16 Tips for Steering Your Company Through an Evolving Industry
It is a challenging time to be a publisher, to be sure. David Hetherington, a 25-year book publishing veteran, describes the current climate as a “perfect storm, as various forces converge to create what may prove to be a truly unique ‘weather system’ for the book publishing industry.” He believes that the combination of the credit crisis and an economy in recession, coupled with a skittish consumer mentality, rising oil prices and the fluctuating dollar, will have a different impact on each major industry sector. “The question will be one of degree. Which sector,” he questions, “will have the toughest time, and how will they respond to the challenges?”
For nonfiction publishers, the greatest current challenge is returns, says Marji Ross, president and publisher of Washington, D.C.-based Regnery Publishing. “Nested within this concern are a few related problems, such as the shorter attention span of our marketplace, overcrowded media markets, and a 24-7 news cycle that serves up a new crisis for people to worry about every day,” she explains. The challenge for publishers then is to keep up with what people are interested in and to keep their attention. The politically conservative publishing company is enjoying success with a couple of its titles, thanks in part to the heightened awareness of and interest in politics throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.
Digital technology is an area that can be a challenge for publishers, but it can also be the source of many growth opportunities. And, today, keeping on top of digital technology is practically a necessity to compete in the changing publishing environment.
Several publishers and experts reflected on current industry challenges and offered tips for leading your company through these evolving times.
TIPS FROM …
David Hetherington, adjunct professor, Pace University
Hetherington is currently an adjunct professor at Pace University’s Graduate School of Book and Magazine Publishing. His prior experience includes senior finance, manufacturing and operating positions with Simon & Schuster Higher Education, Reader’s Digest, Bearing Point Consulting, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, and Columbia University Press.