Book Publishers in Magazine Territory?
I don’t know if you're aware of this, but I moonlight as the editor in chief for Publishing Executive’s sister magazine Book Business, a national trade magazine for the book publishing industry. While book and magazine publishing are distinct industries, they have many similarities, and today, they actually seem to be on a collision course.
Book publishers, like magazine publishers, are developing new business models to leverage multimedia opportunities and reach today’s multimedia reader. William J. Pesce, president and CEO of John Wiley & Sons, a major player in the book publishing industry, commented, “Over the past five years, we have introduced more new business models than we had in the previous 193 years …” in a recent Book Business article, “Are You Ready for the Future?”
This is where the industries are converging. Case in point: A few months ago, HarperCollins put its new book “Go It Alone! The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own” online—free to consumers—and sold ad space on each page. Google and Yahoo! text ads and banner ads appear throughout. HarperCollins has commented that this is a pilot program, but its implications could be significant if it is successful.
Dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster has been selling ad space on its Web site for a number of years. Book publishing companies also have e-newsletters, seminars (online and off) and conferences—you name it.
The fact that book publishers are dipping their toes in what traditionally has been magazine territory may be scary. On the flip side, it certainly is not unheard of for magazine publishers to publish books.
As icing on the collision-course cake, magazine and book companies alike are turning to video to supplement their content and bank accounts. Blogs have no media boundaries either—heck, even a number of fictitious book characters have blogs.
This point of intersection indicates that few rules about publishing content apply today. As many industry gurus have said, your job as content publishers is to figure out what your readers need and in what form they want to receive it. And to do so, it couldn’t hurt to keep a closer eye on the book publishing industry, especially the parts that overlap your market sectors. You just might be surprised by what they’re doing.