How Blockchain could Change Publishing | Part One

Q&A with Professor Sandberg, Part One

Wikimedia. (Image: Davidstankiewicz)

Kirsten Sandberg is an adjunct professor of academic publishing, a member of the M.S. in Publishing advisory board, a writer, an editor, and a publishing consultant. We spoke with her about her career, her current role as editor-in-chief of the Blockchain Research Institute, and what publishing students can do to prepare for the future.

 How did you get into publishing?

Through the side door of television. As a freshman in college, I got an internship as the computer graphics artist in the newsroom of an NBC affiliate. Freshmen didn’t usually get internships, but my think-outside-the-box speech team professors made the connection and encouraged me to go for it. It turned into my job for the next three years and paid for college. I designed news and weather graphics for the five, six, and ten o’clock newscasts. I also did an advertising and production internship there and had a chance to write and produce actual radio and television commercials. When I graduated, I pitched my advertising skills to a publisher that is now a part of Elsevier – and so I started in the advertising and promotions department as an ad copywriter. From there, I moved through sales, developmental editing, and marketing to acquisitions. It was all excellent training for what I do now – which is a little bit of everything, but mostly research, ghostwriting, and editing. And teaching at Pace, of course! Continue reading “How Blockchain could Change Publishing | Part One”

How Blockchain could Change Publishing | Part Two

Q&A with Professor Sandberg, Part Two

Wikimedia. (Image: Davidstankiewicz)

Kirsten Sandberg is an adjunct professor of academic publishing, a member of the M.S. in Publishing advisory board, a writer, an editor, and a publishing consultant. We spoke with her about her career, her current role as editor-in-chief of the Blockchain Research Institute, and what publishing students can do to prepare for the future. This is Part II of her interview. Miss Part I? No problem. You can find it here

 How will blockchain disrupt publishing?

 To imagine how blockchain could transform publishing, I think about the technology in three ways that are useful to me as a publisher. First, it is software that runs on a peer-to-peer network, just as Napster did, but instead of sharing free copies of digital files and violating copyright law, it enables users – let’s say authors and readers – to exchange money for specific rights (represented digitally) to those files or to any other thing of value (e.g., physical books) without going through a trusted third party like a William Morris Endeavor, a Copyright Clearing Center, or a Penguin Random House. Blockchain also requires users to avail themselves of asymmetric encryption techniques to keep these peer-to-peer transactions private and secure. Continue reading “How Blockchain could Change Publishing | Part Two”

Pace University’s MS in Publishing Program Hosts the China Publishing Group

In September, Pace University’s MS in Publishing program hosted a delegation from the Beijing-based China Publishing Group (中国出版集团公司). cpgFormed in 2002 when China joined the World Trade Organization, CPG now publishes more than 16,000 new titles annually, including ebooks and audiovisuals. It also delivers information services online and in print. According to Publishers Weekly, CPG reported revenues of US$1.4 billion, profits of US$138.5 million, and total assets of US$2.7 billion in 2015.

CPG is headed by Mr. Tan Yue (谭跃), a big advocate of managerial training and development as a source of innovation and competitive advantage. CPG conducts ongoing scientific research in publishing technology so that its printing and copying facilities remain state of the art for both print and electronic media.

This is Pace’s fourth executive program for CPG. Participating were Mr. Tan’s top managers from fourteen business units:

  • China National Publications Import & Export Corp. (CNPIEC), which oversees the import of foreign books, the licensing of Chinese-language translation rights to foreign titles, and the export of Chinese-language books and translation rights to China’s best titles
  • China Publishing & Media Holdings Corporation
  • China Publishing & Media Journal
  • China Translation Corporation
  • Commercial Press International, Ltd., established in 1897, the oldest publishing house in modern China
  • CPG Digital Media Co., Ltd. (including its audiobook division)
  • Encyclopedia of China Publishing House, Ltd., led by the head of the delegation, Mr. LIU Guohui (刘国辉)
  • Orient Publishing Center
  • People’s Literature Publishing House
  • Rong Bao Zhai Publishing House
  • SDX Joint Publishing Company, Ltd.
  • Sino-Culture Press
  • Xinhua United Distribution Group Corporation, which oversees the Xinhua Bookstore chain of over 200 stores
  • Zhonghua Book Company established in 1912

china publishing groupCo-directed by professors Xiaochuan Lian and Kirsten Sandberg, the three-week program focused on the future of publishing, particularly trends in digital strategy, content marketing, and operations; digital rights management, intellectual property law, smart contracts, and blockchain technology; and innovation through incubation, integration, partnership, and acquisition.

Bloomberg, RosettaBooks, and Simon & Schuster each hosted the delegation for tea, tour, and talk. Guest lecturers included publishing professionals at the top of their game (listed alphabetically):

cpg group awardsThe executives received their certificates of program completion from Sherman Raskin, professor and director of the publishing program, Dr. Nira Herrmann, dean of Dyson College, and Dr. Uday Sukhatme, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs for Pace University. Assisting throughout the program were graduate students Mr. Li Zhongke and Miss Wang Qingke, with support from their classmates Anna Bailey, Kevin Mercado, and Breana Swinehart.

Many thanks to all who participated!

Written by: Kirsten Sandbergsandberg

Find her full bio here!

Faculty in the Spotlight – April 2012

For the next two weeks, Professor Xiao Chuan Lian and Professor Kirsten Sandberg will be coordinating a comprehensive training session for 17 publishing executives from the China South Publishing & Media Group.

The China South Publishing & Media Group (, located in Hunan Province, China, is one of the major media conglomerates in China, with 20 companies under the umbrella. Its businesses include book, magazine, and newspaper publishing, distribution, printing, and online media.

According to Professor Sandberg, “The overarching theme of the two-week program is digital transformation, specifically the transformation of business models, value chains, publishing processes, and individual roles within the industry. We have asked our guest lecturers—several of them top executives of the digital publishing units of Dow Jones, Wiley, McGraw-Hill, and Elsevier—to explain how their organizations changed to leverage digital technology and how they developed and are using new digital capabilities in all areas of the business. We will compare and contrast organizational structures and publishing strategies across the industry, and we expect to use case studies as a means of generating a meaningful dialogue between East and West publishing executives.”

It will be an interesting and thought-provoking two weeks!


The guests in the group and the organizations they come from are as follows:

From Hunan People’s Publishing House: Mo Yan, Editorial Director; Li Shengxiao, Deputy General Manager; Li Xiongwei, Deputy General Manager

From Hunan Literature & Art Publishing House: Chen Xinwen, Deputy General Manager; Gong Xianghai, Deputy General Manager

From Yuelu Publishing House: Yi Yanzhe, General Manager; Zeng Deming, Deputy General Manager

From Hunan Science and Technology Publishing House: Xu Wei, Deputy General Manager

From Hunan Juvenile & Children’s Publishing House: Li Fang, Editor-in-Chief of HUAHUO Magazine; Wu Shuangying, Editorial Director

From Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House: Huang Xiao, Deputy General Manager

From Hunan Electronic and Audio-Visual Publishing House: Yang Lin, General Manager

From China South Publishing & Media Group Headquarters: She Lu, Vice Director of Industrial Operation Centre; Liu Yiming, Executive Director of New Media Department; He Zhengju, Vice Director of New Media Department; Hu Changhua, Executive Director of New Media Department; Cui Can, Executive Director of Publishing Department


Xiao Chuan Lian is currently serving as Senior Staff Associate and an adjunct lecturer in the M.S. in Publishing Program at Pace University. Prof. Lian holds an MBA in International Business and an MS in Publishing from Pace University, and also received a Paralegal Certificate from New York University and a BA in Library Science from Wuhan University, China. He also attended the Denver Publishing Institute.  Before working and teaching at Pace University, Prof. Lian worked as the Copyright & Permission Administrator at Springer Science + Business Media. Currently, Prof. Lian is teaching two courses in the publishing program: PUB 628: Marketing Principles and Practices in Publishing, and PUB 622G: Seminar in Books and Magazines: Digital Issues in Publishing. His research interests include digital publishing, marketing, STM publishing, copyright, and the history of publishing.  Last year, Professor Lian visited Hunan Province and presented a talk on “Digital Publishing Today.”  Prof. Lian was a founding member and a professor in the Publishing Science Department, School of Information Management at Wuhan University, China.

Kirsten Sandberg specializes in emerging market publishing and organizational knowledge management and publication. She is currently senior consultant at China Europe International Business School Publishing Group based in Shanghai. A former executive editor at Harvard Business School Publishing Corp, she helped to open HBSP’s India office. Relevant to the Hunan program, she published two of the most influential books in the digital transformation of content-rich industries, both international bestsellers. The first, Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (1998), by Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian (now chief economist of Google), is considered the playbook of digital publishing strategy; and the second, Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance (1998), by Larry Downes and Chunka, was the first trade business book available in its entirety for free online, simultaneously with the hardcover edition. The Wall Street Journal selected it as one of the five best books ever on the Internet.

Kirsten D. Sandberg


Professor Sandberg is a writer, editor, and consultant who works with executives and advisory boards to shape their publishing strategies in corporate, non-profit, and emerging market settings. She is currently serving as editor-in-chief of the Blockchain Research Institute and is studying how distributed ledger technology and smart contracts could transform publishing. She has extensive experience in negotiating publishing agreements and turning knowledge and expertise into branded content for a globally diverse audience.

Professor Sandberg teaches PUB 618, “The Legal Aspects of Publishing,” and PUB 632, “Academic Publishing,” both from a publishing innovator’s perspective. She serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Business Models. With Professor Lian, she periodically co-directs professional development programs for Chinese publishing executives.

For over a decade, she served as executive editor at Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, where she contributed to the opening of HBSP Corp Ltd in Mumbai/New Delhi. Professor Sandberg also wrote over a dozen articles for various HBS periodicals. Prior to Harvard, Professor Sandberg spent eight years at HarperCollins, first in the college division as a development editor and a marketing R&D manager and then in HarperBusiness as an acquisitions editor.

She started her media career as a computer graphics designer in the newsroom of WEEK-TV, an NBC affiliate at the time. Professor Sandberg holds a B.A. in English and TV/Radio Production from Bradley University and started an M.A. in English at Marquette University. She is a Chicago Cubs fan by birth and a Yankees fan by naturalization.

The M.S. in Publishing Blog featured Professor Sandberg’s work in “How Blockchain Could Change Publishing” in February 2018 and in “Beijing Meets Big Data” in July 2018. She was also featured in the “Faculty in the Spotlight” series in April 2012.