The Profit of Publishing with Purpose

In Editorial & Opinion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka

When faced with the digital revolution in culture and society, “the publishing industry really didn’t handle it very well,” says Warren Parry, Managing Director for Global Change at Accenture Strategy, one of the world’s top consulting groups.

That’s surprising, says Parry, because, as outlined in his new book Big Change Best Path, published this week by Kogan Page, the organizations which manage change best are those that share a common purpose and have confidence in their mission. Publishers, if anyone, should have a sense of mission and purpose.

And, notes Parry, while vision, passion and drive are keys to successfully managing change, fear and frustration are some of the most damaging emotions for any organization.
“In the short term, a little fear creates a bump in performance, but it goes down dramatically from there, particularly in low-performing organizations,” says Parry, who based his book on 15 years of research, and data from surveys sampling more than 750,000 people from the business world.

Today, we no longer talk about “the end of the book business as we know it,” but some level of fear and frustration persists. We fear that readers are abandoning books in favor of other digital distractions and are frustrated that books aren’t as persuasive in shaping the cultural agenda that they once were. Looking at our bottom lines, be they up, flat or in decline, we fear that books are somehow under threat.

And this fear can’t be doing us any good.

Whether it’s to educate and edify, to explore or entertain, knowing why you publish and having a clear vision of your mission should be enough to keep you and your organization driving forward despite what appear at times to be indifferent odds.

If Parry’s assessment is correct, it might even help you turn a real profit: not the kind measured in emotional or social metrics, but a more tangible one — one you can measure in dollars, euros or yuan.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.