I’ve written about the enduring usefulness of printed books here: http://www.maverick-os.com/category/blog/. This video shows the beauty of the craft of bookmaking.
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COMPANIES WITH THE POTENTIAL to rapidly increase their turnover and/or number of employees can now apply for the new GrowthAccelerator service designed to help England’s high-growth SMEs achieve their ambitions. Leadership and Management (L&M) is an integral element of GrowthAccelerator, seeking to develop the capabilities of leaders and their senior teams and to drive business growth. It offers valuable match funding worth up to £2,000 each to help develop your leadership and management skills and support the growth objectives of your business. Match funding significantly increases the value of senior management development programmes you invest in – so you gain more access to the tools…
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How would you describe Amazon’s brand identity as a publisher?
BEHIND EVERY PUBLISHING IMPRINT or brand, carefully managed and curated often through generations, are the lives and careers of thousands of publishers, their hopes and intuition, genius and expertise. The climate set by transpersonal leaders in publishing houses over decades contributes to the culture of the company. Publishers and booksellers have their own strengths and values, and we have pictures in our minds about what to expect from them. I think I know what I might get from Penguin or from Faber; I understand Kogan Page’s strengths as a publisher that is dedicated to certain aspects of business publishing, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s publishing output displays the expertise and approach one would want from such a leading professional body. Blackwell’s is a bookshop where I would find academic insight and Waterstones has a literary feel with a populist slant.
I don’t know what I would expect from a publisher…
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I wrote this for LeaderShape, as part of their series on the continuing and unique contribution of book publishers and booksellers. Comments welcome!
I always love Joe Esposito’s thoughts. He is a witty and astute observer with the valuable eye of an experienced and passionate participant in research and scholarly publishing.
This year Joe has done a lot of work looking at society publishing, which is all well worth reading. The extent to which a professional or scientific society relies on publishing as a way of fulfilling its mission can vary greatly; some societies see their journals and books as the very core of their offering, whereas for others they are cash cows to support other member activity. Either way there are a bewildering range of options and new challenges thrown up by the digital shift. Commercial publishers have a lot to offer.
In this article Joe describes neatly what commercial publishers can and do offer societies (in addition to the obvious: sometimes enormous sums of money).
Looking at this from the publisher’s point of view, there are also untapped benefits (as well as the obvious financial return, “bulking up” and niche domination) from associating with societies. These include acquiring credibility, access to domain expertise, the creation or strengthening of communities or networks of authors, and perhaps strategic growth into new geographies and subject areas.
Of course there is also a very human side of this. Staff in publishing companies often come from academic backgrounds and look for the personal validation that comes from rubbing shoulders with society grandees. For a while I was, though a pretty humble physics grad, the publisher of the outstanding Landau and Lifshitz series of textbooks – The Course of Theoretical Physics. It makes me proud still, though all I did was keep them in print for a few years.
Club Elsevier, as mentioned at the end of Joe’s blog post, is much more fun when the disco floor is full of big-name society people and famous authors.
WHAT DOES AMAZON DO WELL? It catalogues a wide range of knowledge and makes it easier to find. It prices keenly and delivers efficiently. It captures data on what we buy and uses it to target promotional activity online and offline. Readers all over the world can get hold of a wider range of books (and everything else) than ever before, and than was ever possible. Hassled parents can find the toy of choice at birthdays and Christmas and have it delivered within days. Obscure computer parts or connectors can be sourced, and prices are keen across the range. Price is an issue, but for many customers it is secondary to availability. Put simply, Amazon has pretty much everything, and can get most of it to you quickly. That’s an incredible offer.
What Amazon can’t do yet, and has failed to do on several occasions so far, is create the…
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More thoughts on the digital transition, and the need for enlightened leadership in difficult times
WHEN BOOK PUBLISHERS are discussed in the media, it is almost always the big fiction houses that are at the front of mind, bidding millions for the top authors and carpeting the world with big advertising budgets. But this sort of bestseller activity is the tip of a publishing iceberg. The book, as my good colleague Bob Bolick would often say, is a resilient piece of technology that ain’t going anywhere soon. It does its job very effectively, in print and in digital forms. In particular it is interesting to note that despite predictions, print is hanging in there. Nobody gives a gift of an eBook, whereas the printed issue is still a very attractive and welcome present.
I’ve recently given my Kindle to my daughter as I found I wasn’t using it any more. It was a welcome partner in my daily commute, but is an unattractive option compared…
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Emotionally intelligent leaders required in the NHS…
THE NEW NHS England CEO, Simon Stevens, is a breath of fresh air. He is offering new perspectives on the challenge to leaders, and one key message, recognised by the Nuffield Trust, is the need for organisations to work across boundaries, and to abandon a top-down approach in favour of establishing new models of care that work locally.
This is demanding for board members – how can you get the right sort of change while devolving decisions about that change? The answer Simon Stevens offers, and he is right, is to develop “values-based leadership” to create a climate conducive to the right sort of change. This will take emotionally intelligent leaders, and a questioning and challenging board, working in the interests of the public and not within organisational silos.
See Simon Stevens’ speech to the NHS Confederation here
And we have provided the response from the Nuffield Trust also.
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First of a series of thoughts about the impact of Amazon and how publishers might respond.
FIRST, LET’S AGREE – Amazon is not a bookseller, though that is how it began life. It is a multiple retailer, a Walmart of the web and an internet chainstore of everything.
Amazon is one of the dominant commercial powers of our age, though not consistently profitable it has the ability to be so at the flick of a switch. It can and does put competitors out of business. It has ambitions and has made forays into product development as well as retailing. It is a behemoth, straddling the world right now. But can it be a successful book publisher? A new article in the New Yorker discusses its progress in the world of books.
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