Publishing noob

Notes and observations from the world of book publishing

Archive for the tag “Publishing and Printing”

Integration, innovation and the swedes

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This winter has been the worst in my short life when it comes to common colds. I guess this is my fifth so far, this time with fever. I have tried to wash my hands, eat properly and exercise. That is the downside of the otherwise enjoyable finnish winter. While being sick for the past couple of days I had plenty of time to read. So I got my hands on Isaac Asimov‘s Foundation series. I found it interesting that Asimov visioned e- and audio books back in 1952 by describing “bookshelf with cards, which you can then read or listen aloud from a television like machine”. Close enough for me.

Now back to more current issues. The Federation of the Finnish Media Industry announced an innovation competition back in november called ThinkInk.  The target was to innovate new products and services that would benefit the printing industry. I am a keen supporter of so-called open-data and Service Oriented Architecture in general. What I noticed when working in the printing industry, it was not utilized much as it could have been. So my application was about creating a general interface for all the parties that would like to turn their digital content to a printed form. The main idea was that creating an easy and cost-effective API to print service providers. Digital content producers could then monetize their content by selling physical products and print service providers would get some completely new revenue. We will see how it goes in March.

Other interesting things have been happening as well, that is the main reason I have been not updating the blog lately. As all following the scandinavian publishing industry know already, Bonnier has now finalized the acquisition of WSOY. A new Bonnier Books Finland will be formed, which will provide core services like HR, financial services, IT and so on to the actual publishing companies. I will be working there so it is going to be interesting and rather busy year.

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Why on earth to a publishing career?

Then I was offered a job about 7 months ago in a big publishing company. You have been probably heard this saying that men socialize insulting each other, but not really meaning it. Now my friends are asking “why you jumped from other soon to be extinct business to another?”. Just to clarify, before I was working in the printing industry. All though there might be some analogy between those, I think they are facing completely different challenges. In the printing industry, the demand for certain product types are rapidly diminishing and they have to come up with new sources of revenue.

As a person who likes challenges and everything that is new, swap to a publishing company was an obvious choice. I see a lot of this in the publishing industry, as print on demand, e-commerce and e-books make books more widely available, easier to find and buy. This requires new kind set skills from the publisher. I also have a lot of respect for all the work that publishers have done for decades, like marketing people, publishing editors and graphical designers. These services will stay the corner-stone of book publishing in the future, even though media and sales channels might change.

I think Mike Shatzkin said it well by stating:

“Anybody who doesn’t find the publishing business interesting in its time of digital change is simply not paying close enough attention.”

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