Breaking From Tradition
As CEO and president of iUniverse, Susan Driscoll has helped the pay-to-be-published online publisher to become an attractive alternative to the sort of traditional publishing houses at which she once held executive-level positions, including HarperCollins, Henry Holt and Holtzbrinck Publishers. An affordable avenue for aspiring authors seeking to get published, iUniverse has become one of the largest self-publishing companies since its launch in 1999. Driscoll, who co-penned the book “Get Published” last year, not only is the top executive at the company, but also a mentor to iUniverse’s roster of authors.
Where do you see book publishing heading in the next five to 10 years? What part will print-on-demand (POD) play in that world?
Susan Driscoll: I think book publishing—for at least the next decade or two—will be a stable industry. I don’t think it’s declining. Everyone’s worried about the decline in readership. As the baby-boom generation ages, they’ll have more leisure time—and more time to read.
Beyond that, I think there are major changes coming. The computer generation and the people who are used to getting their information in other ways will be the main audience. In 20 to 30 years, there’s going to be some radical shifts.
I really think POD is a printing technology that could change the industry. As the technology evolves, more and more books are going to be printed on-demand. With the returns problems that publishers have, they’re really focused on more control.
What’s happening now is that we’re able to attract authors by selling more copies. We can do a small, offset printing to start off with and fill in with digital printing. Instead of doing a reprint, we can just fill in with the on-demand. It’s opened a lot more doors because it’s easier to go from one method to the other.