Students Applaud Arthur A. Levine

 Students Applaud Arthur A. Levine’s lecture as the 2013 David Pecker Distinguished Visting Professor  

 

The thing I liked most about him, particularly in last night’s speech, was that he is very modest. You would never know that he has the job he does if you saw him walking down the street. Even if you do know who he is, he makes himself very personable and relatable while staying professional. I also liked how one of his pieces of advice was to have a life outside of publishing. I think it’s really important because while he stressed that it was important to stay driven, he also made it clear that his whole life wasn’t publishing.” –David Neth

 

 

Mr. Levine is amazing; he has stayed grounded throughout his whole career. My takeaway–and favorite thing about the lecture–was that he admits to his mistakes and finds time outside of the world of publishing to be a better person.  Arthur A. Levine inspires through his wit and wisdom, if only we could aspire to as much.” –Heather Allen

 

Natascha Morris took this Arthur Levine quote to heart: “Having second thoughts and feeling like you are struggling doesn’t mean you are not meant to be here.”

 

Mr. Levine is a living legend and shared a wealth of information with the audience that can’t be found online or taught in a classroom.  His personal, industry experiences were both honest and funny, and truly hit home for so many of us who are going to soon be stepping out into the workforce.” –Diana Cavallo   

 

I really appreciated his candidness about his ‘big mistakes’. It’s something to look back on as we go through our own careers; when we make mistakes- and we will- we can remind ourselves about the Arthur Levines who’ve been there and how far they’ve come.” –Tqwana Brown

 

 “For me, Mr. Levine’s lecture was a refreshing take on a dimension of publishing that we do not often think about.  The importance of instinct and networking are paramount to success in the industry.” – Miguel Cervantes

 

 “Recently, I have been applying for internships.  Mr. Levine’s lecture about “what should be aware of the preparation for the interviews” was very instructive.  Moreover, the two points he mentioned about “fighting for the right things, right person, right time” and “always keep learning” inspired me a lot.- Mengqi Li

 

Click here for a summary of Mr. Levine’s Fall 2012 David Pecker Lecture by student, Tqwana Brown!

Report from the Trenches: Publisher Jason Epstein

Jason Epstein has led one of the most creative careers in book publishing of the past half century. In 1952, while a young editor at Doubleday, he created Anchor Books, which launched the so-called ‘paperback revolution’ and established the trade paperback format. In the following decade he became cofounder of The New York Review of Books. In the 1980s he created the Library of America, the prestigious publisher of American classics, and The Reader’s Catalog, the precursor of online bookselling. For many years, Jason Epstein was editorial director of Random House. He was the first recipient of the National Book Award for Distinguished Service to American Letters and was given the Curtis ‘inventing new kinds of publishing and editing.’ He has edited many well-known novelists, including Norman Mailer, Vladimir Nabokov, E. L. Doctorow, Philip Roth, and Gore Vidal, as well as many important writers of nonfiction.

 

In the piece below, Tqwana Brown, a student in Prof. Soares’ Entrepeneurship Class this spring, blogs about the guest lecture that Mr. Epstein, who is also on the Advisory Board for the MS in Publishing program, gave last week.  

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With such a long and storied career in publishing, Jason Epstein has probably seen it all – or helped usher it in. So, what does the father of the Paperback Revolution think of massive changes taking place today in the industry? He calls in the “Post-Gutenberg Era”, helped along by the phenomenal success of Fifty Shades of Grey. While the books themselves may polarize readers, Mr. Epstein says they revolutionized publishing, in that E.L. James didn’t need a Big 6 publisher. Random House came along after she and her books were already established hits.

And while some conventions and mainstays of publishing may become extinct, books according to Mr. Epstein will always have an audience – even the ink and paper versions. Speaking to a class of would-be entrepreneurs, he presented a cautiously optimistic view of what’s to come in publishing.

What does he think of all the low-quality self-published stuff out there? “It’ll work itself out”, vanishing on its own, based on reader preferences.

The Amazon/DOJ agency vs. wholesale pricing model issues? That too will work itself out. He theorizes it as Amazon’s way of forcing traditional publishers into this new Era.

And what of editors, copyeditors, publicists, etc.? Those positions, he believes, will always be needed. Just in different capacities. More freelance opportunities, perhaps. Or ventures reaching out to these indie authors.  Agents too would change, becoming business managers and brand builders.

But, what does he see not surviving this digital revolution? Warehouses. With the infinite and malleable options offered by electronic space, physical warehouses – and large quantities of print books – can’t compete.

Territorial and translations rights also could no longer exist in their current states. This is something he suggests we, as newbies to publishing, should be looking into and developing. With the immediate and instant availability of digital material, Mr. Epstein sees a need for universal rights and simultaneous translations. Cooperation that he sees as a major difficulty in an industry that doesn’t want to, but has to change.

So, while some opportunities will go the way of Borders, Jason Epstein believes that there are so many still out there waiting for up and coming professionals to seize and capitalize on. After all, he didn’t invent paperbacks, just recognized a need for them and took advantage of the occasion at the right time.  And he hasn’t stopped, just find the nearest Espresso Book Machine.

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Tqwana Brown is in her second semester in the MS in Publishing program.   A former high school English teacher, Tqwana is shifting gears to the publishing career track.   She is interested in working on in the editorial side of book publishing or as a Literary Agent.