Adapting to the Digital Age: A Q&A with Association of American Publishers President and CEO Patricia S. Schroeder
After serving for more than three decades as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Colorado, Patricia S. Schroeder stepped away from public service and shifted her focus to the world of book publishing. Since assuming the position of president and CEO of the Washington D.C.- and New York-based Association of American Publishers (AAP)—the book publishing industry’s national trade association currently representing close to 300 U.S. publishers—the former Congresswoman has continued to remain a visible figure as she works in the interest of book publishers across the country.
Schroeder recently spoke with Book Business Extra about how the business of book publishing has changed since she first assumed her role with the AAP more than a decade ago, and what she anticipates on the horizon for publishers of all sizes.
Book Business Extra: How have the AAP’s main focuses shifted in the past decade since you first came on board?
Patricia S. Schroeder: I suppose that digitalization has hit everyone big time. And dealing with copyright in the new digital world gets to be a bigger issue everyday. Book publisher are investment bankers in copyright. If you take [their] copyright away, [they] don’t have anything. Dealing with copyright in this new world has been a real interesting challenge for everyone. … [Book publishers] have to deal a lot more with government [now]—first with the copyright, then with piracy. We’re getting pirated more and more. We have to deal with that.
Extra: How has your past experience as a Congresswoman helped you in this position?
Schroeder: … Clearly, it’s turned out to be really useful. We’ve become more and more involved with the government. It started with getting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act passed in the ’90s. We’ve been working on all sorts of those kinds of issues, and I’m sure we’re going to see more. We have the lawsuit against Google. We have two lawsuits against China for piracy and market access. We’ve continued to work with universities [on] course workbooks. At one time, everyone understood you had to get permission [to copy books to include in course workbooks]. Somehow, at some schools, if [the book] was digital, they didn’t think [they had to get permission]. The law has been very clear—the same rules apply. You’re still making a copy. … When I first came, we didn’t have any lawsuits. Now I spend my time dealing with lawyers.