The 2008 FOLIO: Show kicks off today, held for the first time in the great city of Chicago. Some 1,000 professionals from all disciplines of the industry have come here over the last week to attend, and participate in, the industry’s largest gathering in the country.

For the 33rd installment of this annual event, the FOLIO: editors have developed 80 sessions around the theme “Navigating Change,” and focused on providing attendees with the necessary takeaways for continuing to operate a successful magazine business.

“Navigating change is an essential tack for the show because it’s an essential approach for those who want to stay in business,” says FOLIO: editor and publisher Tony Silber. “The changes are as disruptive as they’ve ever been in the magazine industry. Print is receding. E-media is expanding. Most magazine companies are set up in the opposite manner—with all their costs and most of their efforts spent in protecting print.”    

With that in mind, we’ve recruited nearly 100 of the industry’s most compelling and knowledgeable speakers to headline our sessions. This year’s keynote speakers are Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback; Ed McCarrick, president and worldwide publisher of Time; and David Churbuck, vice president of global Web marketing for Lenovo.

The list of noteworthy speakers includes: Jay Lauf, publisher of The Atlantic; Chicago editor Richard Babcock; Tom Morrissy, publisher of OK!; Penton Media new media vice president Prescott Shibles; Pentagram designer Luke Hayman; Steve Churm, president of Churm Media; and Claudia Malley, publisher of National Geographic.

Sessions are assigned according to eight tracks, including executive, editorial, sales, marketing, design and production. New this year are the e-media and digital tracks—two of the hottest topics that are showing some of the biggest areas for growth right now. Attendees kicked off the three day event Sunday afternoon with one of three in-depth half-day workshops. Those included: Web site usability, editorial bootcamp and magazine event trendwatch.

Also on hand are more than 70 exhibiting and sponsoring companies, offering services across the board in magazine publishing. Companies include e-media, printers, reprint, interactive marketing, analysis/ad tracking services, publishing software solutions, lead generation firms, social networking system providers and much more.

Attendees also should make sure to turn out for one of the post conference workshops—small publishers idea lab association magazine strategies—starting Wednesday September 24 at 2:00 p.m.

“The FOLIO: Show is focused on education, not softer objectives like networking, or golf,” says Silber. “The show is the largest gathering in the industry because it is the only one that is open to everyone, regardless of your professional discipline, your career level or the sector you work in.”