The Corner Office: On the Record With: Paul Bogaards
As far as acquisitions, I am involved in all the major ones. About design, I have no clue (I’m still wearing shoes from the ’70s). Sales decisions are arrived at by publishers working in tandem with our highly engaged and energetic colleagues in sales.
How do the changes being wrought by new technology affect how you do your job and how you guide your department?
● It’s new technology in relation to established industries and technologies.
Basically, we’ve lost the ability to broadcast. There are now few high performing media assets, so we need to engage on multiple fronts—print, broadcast, online, social, search, communities, mobile, etc.—in carefully mapped fashion. What will break, and when? What will the build-out look like? How will the conversation animate?
In the old days a few key hits—a morning show appearance, a prominent review in a leading newspaper, a radio interview—could drive your book on the bestseller list and keep it there for more than a week. Those legacy outlets drove results because their audiences were significant, and viewer/reader/listener engagement was high. These days, however, legacy media audiences continue to erode, and consumers are not as deeply engaged with media content overall. Attention spans are fleeting. So, publishers need to drive awareness on more fronts to reach the same number of potential readers for a book. Of course, what every publisher hopes for is virality—an asset or newsbreak that catches fire.
The beauty, of course, is that we’ve gained the ability to narrowcast. It is now possible to tap audiences with an unprecedented degree of specificity. We have all kinds of tools available to help us map audiences. The key is using technology to your advantage. You need to know where the readers are, understand how they are engaging with content, and determine how to prompt the sale.