On the other side of that e-book debate is another independent publisher and the focus of this month's Corner Office interview: Todd Bottorff, president and publisher of Turner Publishing (page 15). "The strategic shifts that are happening in the industry related to e-books are one of the most exciting components of the business," he says in the interview. "E-books are an integral part of our program going forward."
At one of the industry events I attended this spring, the Independent Book Publishers Association's "Publishing University," Shur and Bottorff, along with a panel of other heads of independent publishers, participated in a CEO roundtable in which Shur's Book Business Guest Column was brought up for discussion. A lively debate ensued, as you can imagine when you bring together strong opinions on both sides of an issue. "Don't fear the digi-mageddon," offered fellow panelist David Borgenicht, president and publisher of Quirk Books. "Think of e-books as an opportunity."
I like Borgenicht's "glass-half-full" approach, an optimism that I do not believe is misguided. I also don't believe it negates Shur's point. E-books, as with other digital technologies, are opportunities for book publishers, and they should be approached as such—not with fear of the demise of our beloved print book, or with our heads planted firmly in the sand in hopes that they will simply pass over us. Maybe it's not the right time for your company to pursue e-books or other digital offerings, but these offerings at least need to be considered within your business' direct realm of possibility. Because if you're not considering them, I guarantee you that your competitors are, and are figuring out the best way to utilize and profit from them. Don't underestimate this industry of great minds; I've seen you in action.