Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Future of Publishing

At the Publishing Business Conference in New York City, I attended keynote addresses by two leaders in the publishing industry about the future of magazine and book publishing:

Cathie Black, President of Hearst Magazines (Cosmopolitan, Esquire, O, Good Housekeeping, Popular Mechanics, Harpers Bazar, etc.) talked about the future of magazine publishing. She believes that magazines have a strong future. She doesn’t believe that the decline in newspapers has to bleed over to magazines, as long as they continue to provide value. It’s not digital vs. print, but digital + print. They are launching a major advertising campaign in their magazines to promote magazines. Strong growth internationally—they sell 1 million copies of Cosmo in Russia. Every one of their magazines has a Web site. A consortium of magazines (Next Issue Media) is trying to develop a subscription/advertising model for magazines on reader devices.

Jane Friedman (CEO OpenRoad Integrated Media, former CEO HarperCollins) talked about the future of book publishing. She said that the book business is not evolving—it is in a revolution. Publishing used to be about editors selecting titles, publishers publishing them, and then distributing them to see what sold. They didn’t know much about their audiences. Today, it is critical to provide exactly the right content, delivered when and how the audience wants it. Jane founded OpenRoad Interactive Media to publish (1) the full breadth of an author—their full backlist), (2) partnerships to market for other publishing companies, (3) e-riginals (books born digitally) that will be e-books and also printed on demand, and (4) discovery—they provide marketing for self-published books. (There were 700,000 self-published books last year.) She believes that in 5 years, 40% of revenue for publishing houses will come from e-books.

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