There's No Such Thing as a Bad Idea
Big ideas are new ideas. Big ideas are bold ideas. Sometimes big ideas are small ideas. Often, big ideas seem wrong at first glance because they present such a different way of doing things.
These are the types of ideas we’ve tried to capture with the Book Business Big Ideas Issue. Industry thinkers -- and readers and supporters of Book Business -- contributed mini-essays, exploring what they think are the imperatives for a thriving, progressive, effective book business. Brian O’Leary of Magellan Media Partners talks of new opportunities to grow the book industry “pie.” Pearson’s Paul Belfanti evangelizes on the power that digital publishing standards have to accelerate the industry in a multi-platform world. Bowker’s Laura Dawson posits a future where ebooks live on the web, while Yoav Lorch explores an innovative way of monetizing digital content.
In his Directions column, Andrew Brenneman predicts how he expects subscription and direct-to-consumer revenue models will disrupt the book industry the way Netflix, Hulu, and now HBO are disrupting the television and movie industries.
The subject of this issue’s Corner Office, Perseus CMO Rick Joyce is encouraging booksellers to reassess how they market books. He’s putting his focus on the “situational value” of books and working to advance the discoverability of books in the digital world.
One old idea that’s proven to have new life is that print is an effective medium for the book. And having proven its resilience, publishers and printers are coming up with new ways to minimize the costs of producing and distributing printed copies. Cost cutting is not a new idea but technological innovations (digital printing, inkjet, order automation, integrated workflows, etc.) are enabling more nimble book manufacturing and distribution.
More than ever, publishers are starting to evaluate the entire life-cycle cost of a title and reconsidering their approach to ordering and inventory management. These new approaches to print are also allowing publishers to reassess how they balance risk when launching new titles. Less overhead, greater speed, and shorter runs could mean publishers will explore more ideas and experiment with less-known authors. For the above reasons, we decided to bring back the Book Business Top 20 Book Manufacturers ranking.
These are just some of the big ideas shaping book publishing. Hopefully this issue will inspire you to think big and to think different. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts, so send me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you think you have an idea the industry should embrace.