PMA

Industry Suffers Loss: Jan Nathan Dies at 68
July 6, 2007

On June 17, the book publishing industry suffered a major loss when Jan Nathan, the founding executive director of the PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association, passed away at her home in California after a battle with cancer. She was 68. Nathan’s work with PMA (originally the Publishers Marketing Association) and its many members has had a major impact on the independent book publishing industry. She formed PMA in 1983 to help independent publishers advance their businesses through education and cooperative advertising and marketing efforts. Today, the organization consists of more than 4,000 members nationally. She will long be remembered by the thousands of

Piecing Together the Distribution Puzzle
June 1, 2007

If distribution means getting books into the hands of sellers, circulators or readers, then a true profile of the distribution business would cast a wide net, beginning at the binding line and continuing through to the ‘long tail’ of online portals, used bookstores and curbside pushcarts. However, if distribution, from the publisher’s view, means getting books to generate sales revenue, we can overlook all of the aftermarket, recirculation and reselling channels and focus solely on reaching stores, libraries, online and catalog warehouses and—increasingly, thanks to the Internet—direct marketing from the publisher to the consumer. In the article “Deconstructing Distribution,” in Book Business’

Deconstructing Distribution
May 1, 2007

The recent collapse of San Diego-based wholesaler Advanced Marketing Services (AMS), and its distribution subsidiary that it took down with it—the much esteemed Publishers Group West (PGW) that it acquired only five years ago—reminded me of the remarkable way in which our industry sorts through 180,000 new titles a year and the millions more in print. Somehow, in a timely manner, the industry moves books into stores, superstores, specialty stores and gift shops, big-box discounters, grocery and drug store chains, and libraries of all kinds—aggregating more than 100,000 accounts that someone has to bill and collect on. Dramatic though the PGW collapse is, drilling

Are You the Weakest Link?
March 1, 2007

As I was preparing for this column, I came across the following statement in a brochure prepared by Strategos, strategic planning consultants, that I picked up at an event a few years ago: “What’s amazing is how often top management is surprised when dramatic external change happens. Why the surprise? Is it that the world is violently turbulent, changing in ways that simply cannot be anticipated? Perhaps. But we call them ‘inevitable surprises.’ Think about it. In retrospect, you could have anticipated most of the disruptions in your industry. You can build this capability into your organization. You can be prepared—before your competition.”

Warehouse Practices: How Do Yours Measure Up?
February 1, 2007

Publishing executives and warehouse managers in companies large and small, with highly diverse and targeted products and marketing channels, can benefit for the first time from a new Warehouse Benchmarking System. The program was tested last year by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and is now being rolled out to the industry. Participants can measure their productivity and improve the effectiveness of their warehousing practices. It is an easy-to-use, and highly powerful program that relies on comparative peer-group data. “Participants use their [Web] browser to enter the appropriate data in a convenient, tabular format,” says Professor Leon McGinnis at the School of Industrial

Digital Full Color Opens New Book Markets
June 1, 2006

While digital toner and inkjet based color has been available for years, Lightning Source’s announcement at Book Expo America of its four-color one-off production line exponentially expands the base for untapped publishing business opportunities for mid-range, independent and high-end publishers. It also shines the light on the transformation of manufacturing business models in the past 10 years, providing a price-list-based, sophisticated manufacturing service that simplifies the supply chain process without sacrificing quality controls. Buying color in Asia or Europe in sufficient quantities to bring the unit cost down and allowing for the weeks of turnaround time need no longer be a barrier to the

Grandma Knows Best
June 1, 2006

Grandma Janet Mary Sinke has some story to tell. A grandmother of eight (with a ninth on the way) who is battling Parkinson’s Disease—a neurological condition affecting the motor system—she started her own independent publishing company, My Grandma and Me Publishers, in 2003. Despite having no publishing experience to draw upon, Sinke’s books have been recognized for their innovative marketing efforts. Two of her recent works—“Grandma’s Treasure Chest” and “Grandpa’s Fishin’ Friend”—were finalists for the PMA’s (The Independent Book Publishers Association) 2006 Ben Franklin Award for children’s picture book, with the latter title taking home the honor. In addition, she has sold more than

26 Tips for Licensing International Rights
May 1, 2006

“Wide open and full of potential” is how Anne Landa, rights and exports manager for Sourcebooks Inc., characterizes the market for licensing international rights. “It is simply about placing the right books with the right people and seeing the whole thing through,” Landa—who works out of her home office in San Diego, Calif.—says about selling licensing rights to publishers around the globe for Sourcebooks. International licensing rights increased 20 percent last year at the Naperville, Ill.-based publisher. Sourcebooks, an independent publisher of more than 900 trade titles, has had books translated into 36 languages and published in 34 countries. Landa says she expects the upward

Going Guerrilla
June 1, 2005

In a world where small, independent business owners have been giving way to the likes of Wal-Mart or the seemingly ubiquitous Starbucks, there is one segment of society in which independents are on the rise. Independent operations in publishing are swarming the market like bees on a honey-drenched hive. The reason, some say, is due in part to advanced home technology, making the idea of becoming a published writer more accessible to the masses—specifically with the advent of print-on-demand, blogging, e-zines and other venues that allow sometimes even the not-so-literate to become self-described authors. But high numbers do not translate to

Our Indusry's 'Green' Leaders
June 1, 2005

A look at pioneers in improving the industry's environmental impact. When San Francisco publisher Chronicle Books decided to improve its environmental impact, it didn't waste any time. It formed an internal eco task force and spent 2004 researching its paper options with its U.S. and Asian printers. It enlisted its merchants and mills in the process. And it pushed all of its suppliers to join in its commitment to print on better paper. As a result, it was able to obtain eco-friendly paper without paying a higher price. By 2005, Chronicle was ready to make a formal commitment to the goals of