BoSacks: The Profit Prophet: Paranoia in Publishing

The golden age of publishing lies ahead­. But will we as individuals be part of it?

I realize that I’m not able to offer you any specific prescription to cure your anxiety. The reason for my inability is simple—your fear is not misplaced. None of us are safe, and we all know it. In one way, perhaps, I am at one of the centers of this knowledge base, because I send out 45,000 e-mails each day to the individuals of our industry with my daily newsletter. Every week I receive hundreds of notes, letters, questions and pleas. The concern of these individuals goes across all boundaries and across all job levels. Not only are the journeymen, apprentices and middle management at risk; many in the industry’s most senior positions are wondering whether they will still have a job tomorrow.

If I could write some comforting words and tell you it will be all right, I would. The truth is that our industry is actually headed for the next golden age of publishing; I just cannot promise you that everyone who reads this will be part of that future. I am not expressing anything you don’t already know, but I feel an obligation to let you know that your observations and concerns are being felt by the rest of us as well.

There is really nothing we can do, but take a deep breath, be indispensable and learn every aspect not only of our own jobs, but of those positions around us. We must understand that as old media transforms, it will be replaced by new jobs, new responsibilities and new opportunities. Although we are still working out what that successful business model will look like, the core of what we do remains the same: We educate, entertain and inform, and we will remain one of the true bedrocks of civilization.

Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group ( He also is the co-founder of the research company mediaIDEAS (, and publisher and editor of a daily, international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator, and just about every other job this industry has to offer.

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  • http://HerveLeclair Herve Leclair

    Great point! Not knowing where or what we will be tomorrow is the key for social evolution, which in turn is the key for freedom…
    As I move, I obviously will try to get to some point where I think the sun is brighter, but moving, by itself, has always been risky. And the faster you go the riskier it is. Not only because running fast in a perpetually changing environment is by itself dangerous; but also because it means you have less time to analyze and decide of where to go.
    Now, think about the guy who broke his leg and married the nurse…
    Sometime we, as individuals, do not know what to do to keep our positions. But is keeping our positions / industries worth the fight? There might be new positions, brighter futures and smarter solutions. So let’s go find them! Got to explore the promised land of IT and interactivity; I am sure that we have not seen anything yet; the web is reconfiguring the way we’re taught, the way we teach, how we communicate, and even what communication means. I have no clue on what tomorrow will be made of. That’s what’s interesting in it! We should love life, love it until death, for the better and the worst. Because if we’re afraid of running, we won’t ever marry the nurse.

    (Please excuse my english, I am French!)