By Natanya Housman and Hannah Bennett
In recent weeks, the Pace University Publishing Program has presented two lectures for the benefit of publishing students, faculty, and staff. The first, presented at the end of March, was the David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professor Lecture, featuring Michael Healy. The second, presented in April, was the Eliot DeYoung Schein Lecture, featuring Neil De Young. Both speakers drew on their multifaceted publishing backgrounds to extend their opinions on this time of dramatic change.
Michael Healy presently serves as the Executive Director of the Copyright Clearance Center. He assists in expanding market presence and refining business models to accommodate Backlist Rights. Formerly, Mr. Healy served as the Executive Director of the Book Rights Registry. For the last three years, Mr. Healy has been the David Pecker Distinguished Visiting Professor of Publishing.
Mr. Healy’s speech on March 29th, entitled Global, Mobile, and Personal: the Future of Publishing in Hazardous Times, was a broad discussion of the challenges and opportunities he sees in the future of the publishing industry. In his analysis of the industry, Mr. Healy posed a series of questions, each of which highlighted a specific challenge for publishing professionals. What is the future value of publishers? Does DRM help to reduce piracy? If consumers only care about content and not brands, where does that leave the publishing industry? These questions prompted audience members to evaluate their own potential roles in the industry, and the value publishers will have going forward. Despite this inherent uncertainty, Mr. Healy’s final position was that now is a great time to enter the industry, and especially to start one’s own company. He believes that the world has opened for new players, innovative and creative thinkers, and a new approach to publishing.
Neil De Young is the Director of Digital Media for Hachette Book Group, USA. His responsibilities at Hachette include digital business development and strategy, eBook development, and website product management. Mr. De Young reviews and assesses new business opportunities for Hachette, including contract negotiations and profit and loss assessment. Prior to his position at Hachette, Mr. De Young held various positions at Scholastic, Inc.
Mr. De Young’s speech on April 11, entitled Disintermediation in the Digital Age: What Publishers Will Need to Do to Stay Relevant, discussed the digital transformation of the industry. He did so through a series of parables. In one parable, recounting the tale of a complacent pheasant and an opportunistic fox, Mr. De Young stressed the dangers of a lack of competition. He later discussed the issue of competition in more detail when, speaking for himself and not Hachette, he answered an audience question regarding the agency model and the current litigation with the Department of Justice. The government’s lawsuit poses questions about how to maintain healthy competition in the emerging ebook market – questions that professionals, like Neil De Young, must answer. Other questions that must be answered are ebook pricing, DRM management, piracy, and disintermediation, which will require real innovation from Mr. De Young and his colleagues. Based on his informative and thoughtful lecture, Mr. De Young is certainly up for the challenge.
These lectures, held every year, are unique opportunities for students to gain firsthand insight from brilliant publishing professionals. They provide information that students cannot learn from the pages of a textbook. Both inspiring and thought-provoking, these lectures encourage students to think creatively about the future of publishing and their places within the industry.