, BISG
  • Mary Rasenberger, Executive Director, The Authors Guild
  • Kent Watson, Executive Director, PubWest

"One of our primary goals with this initiative is to establish a foundation for cross-industry collaboration that can produce useful and transparent data that can be widely shared and analyzed,” explained Panorama Project lead and committee secretary, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez. “Our primary goal is, first and foremost, to situate books in a broader media context. How do people who read books discover, consume, and pay for other, similarly immersive media types?”

The primary goal of the “Immersive Media & Reading 2020” consumer survey is to establish books’ place in the larger media ecosystem by understanding how readers discovered, accessed, and consumed the books they’ve read most recently; and how purchasing or borrowing decisions are impacted by their consumption of other immersive media, specifically film, TV, and games. The final scope and additional goals will be determined by the Consumer Research Committee.

The committee held its kickoff meeting on April 8, 2020 to begin refining the survey’s scope and goals, targeting June for a final draft which will then be submitted to Portland State University’s (PSU) ethics approval process which will ensure the rights and safety of human subjects recruited for participation in the survey. The procedures of this ethics approval process at PSU are guided by the ethical principles of The Belmont Report and comply with the U.S. Department of Human Services. This process is one more measure to ensure objective survey questions, sound data-gathering practices, and appropriate methodology for addressing the objectives of the “Immersive Media & Reading 2020” consumer survey.

"There is a lack of publicly available data about the book industry, which is why the Immersive Media & Reading 2020 project is so important,” says committee chair, Dr. Rachel Noorda. “The committee members represent the interests of a variety of different groups within the industry: authors, publishers (of various sizes), libraries, and booksellers. This variety aids in developing objectives and survey questions that speak to all segments of the industry and are not biased toward one or another."

"When we were recruiting for committee participation,” Gonzalez explained, “we wanted to ensure a variety of perspectives were represented which is why we targeted industry organizations rather than individual stakeholders. This committee will work together over the next several weeks to guide the development of the survey, ensuring consensus on its methodology and scope, and relevance to key constituencies, while bolstering the credibility and usefulness of its eventual findings."

In recognition of the ongoing public health crisis that has disrupted the entire publishing ecosystem, the deployment date of the survey and subsequent analysis of the results will be revised. The committee is also considering how to address its impact on the focus of the survey itself.

"There’s no question the pandemic and social distancing guidelines that have seen local bookstores, libraries, and schools close their doors across the country are having an impact on book discovery and sales, and that will also impact the framing and timing of the survey itself,” Gonzalez said. “We’re discussing it within the context of the survey’s overall mission, and I have full confidence in the committee’s ability to determine how to best address it for the benefit of the overall industry.”

About Portland State University

The graduate program in Book Publishing at Portland State University—Oregon's most affordable public research university—is at the forefront of publishing education nationally. In fact, Publishers Weekly described the program as a place where “publishing education gets innovative.” Founded in 2001 with the intent to combine traditional academic study and hands-on experiential learning, it is the only graduate program in book publishing in the western United States and the only program in the US that has a trade publishing house staffed by students, Ooligan Press.

Dr. Rachel Noorda is Director of Publishing and Assistant Professor of English at Portland State University. Dr. Noorda holds a PhD degree in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling and has published peer-reviewed research on various book publishing projects including book subscription boxes, independent publisher mission statements, the Portland Book Festival, and online book blurbs. She is currently writing a book (contracted with Cambridge University Press) about entrepreneurship in twentyfirst century US book publishing. She has been very involved with the industry, including analyzing data and writing industry reports for PubWest, the Independent Book Publishers Association, the Book Industry Study Group, Literary Arts, and Publishing Scotland.

Dr. Kathi Inman Berens, Assistant Professor of English at Portland State University, has published peerreviewed research about digital humanities, book publishing, and digital literature. A Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, Dr. Berens conducted grant-supported research for IBM when she was faculty and a Fellow of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. Dr. Berens studies immersive environments and transmedia experiences, consulting with Portland companies on VR medical therapies, immersive storytelling, and mobile web interface design. In her book publishing consulting and scholarship, two years of survey work provide foundational data for insights about consumer behavior at the Portland Book Festival. She is advisory council for arts non-profits Literary Arts, NW Film Center, and Oregon Storyboard.

About the Panorama Project
The Panorama Project is a cross-industry, data-informed research initiative focused on understanding the impact of library holdings on book discovery, author brand development, and sales. It is guided by an Advisory Council including representatives from Penguin Random House, Sourcebooks, Open Road Media, American Library Association, Audio Publishers Association, NISO, Rakuten OverDrive, and Ingram Content Group.

The Advisory Council helps guide the Project’s research activities and nurtures the development of the supporting organization. Initial funding is being provided by Rakuten OverDrive, Inc. The Panorama Project is an open membership initiative. Learn more at

Project Lead: Guy LeCharles Gonzalez ( is chief strategist at Free Verse Media and project lead for the Panorama Project. Previously, he was publisher & marketing director for Writer’s Digest; director, content strategy & audience development for Library Journal & School Library Journal; and founding director of programming & business development for Digital Book World.

About the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

Founded in 1983 to support independent publishers nationwide, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,200 members, IBPA is the largest publishing association in the U.S. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the access, knowledge, and tools needed to professionally engage in all aspects of an inclusive publishing industry. For more information, visit

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