Breaking From Tradition
We follow a different model of publishing. It’s not about trying to push books into stores and then taking them back. We give authors table space on the floor [at Barnes & Noble] as a reward. We do about 400 books a month. The volume [of books published] is completely different. Even the larger publishers don’t publish that many.
What purpose does your blog serve?
Driscoll: I do the blog to educate authors. … Most people don’t understand the fundamentals of publishing or writing. Writing the blog gives me the means to share that wisdom. … I think I have a broad understanding of the entire business. Publishing is very segmented, and, unless you’re at the top, you don’t get the whole view. I’ve been lucky to have had jobs all across the board, so I have a broad perspective of the business.
What advice would you give to other executives in the business?
Driscoll: I think it comes from being in publishing for many years now: Don’t rush to be the first to market. Nothing in publishing changes overnight. Nothing. I’ve worked for the large publishing houses, and I was involved in e-books and CD-ROMs in their early days.
Don’t react too quickly, but, at the same time, you have to be open to change. Change is going to happen. Look at other industries that are weathering change, such as the music industry and the film industry. We have to adapt, but we can’t just jump in. We have to use some caution [in] adapting to change. BB
Peter Beisser is a regular contributor to Book Business. He previously was the managing editor of several North American Publishing Co. titles.