Editor's Note: The Perfect Storm
News of the Google settlement inspired celebration among many in the industry, but the HMH news caused a collective gasp. If it is a sign of the times, it joins many other signs pointing to a perfect storm. Book Business columnist Andrew Brenneman refers to this perfect storm—brought on by digitally induced changes in the fundamentals of how we publish and sell books, and the global financial crisis, among other things (page 34). Hetherington also refers to the perfect storm in “16 Tips for Steering Your Company Through an Evolving Industry” (page 23) and notes, among the causes, a skittish consumer mentality, rising oil prices and the fluctuating dollar. “The question will be one of degree,” he says. “Which [industry] sector will have the toughest time, and how will they respond?”
In this issue, we packed in as many tips as we could to help you respond to and minimize the impact of this perfect storm. Hopefully, you’ll walk away with at least a handful of ideas you can implement today.
Responding to the storm is also the essence of the 2009 Publishing Business Conference & Expo (March 20-23 in New York). We’ve enlisted the support of some of the brightest, most innovative people in publishing to help direct the programming for this crucial conference. Brenneman and Hetherington will serve as the event’s co-chairs, along with an advisory board that includes:
- Michael Healy, executive director, the Book Industry Study Group;
- John Morse, president/publisher, Merriam-Webster Inc.;
- Carolyn Pittis, senior vice president, global marketing and operations, HarperCollins;
- Eugene Schwartz, Book Business columnist and editor at large, ForeWord Magazine;
- Malle Vallik, director digital content and interactivity,
- Michael Weinstein, vice president, global content and
media production, Cengage Learning; and
- Jabin White, vice president, STM sales, Scope eKnowledge Center Inc., among others.
It is a challenging time in publishing, but there is opportunity shining through the dark clouds. You just need to know where to look.