Book Business 0509
From multimillion-dollar acquisitions to multimillion-dollar best-sellers, powerful women stand at every pivotal, decision-making point in the book publishing process. Book Business’ first annual “50 Top Women in Book Publishing” feature recognizes and honors some of these industry leaders who affect and transform how publishing companies do business, and what—and how—consumers read.
Publishers’ “green” efforts took center stage at the 3rd Annual SustainPrint Awards Dinner, held March 23 at New York City’s Marriott Marquis Times Square, during the Publishing Business Conference & Expo. Two book publishers were recognized for their significant achievements in environmental sustainability: Melcher Media—winner of the Newcomer of the Year Award in Book Publishing (awarded to a company that recently implemented significant environmental sustainability efforts)—and the University of California Press—winner of the Longtime Leader Award in Book Publishing (awarded to a company with a significant history of environmental sustainability). Boho magazine and Ogden Publications received this year’s SustainPrint Awards in magazine publishing.
With no government bailout in sight to rescue their ailing industries, more than 1,200 book- and magazine-publishing executives convened at the 2009 Publishing Business Conference & Expo in New York City, March 23-25, in search of strategies to help them weather the worsening storm. And while much of the discussion centered around cost-cutting, the topic of innovation took center stage throughout the event, which featured nearly 60 educational sessions and more than 125 speakers.
Every so often, e-mails circulate among female friends and colleagues citing a guide to hiring “lady employees” that reportedly ran in Mass Transportation Magazine in 1943. There are 11 fascinating tips in all, but here are a few highlights:
"Wherever women are, we are,” says Malle Vallik, director, digital content and interactivity for Harlequin Enterprises. You’ll hear this mantra uttered by other Harlequin executives, but it is much more than corporate speak. It is part of a “deliberate strategy,” says Vallik, and the driving force behind Harlequin’s evolution over the past 60 years.
Maybe divine intervention will reverse the profit slide for religious book publishers. But industry experts believe it also would be prudent to consider scaling back on titles, reducing returns, making intelligent use of data, investing in digital opportunities and otherwise adapting business models for future success.
Two decades ago, as an entry-level editorial assistant, I was asked to sign form rejection letters with the name “Edith D. Wilson.” Edith was a fictional creation whose name my then-employer used exclusively to reject manuscripts. When “rejected” writers sent angry mail, phoned or worse—visited the publisher’s office—the use of Edith’s name at the reception desk would alert all to draw the shades or reach for the security buzzer. The message was clear: Editors, and the publishers they work for, need to be as hard to get to as possible. Publishing authority and position demanded “reclusivity.” Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
Profound, technology-driven changes in the content marketplace have presented publishers with a mandate for transformation, to change the manner in which value is delivered, how it is monetized, and the tools and skills necessary to do so. At present, this is seen most strikingly in the world of print. Seismic events are regularly occurring that herald the dawn of new models of content distribution and the twilight of the old.