Penguin Random House: PRH Education Innovates With Hybrid Author Events at This Year’s FYE® Conference

Penguin Random House Education continues to innovate on its participation in education conferences and this year’s annual First-Year Experience® Conference (FYE®) in Orlando, Florida in February was no exception. For those who may not be aware of this meeting, the FYE conference provides an ongoing forum where higher education professional can share experiences, concerns, and accomplishments related to supporting student learning, development, and success in the first year of college.

For Penguin Random House, the conference translates not only into large sales for Common Reading programs, but also author speaking fees and course adoptions, making it an important opportunity for our books and authors. In short, it is an important conference for us and one the team needed to figure out how to balance creating an opportunity for PRH authors to speak to this important constituency against the fact that neither the PRH Education team, nor the authors, would be appearing in-person.

While the team did not take a booth or send staff to the in-person conference, PRH Education was able to host—with assistance from the organization and cooperation of our publishers—two “hybrid” events wherein a total of eight authors appeared virtually via large screens set on stage in front of packed rooms of “in-person” attendees, along with many other attendees who accessed the event remotely. In-room attendees were served lunch (courtesy of our publishers) while those who attended virtually were able to share comments in the live chat. Moderated by Spenser Stevens, PRH Education Marketing Manager, both events attracted over 200 combined in-person and virtual attendees, and were a resounding success.

Saturday’s event featured Mondiant Dogon (Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds), Qian Julie Wang (Beautiful Country), G’Ra Asim (Boyz n the Void), and Nikole Hannah-Jones (The 1619 Project).

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