Publishing Business Street Team: In Which Our Intrepid Content Director Braves the Wilds of New York City
It’s 9 a.m. on Thu., Aug. 9, and I’ve just disembarked in Penn Station from the Amtrak train from Philadelphia, where Book Business & Publishing Executive are based. I climb the stairs and emerge into the bustle and activity of 34th Street, and, as always, feel excitement at my first glimpse of the city. Not that I’m not accustomed to New York; I lived in the city for many years before relocating to Philadelphia, and I visit often. I'll admit that it still thrills me to walk past and gaze up, wide-eyed, at the Empire State Building. Nonetheless, no tourist am I (proven by the fact that three people so far have asked me for directions). I am here to do business.
We Book Business and Publishing Executive editors are a peripatetic lot. Earlier this week you heard from Jim Sturdivant reporting from New Bern, N.C. (Yes, he’s on vacation—what dedication!) Now I am in New York to meet with some of the speakers for our forthcoming Publishing Business Virtual Conference and Expo.
First stop: the West 57th Street offices of consulting firm AlixPartners to meet with Chris Lederer, a director at the company. After I finish admiring the amazing view of Central Park from Chris’ window (which he says he’s hardly ever there to look at), I get down to learning about his background. Chris has been working in media and in publishing for 20 years, including tenures at Booz Allen Hamilton and Helios. With Jane Friedman, he was a co-founder of Open Road Integrated Media. He has been a senior-level consultant to most of the big-six publishers as well as to self-publishing companies such as Author House and Blurb and supply chain providers such as Aptara and RR Donnelley. At AlixPartners, his goal is to build a publishing practice, along with other partners with media experience such as Jack Griffin, former CEO of Time Inc.
After a fascinating conversation which touches on topics from brand strategy to content management, I hop a Q train to Union Square to meet with Brian O’Leary of Magellan Media Consulting Partners (lots of consulting today!). Brian is reading a book by Stewart Brand (creator of the Whole Earth Catalog) as part of his preparation for a talk he’s giving at the Books in Browsers conference in October, the conference where, two years ago, he was the first to talk about the “containers” in which we put our content. He’s also preparing for a workshop he’ll be leading at the Frankfurt Book Fair with Laura Dawson of Bowker, otherwise known as “the metadata queen.” O’Leary has an interdisciplinary approach and thinks the lines between book and magazine publishers are going to continue to blur.
Next up: Paul Canetti of MAZ. Paul’s young company has gone from three to 12 employees in the last nine months, so business is booming for its innovative approach to app development. A great chat with Paul about apps versus ebooks is followed by a visit to Scholastic and VOOK. Tune in on Monday for Part II!