Partners’ Corner is a place where the principals of Market Partners International can share their observations of the publishing industry for the month.
Recently we have been speaking to people outside publishing who might be candidates for a position we are recruiting. They express concern about moving from whatever medium they are currently in – television, digital, music — to the world of book publishing. In our recent series, Off the Beaten Path, which profiled publishing professionals taking their skills to other types of companies and media positions, former publishers expressed similar concerns. With many people moving out of the industry, it’s easy for outsiders to wonder if book publishing is a dying industry they should move away from, not into.
However, we have found ourselves answering these queries with a surprising optimism, as we explain that the advent of digital has had an enormously positive impact on profitability. In effect, publishers have successfully converted 20-30 percent of their business to a high margin, low risk model that has allowed for new audiences and platforms. Even back in December 2011, Jeff Dodes, EVP, Marketing and Digital Media Strategy at St. Martin’s (and a music industry immigrant) remarked in an old Publishing Trends article (from our printed newsletter) that “on the whole publishers seem to be embracing digital and restructuring their companies around the future at a faster pace than the music business did.” While digital may have been daunting when it first disrupted the industry with the Kindle, publishers have been able to adapt over the past five or so years.
Plus, where else can passionate book readers find work that requires them to read and talk and market (e)books?