Penguin Group Sheds 10 Percent of UK Staff
Who hasn’t tried the excuse, “My dog ate my homework,” on a teacher? Success with that excuse now is nearly impossible, according to experts in educational book publishing. So much of what teachers currently do involves digital materials and tools that, short of a network failure or computer glitch, a student would be hard-pressed to come up with a similar excuse.
At a New York City press gathering similar to one held just three months ago when the Kindle 2 was unveiled, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once again addressed a crowded auditorium Wednesday morning to talk about his “Kindle vision”—to have every book ever written, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds. Perhaps taking another step forward in achieving his ultimate goal, Bezos introduced the Kindle DX, which, at 9.7 inches, boasts a display screen that is two-and-a-half times the size of its slightly older sibling, the Kindle 2.
On his “Publishing 2020” blog, Joe Wikert, general manager of O’Reilly Media’s Technology Exchange Division, mused recently about the long-term viability of the closely watched deal between Borders and HarperStudio, whereby the bookstore chain will purchase HarperStudio titles at a 10-percent to 15-percent discount in exchange for accepting a no-returns agreement. As a result, Wikert wrote, Borders will probably be less aggressive with initial buys and could find itself out of stock in the face of a hit—not a good situation for either party. On the other hand, having to sell all of the books it purchases most likely means Borders will more aggressively market HarperStudio titles—just the sort of incentive lacking in the current system.
Book publishers are up against tough competition for readers’ attention, and nowhere is this more evident than in a Google search. On a search results page, we not only compete against other book titles and authors, but we also compete with our own distribution channels, free Web content, video, news and even Google’s own scanned copies of our books. If you find yourself frustrated that you don’t rank in Google as high as you think you should, you’re not alone. So what’s a book publisher to do?
Publishers looking to cut costs and production time face a wealth of challenges, not the least of which is shaking off old conceptions. Putting the focus on content, rather than on books as manufactured objects, can paradoxically help to uncover new ways to speed up the workflow (or, more accurately, customize the workflow to meet the needs of individual projects), and do so in as cost-effective a manner as possible. Common themes among those who shared with Book Business their cost- and time-saving production tips are planning and adaptability, which depend on effective communication. Despite all the technological advances of recent years (and
Longfellow’s celebration of the forest primeval finds its echo today in the green revolution taking place along the supply chain of the paper industry. Although—as I learned from interviewing people who prefer not be quoted on the subject—good intentions are ahead of actual practice, it is a harbinger nonetheless of the revolutionary transformations taking place in the paper industry’s business practices. Which brings me to the subject of this column: a snapshot of the globally transforming paper industry, the state of book-paper supply, and how the present outlook shapes your paper usage and purchasing strategies. As long as print products are foundational to the
1. Random House Inc. 2. Business 21 Publishing LLC 3. Rodale Inc. 4. Meredith Corp. 5. State University of New York Press 6. Consumers Union 7. Oxford University Press USA 8. BowTie Inc./BowTie Press 9. Pearson/Pearson Education 10. Columbia University Press 11. Lerner Publishing Group 12. Prestwick House Inc. 13. The University of Chicago Press 14. John Wiley & Sons Inc. 15. The Jewish Publication Society 16. Reed Business Information 17. Scholastic
Depending on which study results you stumble upon, somewhere between 60 percent and almost 90 percent of Americans don’t like their jobs. And somewhere between 1 million and 1.4 million people call in sick every day. Sure, a percentage of those people probably have the flu, migraines or other ailments, but many of them likely have a serious case of Ihatemyjobitis. Book Business’ first annual study on the “20 Best Book Publishing Companies to Work For” explores which companies in the industry rank highest among their employees for overall job satisfaction. Each company that was nominated by its employees was rated based on