5th International Conference on Publishing Industry and Publishing Education in the Digital Era | Reflections from Wuhan, China by Professor Kathy Sandler

Professor Sandler and Yin “Ling” Mengling, a China Publishing Group employee who helped Sandler explore the city.

Kathy Sandler is the Senior Manager of Content Applications and Digital Workflow Development at Penguin Random House. She is also an Adjunct Faculty member in the M.S. in Publishing Program at Pace University. She specializes in management, workflow, and publishing technology for eBooks and iPad apps and enjoys developing classes for people in the industry. She recently published an article on “Innovation in Publishing: This is not an Oxymoron!” for Publishing Research Quarterly.

By: Professor Kathy Sandler

In October 2016, I traveled with Pace to China to lecture at the 5th International Conference on Publishing Industry and Publishing Education in the Digital Era sponsored by Wuhan University and Pace University. It was a fantastic experience! Here are a few of the memories I’d like to share.

Personally, I was struck by the warmth of the people I met. It was very exciting to meet dignitaries from Phoenix Publishing & Media Group and China Publishing Group, which are among the largest publishing companies in the world. But it was heartening to meet a number of former students who were so grateful to Professor Raskin and Professor Lian for what they learned at Pace.

The opening panel of the Wuhan Conference. (Professor Raskin is the fourth speaker from the right.)
I was lucky to have a tour guide in Beijing who worked at China Publishing Group named Yin “Ling” Mengling. I spoke with her at length about some of the great opportunities available in publishing associations in New York. We also discussed a book called Designing Your Life, which I recommend people use to think about their career and life goals.

After we parted, she paid for her own overnight train to Wuhan to attend the weekend conference and take Professor Lian, Professor Raskin and me around Wuhan University. She has since started a Literary Salon speaker series for her friends and colleagues, which she said I inspired her to do. Mark Fretz, who also attended the conference as part of the delegation from Pace, spoke at the inaugural session. I am very proud of Ling and happy I was able to touch her life.

Another thing that struck me in China that I hadn’t fully appreciated before was the giant contribution that Professor Raskin and Professor Lian have made to publishing education in China. Professor Lian was actually one of the founding members of the first publishing program in China at Wuhan University and was instrumental in starting the partnership between Pace and Wuhan U. Professor Raskin has made extremely strong relationships with the major publishing companies in China and, because of this, the companies have hand-picked executives to come train at Pace every year. (And they were able to start the Confucius Institute at Pace University, where I took Chinese classes before I went.) I have a newfound respect for the hard work they have done to build such strong ties.

Dinner in China with former Pace students. 
At the conference, my talk was on innovation. I spoke about projects in the publishing industry, including grass-roots efforts, where employees at any level can test their idea and pitch it to management. I was surprised that I was asked how an employee would be reprimanded if they had an idea that failed. I explained the value of a learning organization, where failing fast (and small) is a good thing. I was happy to see that they were thinking about how this idea could be implemented in their environment, and I hope in the future that organizations encourage their employees to submit ideas.

Professor Sandler speaking at the Wuhan Conference.
While Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites are blocked in China, the country is very technologically advanced. Most people use a platform called WeChat, which is a combination of the functionality of many programs in the U.S. like texting, FaceTime/Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and many others. (WeChat was created by TenCent, a phone company.) Many restaurants have you order and pay through your phone with Alipay, which is from the e-commerce company Alibaba, which has 423 million annual active buyers and about 80 per cent market share of e-commerce in China. There are QR codes everywhere on posters, bus shelters, ads, and menus, and they are very useful in connecting quickly through WeChat and other systems. I made many new contacts and friends in China and hope to stay in touch through WeChat.

I also visited many bustling bookstores in China. It was incredible to see the multi-story homage to the books owned by Phoenix Publishing & Media Group. I also visited a few branches of the Librarie Avant-Garde, including the famous one in a former bomb shelter/parking garage that has a beatnik vibe; a rustic one in a lush park, where you could sink into a comfy chair and feel like you were in a log cabin surrounded by books; and one on the Purple Mountain that sold only poetry books with lots of little rooms to explore. I felt right at home!

It was a fascinating trip, and I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to go! It really opened my eyes to different perspectives and I learned a lot about international publishing, innovation, and myself.

 

Kathy Sandler Honored by National Graphic Arts Society in New York

Professor Kathy Sandler was honored by the National Graphic Arts Society, Gamma Epsilon Tau, which presented her with their prestigious Gold Key Award on May 28th in New York City.

Kathy SandlerAttending the event were many industry luminaries, including Bo Sacks, and Professor Sandler’s family – husband Nick, son Teddy, and daughter Mirabel, and her sister Julie. Professor Soares also attended the event.

Professor Sandler is an industry leader in publishing technology and has been recognized for her skill and vision throughout her career. She has worked in both magazines and books, spending 20 years at Hearst Magazines, then at Meredith Publications, where she was involved in developing digital editions for Parents and Fitness magazines.  She later moved to Scholastic, where she facilitated the launch Scholastic’s digitally curated library, Storia. Currently, she is the Senior Manager, Content Applications and Digital Workflow Development, at Penguin Random House.

Professor Sandler has been included in the list of the 40 most Influential People in Publishing by Folio Magazine. A past president of Women In Production, Sandler has  also served on the boards or committees of many industry organizations, including of the Association of Graphic Communications, the American Business Press Production/Manufacturing Technology Committee, the IDEAlliance PRISM and
DIM-2 Committees, and the Publishers Symposium.

For more information about  Gamma Epsilon Tau, click here.

By Professor Manuela Soares

Faculty in the Spotlight: October 2012

Faculty in the Spotlight: Kathy Sandler

Kathy Sandler is currently working in eBooks at Scholastic, where she helped launch Storia – a free teacher-recommended eReader for PC, iPad, and Android Tablet.  Before that, she consulted at Meredith, helping to launch Parents and Fitness Magazines to iPad and Android.  She was at Hearst Magazines in publishing technology for over 20 years.

 

Kathy teaches two online classes: PUB 621 E-Books: Technology, Workflow, and Business Model – a class she proposed and developed, as well as PUB 612 Information Systems Management in Publishing.  For our blog, she shares some pointers:

 

I wanted to share my top 3 tips to students for success in class and work:

1. Learn to Write. I am embarrassed to report that last year when I gave some tips to the students in my graduate-level e-books course, a student actually asked me “What’s a topic sentence?” Don’t let that happen to you! Make sure you understand how to write a persuasive essay or e-mail. Being able to organize your thoughts in writing will help you be effective in school, work, and life.

2. Learn to Speak.  Imagine you’re in the elevator with a venture capitalist and you have 30 seconds to pitch your entrepreneurial idea to get funding.  You better be able to think on your feet and articulate your vision clearly and succinctly.  You will often find the need to speak up in meetings and class, make presentations, and network with strangers.  What you won’t believe is how many people hate public speaking.  As a matter of fact, Jerry Seinfeld said “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”  If you can get up in front of a crowd, you’ll stand out in the crowd. It may take practice if you’re shy, but it’s worth it. You can take acting, comedy, or toastmasters classes, or just practice with your friends.

3. Try Everything. I was super lucky to get two part-time paid internships the summer going into my senior year in college. One of them was at a weekly magazine and I worked there part-time during my senior year and full-time when I graduated. After that I started working in book production. When I was looking for my next job, I really wanted to see what it was like to work in radio or broadcast media, but by that time I was a bit senior and I realized I’d have to start over as an assistant without experience in that area. I wished I had done more internships in college so I could have tried that out. My advice is to get as many internships you can in different areas to see what you like while you’re young. The more you know about what business you want to be in and what cultures you thrive in, the better. Bonus: You’ll pick up lots of skills and contacts along the way!

Feel free to follow Prof. Sandler on Twitter and read her Blog!