Brian Jud leads a dual life. If you meet him in a professional context, he’ll hand you two business cards. The first is for his company, Premium Book Company LLC, which specializes in book sales to special markets. Jud’s second business card touts his role as Executive Director of APSS: the Association of Publishers for Special Sales.
The Independent Book Publishers Association will hold its annual Publishing University in Chicago in just a few weeks, on April 26th and 27th. The organization was founded thirty years ago by what president Florrie Kichler calls a “group of small publishers who couldn’t get their books out anywhere into the trade.”
Where is the book industry going, what will my workplace and career opportunities be like, what do I need to know to keep up with the times? Or, in a more cosmic vein, what does the future hold?
In an effort to answer these questions, publishers have settled each year into a series of industry meetings of general interest. Each has a unique theme, as noted below. They make the effort to bring together a cross section of publishers, associations, service providers and media professionals to connect with audiences ranging from first-time aspirants to seasoned managers and executives in every channel and of every level of responsibility.
Following is my own overview of the events with which I have become familiar through the years. I would say that a judicious choice of BEA or ALA and any one of the others whose focus comes closest to your own would provide a more than satisfying menu. If I had to attend only one: (a) I would pick BEA or ALA if my interest was in authors, reading, content and publishing as an enterprise, and (b) if my primary concerns were business development and operating management, I would choose any of the others from whose quality of attendee profiles and lists of presenters, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors I would expect to learn the most.
For 36 years, an undaunted Irwin Zucker, himself a public relations professional, has been hosting bi-monthly meetings of the Book Publicists of Southern California, bringing together at each event a hundred or so published authors and authors on the way: to share ideas, display their works, and to learn how to sell more books.
As with IBPA -- which started a few years later as the Publishing Association of Southern California (PASCAL), with then former PW Publisher Dick Bye as President and Jan Nathan as Executive director. It then became PMA and is now IBPA, a 3,000-member strong national organization -- Zucker reveled in the trenches of book publishing outside the mainstream channels. He brought enthusiasm, hope and know-how to equip authors with the tools to work around barriers to entry and, eventually, if they found a strong enough audience, to find their way into the mainstream; or, more often, to stay independent and pocket the proceeds and the glory on their own.
It is a difficult time to be an independent book publisher. Fractured distribution models, soaring manufacturing costs, technology changing at breakneck speeds and the ongoing global recession are just a few of the threats coming at indies from all directions.
“Wide open and full of potential” is how Anne Landa, rights and exports manager for Sourcebooks Inc., characterizes the market for licensing international rights. “It is simply about placing the right books with the right people and seeing the whole thing through,” Landa—who works out of her home office in San Diego, Calif.—says about selling licensing rights to publishers around the globe for Sourcebooks. International licensing rights increased 20 percent last year at the Naperville, Ill.-based publisher. Sourcebooks, an independent publisher of more than 900 trade titles, has had books translated into 36 languages and published in 34 countries. Landa says she expects the upward