Because of digital technologies and the Internet “vestigial,” publishing tasks such as “marketing, sales, shipping and warehousing, together with their bureaucracies and inefficiencies, can be minimized and assigned to specialist firms. Book publishing may therefore become once more a cottage industry of diverse, creative autonomous units, or so there is now reason to believe,” he wrote.
As I think the foregoing case studies illustrate, BISG has initiated a useful process out of which it can develop an annual study of the past year’s innovations and experiments—especially if publishers are willing to share their experiences to mutual benefit. The case study approach is most useful, and can be even more rewarding to the extent that they can be connected to reading habits, sales and trends in the marketplace.
Of course, we will doubtless discover each year that many a significant change was a consequence of unanticipated opportunity, circumstance or the unforeseen, and hence not subject to the rationality of strategic or tactical planning. But by scanning industry efforts, planned or unplanned—successful or failed—we will all benefit in our purposeful planning for the future, whatever it may turn out to be.
Eugene G. Schwartz is a regular contributor to Book Business. He is a publishing industry analyst, writer and editor-at-large for Foreword Magazine. A former PMA board member, he is president of Consortium House, a management and business consultancy to publishers.
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.