Corner Office: The Power of ‘One’
In a recent issue of Book Business, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson Inc. was cited as “the most radical example” of a growing trend toward internal consolidation in the book publishing industry (“Embracing the ‘Kindle Effect,’ ” February 2008). The article was referring to the Nashville, Tenn.-based company’s announcement in April 2007 that it was eliminating all 21 of its imprints, and reorganizing its publishing functions around consumer categories—a corporate restructuring it termed the “One Company” initiative.
Michael S. Hyatt, president and chief executive officer of Thomas Nelson, spoke with Book Business about the goals behind the One Company initiative, the impact the restructuring has already had on the publisher, and its recent launch of a full-scale environmental initiative.
● Why was it decided to restructure Thomas Nelson under the One Company initiative?
Michael S. Hyatt: … The imprints were dividing the presence of the Thomas Nelson brand and prohibiting vital collaboration [within the organization]. And, most importantly, the imprints were offering little to the customer. Customers [make] buying decisions not based on imprints, but rather based on authors, categories or current events.
● Since implementing this initiative, what has been the impact on the company?
Hyatt: With [our] year-to-date publishing revenues trending well ahead of last year and current industry trends, Thomas Nelson has experienced solid success with its One Company strategy. In addition, the company has seen improved communication and collaboration within its organization. …
● One of Thomas Nelson’s specific goals under the One Company initiative was to concentrate additional resources on “strong and emerging” categories. What are these categories that you’re hoping to build on?
Hyatt: Thomas Nelson is focused on building on the strength of our Corporate Brands group. With some of the top authors in Christian publishing [in that group], like Max Lucado, John Maxwell, Robin McGraw and Charles Stanley, our growth strategy has been to publish their works in multiple product formats, in multiple sales channels and in multiple languages. [By employing this strategy], we have [already] seen significant growth with these authors. …