On Friday, September 27th a number of Pace University MS in Publishing students and professors were invited to attend the Annual Members Meeting of the Book Industry Study Group. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from Len Vlahos, the Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, and Angela Bole, the Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, who spoke about the strategic value of BISG within the global book marketplace. It was a very interesting session and we were all grateful to have the opportunity to attend and network with such a prestigious group of industry professionals.
For further coverage of and information about the program, see the following links from Shelf Awareness, Publishers Weekly, and The Shatzkin Files:
Published in Shelf Awareness
Published in Publishers Weekly
Published in The Shatzkin Files
Below, Heather Allen, a first semester student in the MS in Publishing program, shares some of the things she learned at the meeting.
Things I Learned from the BISG Annual Member Meeting:
According to their website, The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) “is a national, not-for-profit U.S. book trade association with the mission of creating a more informed, empowered and efficient book industry. [They are] committed to the development of effective industry-wide standards, best practices, research and events related to both physical and digital products that enhance relationships between all trading partners.”
Since this was my first time being exposed to this kind of atmosphere (The Annual Meeting of Industry Professionals, Yale Club, ballroom, catered coffee break and lunch, plus lot of great industry information), I learned quite a few things.
- Publishing is sexy
Who would have thought? By having a passion for publishing and an interest in making the publishing world go ‘round’ is what the members of BISG do day-in and day-out. They find statistics sexy because it reflects the hard work the BISG does. The committees within BISG include rights, publication, manufacturing & distribution, metadata, and the ISBN- 13 task force, which help decide standards and practices that have been set forth for the past 36 years.
2. Metadata is important
Luckily for me, I had the chance to sit at a table with a metadata expert from Bowker, a company that provides data to publishers/ retailers/ libraries to help them better reach the consumer. Metadata is the information customers haveabout each book: the title, the description, ISBN etc., which is put out by the publishers basically, metadata is information about information. How this relates to publishing is this: publishers need metadata to track the customer’s interests. By doing this publishers are also able to track book statistics and the health of the industry
3. Change is coming…
As the Starks of Winterfell would say… Essentially be prepared to go in directions you might not expect to go. In the panel discussion, the former chair of BISG Dominique Raccah stated that when she first took over the position six years ago, she did not expect the industry to end up where it did. From the topics covered, it seems that publishers should be prepared to expect a changes in the industry with regarding ebooks. Ken Michaels, COO and President of Hachette believes however, that we should not rely solely on technology as we move forward. During the panel discussion Maureen McMahon, President and Publisher of Kaplan Publishing also spoke about the skill sets she looks for when hiring new people – most importantly is the ability to learn and teach and being able to self-teach, to help combat and adapt to the expected/unexpected changes.