Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

P's Perspective: Publisher Panel - State of the Union

Hey it's me. Got a second wind - sort of. I've had some dinner and not feeling quite as cranky. But lord, I'm tired. Typing with a two year-old in your lap is no picnic either. But had to report on the state of the union as seen through the eyes of the presidents of Penguin Books, Random House and Scholastic.

Even though I seriously considered dipping out before the conference ended today, I knew it would be highly irresponsible of me to miss the powerhouse publishers talk about what they saw and thought about the current state and future of children's publishing.

So the highlights from their mouths to my ear to you:

Doug Whiteman, Penguin

- Despite MG and YA being the growth area for the last few years, really believes the PB slump is coming to a near end

- Because he feels teens are more sophisticated he is unapologetic for pushing the envelope on some topics especially when it leads to first time readers picking up a book

- Says that publishers need to make an extra effort to get better at the marketing of books and stop relying so much on the retailers, libraries and schools to do this.

- Specifically he felt guerilla marketing and wider use of the internet, podcasts, blogs and the like will be the new future of marketing for the children's market

- Confident that e-publishing will have an impact on children's publishing. Not necessarily today or tomorrow but soon.

- Believes that the iPod craze will facilitate this move forward in marketing techniques.

Chip Gibson, Random House

- Will soon be intro'ing a Christian book imprint as part of Golden Books

- Agreed that the rebound of the PB is coming soon.

- Agreed that a new wave of marketing is on the horizon

- Said that the new focus of pubs will be the low-end retailer (i.e. The Dollar Store)

- Felt that publishers had to do whatever it takes to compete with the noise (video games, MP3 players etc..)

- Says Random House is already looking at how they will handle the future of e-publishing as it relates to rights, royalties and format.

Lisa Holton, Scholastic Inc.

- Believes we need to protect the beauty of reading

- Emphasized that we will always write for the avid reader but that we need to also understand who the new readers are and reach them

- Scholastic is interested in focusing outside of the narrow band of regular readers, because otherwise we are losing an audience. Relayed an experience about going to a Title I school and having a large number of children who could not afford the $4 books. Scholastic has $2 books available but not enough to serve the school. Thus their interest in ensuring all kids have access to books.

- Also in this example she indicated they found that 67% of the kids read below profeciency level. Thus, Scholastics interest in trying to identify readers who are older yet not able to read up.

The topic of rights to e-pub was a hot topic. Lots was said but the bottom line - there is still no definitive outlook on how this would be handled if say a reader could download a book or chapter and put it on a device like an iPod.

Clearly there are discussions being had. The publishers are concerned that if they do not act fast enough, agents will see this as a separate right that they can negotiate without the publisher.

No one said it, but the unspoken was they do not want a Napster debacle on their hands like the music industry experienced.


Post a Comment

<< Home