Driven to Disruption: Reading James McQuivey’s Digital Disruption

PT Book Review continues its regular column in which we review, explicate, and excerpt books that we think will resonate with people in the business of publishing and media. 


The word “disruption” is hardly unfamiliar to those in the publishing industry. Almost every part of book business has been affected by disruption, particularly of the digital kind, from the advent and availability of ereaders to the struggle for bricks-and-mortar stores to keep up with online retailers. With several disruptive companies already in full swing and announcements of new startups every day, Forrester Research VP and Principal Analyst James McQuivey’s Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation (published, appropriately enough, by Amazon this year) seems like the ideal read for anyone in the book business.

Though this title  is not specific to book business, McQuivey repeats throughout that digital disruption will affect every industry. The agility of new electronic platforms and digital technology in general has not only accelerated the rate of change in every business sector, but also allows for individuals to wield  greater power. McQuivey cites entrepreneurs like Guy Cramer, who developed an online camouflage business, and Charles Teague with his weight loss program/community FitNow, as case studies demonstrating how one idea can create an entire business. He also goes so far as to say that future companies may be a part of a “disposable economy” where small teams of innovators work together on a certain project and disband after completion. This all embraces the lean startup mentality—but what is a company to do when it is not a startup? How can legacy publishers take advantage of this revolution? Read More »

People Roundup, May 2013


Brendan Cahill has joined Random House, Inc. as Vice President, Corporate Projects, working with departments across the company on a variety of internal and externally-directed endeavors, beginning with digital-partnership development opportunities.  He was previously CEO of NatureShare, and before that VP and Publisher at Open Road, and an Editor at Running Press, Grove/Atlantic, and Gotham Books.

W. Ralph Eubanks has announced that he will be leaving his post as the Director of Publishing at Library of Congress to become Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review

SVP of Hachette Digital & Audio Maja Thomas is leaving the company after 22 years with Time Warner and then HBG, “for the next exciting chapter of her career.”  She has led Hachette Audio since 2000 and Hachette Digital since 2005, chief strategist for HBG of the Bookish website.  Though she will be consulting for Hachette until the end of the year and reachable via that email address, she will also be  at [email protected]

Courtney Hodell is leaving FSG, where she was Executive Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].

Margaret Coffee has joined Egmont USA as Sales and Marketing Director. Most recently she was VP of Sales at Albert Whitman, and was previously at Scholastic for more than 16 years.  Katie Halata moves up to Sales and Marketing Manager at Egmont.

Michael Cairns is joining Publishing Technology as COO of their Online Solutions division, succeeding Louise Russell and reporting to George Lossius.  Most recently, Cairns has been a consultant and served as Chief Revenue Officer for SharedBook, focused on their Academic Pub platform.

Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), Angela Bole, will become Executive Director of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) in July, remaining based in New York. Current Executive Director Florrie Binford Kichler, is retiring from the post in June.

Christian Trimmer will be joining S&S Books For Young Readers as Senior Editor.  He has worked for the Walt Disney Company for nearly 13 years.

Ken Brooks, Cengage SVP, Global Production & Manufacturing Services, has left the company to restart his operations and product development consulting firm, Treadwell Media Group.

Julia Kenny is joining Dunow Carlson & Lerner as an Agent, rejoining her recent colleague Eleanor Jackson. Kenny was at Markson Thoma–from which Geri Thoma, Jackson, Laney Katz Becker and Kenny have all departed since early March.

Maddie Caldwell has joined Knopf, reporting to Director of Media Relations Paul Bogaards. She was at Weed Literary for the past year.

Jennifer Corcoran will join Little, Brown Children’s on May 6 as Director of Publicity. She was most recently Publicity Director at Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Julie Just, who became an Agent at Janklow & Nesbit in late 2010 after working at the NYT Book Review as Children’s Book Editor, is moving to Pippin Properties. Read More »

All Dressed Up with No Place to Go: The Renaissance of Argentinian Publishers VS. Global Isolationism

PrintFrom April 25 to May 19, the Buenos Aires Book Fair will be welcoming readers and Spanish-language publishing professionals around the world, seeking, says the Fair’s Executive Director, Gabriela Adamo, “to reassure Argentina’s place as a leading country in the Spanish book industry.” Like every other part of the Spanish-language book industry, Argentina is feeling the effect of Spain’s suffering publishing industry. Add the country’s own high inflation and recent laws making it all but impossible to import books manufactured outside the country, and the situation seems dire.

While no one denies the extreme challenges, there is almost equally universal agreement among Argentinian publishing professionals that their industry is at a more exciting place now than it’s been since Argentina’s literary “golden age,” post-World War II. Despite the economic and legal challenges, many within the industry see specific ways that Argentina could very reasonably “reassure” its place in—and even help reshape—the global Spanish book industry if governmental policies shifted even slightly.

Argentinian book business’ greatest international challenge currently comes from the home front. In autumn 2011, faced with  annual rates of inflation over 20% and taking a policy stance of “cultural sovereignty,” the Argentinian government introduced rigorous guidelines for all aspects of international trade. For the book industry, this means strict import quotas on the number of books manufactured outside Argentina and extensive chemical tests to the materials of those books that are imported, along with newly complicated procedures for sending international payments.

Read More »

How to Get Your Second Job in Publishing

(Written from interviews conducted by Elisabeth Watson and Kimberly Lew)

Getting your foot in the door is important, but it’s also only the first step in building a career in the publishing industry. Though there have been many articles and stories about how to navigate a first job, very few delve into what happens next. How do you evaluate when you’re ready for a change? What is the best way to pursue a promotion? What do you do when unexpected opportunities to move up the ladder come knocking? In order to find out, we recently took a survey of a variety of publishing industry professionals who shared their second job experiences with us.

After finally getting that first real job, how does one identify when it’s time to move on? For Todd Berman, VP, Client Development  at Random House, moving on to his next job has always been a matter of needing a new challenge, whether it was in publicity, marketing, sales, or even (his current position) client development.  “Each job I approached I was somewhat unqualified for,” Todd admits. “Every few years, I want to learn something new or different, so when I see something of interest, I pursue it.” The drawback to this approach, of course, is that there is a sometimes a steep learning curve, especially since it might not just be the job title changing, but the department and house as well. The trick to finding new opportunities, Todd says, is to approach different departments and “get to know audiences and become a sponge for information.”

Others realized that it was time to move on when they saw that the job they had wouldn’t position them for the long-term career they really wanted. Claire Taylor, National Accounts Manager at Macmillan, and Bruce Nichols, SVP, Publisher at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, both got their starts at academic publishers but quickly realized that they needed to break out to fulfill their career aspirations. Though Bruce started in a coveted role as an Editorial Assistant at Little, Brown’s college division, he learned within six months of starting his first job (and in fact was told by many people in the Editorial department) “that the best way to move anywhere in College publishing was to get into Sales.” While Bruce’s eventual career in Sales provided him with the mobility he was looking for, he admits the importance of a first job, even (or especially) if it’s not perfect: “You know, I think if I’d applied for the sales position right out of college—even though it was the better position for me and for my career—I wouldn’t have gotten it. It was better to just get my foot in the door.” Read More »

People Roundup, Mid-April 2013


Random House has announced a multi-faceted book deal with Dave Zinczenko, formerly EVP, Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health and General Manager of the Healthy Living Group and Rodale Books at Rodale, which includes a 3-book publishing deal with Ballantine, an imprint Zinc Ink within the Random House Publishing Group and a distribution deal for branded titles produced by his packaging company Galvanized Brands in association with American Media and others. Zinc Ink will be headed up jointly by Galvanized COO Stephen Perrine (formerly Publisher at Rodale Books) and BBD Publisher Libby McGuire.

As reported in Publishers Lunch, Vaughn Andrews will join Workman Publishing as Creative Director for the Workman imprint on April 22. Most recently a Freelance Designer, he worked for 26 years at Harcourt, including serving as Executive Art Director and Creative Director. Raquel Jaramillo, who has been acting Creative Director for two years, will return full time to her position as Director of Children’s Publishing.

Deb Futter has been named Publisher of Twelve in addition to her role as VP, Editor-in-Chief of Grand Central Publishing.  As a result, Twelve Publisher Cary Goldstein has decided to pursue other interests.  Cary joined Twelve at its inception, seven years ago.

Sam Tanenhaus has stepped down from his role as New York Times Book Review Editor to become Writer at Large. He is replaced by Pamela Paul, the Features Editor at the Book Review, whom Tanenhaus hired as Children’s Book Editor in 2011.

Maha Khalil has joined the Crown Publishing Group as the Marketing Director for Clarkson Potter, Potter Style, Potter Craft, Watson-Guptill and Amphoto.  She joins Crown  from Hyperion, where she was most recently the Director of Sales.

Judy Courtade is leaving her position as Associate Director of Client Services at Perseus Distribution and can be reached at [email protected]

Eric Nelson, most recently Executive Editor at Wiley, has joined the Susan Rabiner Literary Agency as an Agent.

Laney Katz Becker has joined Lippincott Massie McQuilkin as an Agent. Previously, she was at Markson Thoma and before that, Folio Literary Management.

Tad Floridis has joined Zola Books as Director of International Business Development, with an initial mandate to take the company into the UK and British Commonwealth markets. Floridis was previously Co-founder and Associate Publisher of Canongate US.

Jhanteigh Kupihea will join Atria as Editor on April 22. Previously she was Associate Editor at NAL.

Lisa Vanterpool has joined InkWell Management as its Public Relations and Social Media Strategist; she worked previously for Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. Monika Woods has also joined InkWell as Assistant Literary Agent to Kimberly Witherspoon, who previously worked at Trident Media Group. Read More »

Where Do We Go From Here?: A Survey on How to Get Your Second Job in Publishing

For almost four years, Publishing Trends’ most popular article has been a piece called “How to Get a Job in Publishing,” by Marian Schembari, a recent college grad who used her social media skills to land a job in book publicity. But getting a job in publishing is just a beginning—how and when does someone move on to the next big thing? If you’ve already got your foot in the door, where do you go from there?

With this in mind, we decided to take the next logical step and ask: “How did you get your second job in publishing?”—a change we chose to define as the first officially recognized title change, whether that was brought about by internal promotion, department change, or company switch. We compiled a survey with questions about the “second-job experience” and sent it to publishing professionals in all corners of the industry and at all points in their career.  We wondered what that first career shift could tell us about what keeps young professionals in publishing, and how second jobs and the forces behind them have changed over the past four decades.

While our more in-depth interviews with participants are forthcoming, the initial data provides a striking portrait of a career milestone through time and in a wide variety of contexts.

WHO: The 650 carefully weighted surveys yielded a double digit response—some of them amazingly detailed—about  careers that measured anywhere  from three to forty-five years. Respondents currently work in companies that range from Big 6 publishers to indie presses, trade to textbooks, agencies to distributors, trade associations to national accounts, and hold titles that run the gamut from Associate to CEO.

WHERE: Among those surveyed, the greatest number began in Editorial, with 41% of responders having started there. Sales was runner-up with 20%, and Rights/Agencies were tied with Publicity, having each been the launchpad for 11% of our respondents. When they moved to their second job, 67% respondents said they moved departments, while 61% said that a second job meant moving to a different company altogether. Whether or not people moved departments seemed to vary depending on where they started: most people who started in Editorial stayed put in their department, with 68% of our respondents who started in Editorial saying they are still in the same department now. Those who started in Sales had higher turnover, with only 37% of respondents who started in Sales still working in that department now.

WHEN: The timeline for how long it took for people to get to what they considered their “second job” in publishing ranged from 6 months to 6 years, but averaged 1.75 years.

HOW: When it came to how the move to a second job was made, 59% said they “took direct action.” “Direct action” meant different things to different responders. Plenty of people said they made their desire to move up known to supervisors, or applied to job listings in-house or from other companies. Just as interesting are the number of job changes young workers didn’t go out of their way to obtain, but which were hardly part of their company’s typical career path. The most common example (and often the source of the most dramatic change) was a supervisor’s promotion or dismissal, pointing to the interconnectedness of individuals’ career paths.

But the meatiest questions begged for an in-depth conversation, so stay tuned to learn: How do people manage to make the leap? Why do people decide their next jobs should be in publishing at all? How does that first progression inform the career changes that come after?

Little Engines That Could: Children’s Publishers in Europe’s Smaller Markets

In anticipation of the Bologna International Book Fair, there’s no shortage of buzz about the fast-emerging kids’ markets in Asia, Latin America, and the Arab world, along with curiosity about how the traditional powerhouses of France, Spain, and Germany are faring. Falling somewhere in between, the smaller European territories are feeling the benefit of Asian markets hungry for content, but also the challenge of staying visible on the global scene as larger European countries develop their digital publishing industries, often at a faster rate.

All children’s publishers in these smaller territories conceded their relative good fortune in contrast to non-children’s publishing colleagues, due to parents’ (and even some governments’) unwillingness to cut corners on what they see as children’s cultural education. In Greece, says Dominique Sandis, Commissioning Editor at Psichigios Publications, juvenile “hasn’t felt the full extent of [the financial crisis’] wrath on publishing,” despite lower production numbers. Children’s publishers in those hardest-hit markets have suffered most in terms of the value of advances they are able to offer, agree Sandis and Hana Whitton, the Director of Oxford Literary in the UK , which represents many Hungarian and Baltic publishers. Several US Scouts and Rights Directors report that it’s only within the past 6 months that Greek publishers have started buying again, suggesting a hopeful upturn in business.

There is also concern over the production cost of small, four-color print runs, and over publishers’ attempts to absorb more costs by offering large discounts. “I’m worried people won’t recognize these prices as low anymore…and it will become impossible to produce good books, especially picture books, anymore,” says Eefje Buenen, Editor at Leopold in the Netherlands. In Finland, the number of children’s/YA titles has seen significant growth, but in a tiny country with tiny (expensive) print runs, the size of the market itself has held steady even as the variety of titles has increased, reports Outi Mäkinen, Director of Children and Juvenile Publishing at Tammi, Bonnier Finland.

Read More »

People Roundup, March 2013


Charlie Winton, Chairman, CEO and Publisher of Counterpoint, announced today that he will step down as Publisher of the company. Rolph Blythe has been named Publisher of Counterpoint/Soft Skull and will begin at the Counterpoint offices in Berkeley on May 1, 2013. Winton will remain Chairman and CEO, and will also continue to acquire books as an Executive Editor-at-Large.

Michele Martin will be joining Simon & Schuster as VP and Associate Publisher for the Gallery Books Group, reporting to Louise Burke.  Martin was at S&S from 1994-1999 and has held positions at Avalon, Langenscheidt and Doubleday, where she created and oversaw the Main Street Books imprint.  She will “work closely” with Jen Bergstrom, who was recently promoted to Publisher of Gallery Books.

Holly Dolce has joined Abrams as Executive Editor; she was formerly a Senior Editor and Producer at Melcher Media.

Twisne Fan is returning to Macmillan as Vice President, Trade Manufacturing and Production after 16 years at Simon & Schuster. Fan replaces Karen Gilles who is retiring.

The Frankfurt Book Fair has hired Michelle Turnbach as Sales Manager for English-language World, based in New York. She was previously with Baker & Taylor, working on their European and Southeast Asian retail opportunities. Also, NY-based Director of the German Book Office, Riky Stock, will add  managing the Literary Agents and Scouts Centre at the book fair to her role.

Following its sale to the Leon D. Black family last October, Managing Director Amanda Ridout announced her decision to leave Phaidon to pursue personal projects.

As previously announced, Michael Palgon has left his position as EVP and Deputy Publisher at Crown Publishing Group. He can be reached at [email protected]

Patricia Arancibia has joined Apple as head of the iBookstore‘s European operations. Previously, she was Editorial Director, International Acquisition & Relations – International Digital Content at Barnes & Noble.

Karina Mikhli has left On Demand Books for Triumph Learning to become Director of Content Operations.  She may be reached at [email protected].

Margaret Coffee has left her position as VP, Sales at Albert Whitman. She had been at the company since 2009, and was previously at Scholastic.  She can be reached at: [email protected]. Read More »

AAP Annual Meeting: Fighting for Common Ground

At the annual Association of American Publishers meeting in New York on February 28, the topic was “Innovative Solutions for Historic Challenges,” and those ranged from education to the current congressional impasse, to copyright.  Education critic and NYU professor Diane Ravitch was on hand to address the first, Senator Olympia Snowe discussed the second, and Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of the (UK) Publishers Association tackled the third.  Before the program got started, members met to elect Carolyn Reidy to the role of Executive Chair of the AAP, from her position as Vice Chair.

Many publishers from both professional and trade houses were on hand, but the session was not as well attended as some in the past, despite the impressive speakers.  Perhaps conflicts with some sales conferences caused the drop off.  Nevertheless, Macmillan’s John Sargent, PerseusDavid Steinberger (who acted as MC with Tom Allen, President and CEO of AAP), HarperCollins Brian Murray, Hachette’s David Young, Reidy, Cengage’s Ronald Dunn and other CEOs were present.

Ravitch was particularly outspoken about the state of American elhi education, declaring at one point that “charter schools transfer public money to private ventures, undermine public schools, and work to destroy teacher unions.”  She mentioned that, when she wrote her first book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, numerous publishers turned it down (it was eventually published by Basic Books.  Her next, Reign of Error, will be published by Knopf).

Snowe referred to the current congressional bipartisanship as “brinkmanship at its worst,” but on balance, she was hopeful that the country – and its leaders – are ready for change. Her book, Fighting for Common Ground, will be published by Weinstein Books in May.

Mollet was more focused on explaining what The Copyright Hub – a global digital copyright exchange initiative that would help potential licensors find the content’s copyright holders – would be able to do if all parties participated.  As the Hub, which is a nonpartisan UK government sanctioned program, would include book, music and other content holders’ rights data, its successful launch would transform the global licensing business.

The meeting wrapped up shortly past 1 pm, and Tom Allen reminded participants that they should return again in 2014 – as soon as that date and venue is set.  For details go to