Is There a Digital Talent Emergency in Book Publishing?

In Discussion by Hannah Johnson

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By Hannah Johnson

In today’s feature story, we talk about tips to improve your online presence. The success of conferences like O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Expo prove that book publishing is not the only industry that needs to more digitally literate employees.

Shortly after the iPad was released, Lynne Seid of Heidrick & Struggles, a leadership advisory firm, said, “there is a digital talent emergency in publishing companies” because publishers urgently need to transform themselves into digitally driven technology and content companies. Seid went on to say that it isn’t enough for a company to hire a couple of people who know how to use social media. Real change, says Seid, comes from “truly transformational leaders.”

So what should a publisher do with that information? Is it an exercise in futility to send existing employees to conferences like the Web 2.0 Expo? Where are we supposed to find these “transformational leaders?” Book publishing has long operated with a business model that no longer works as well as it used to. Does that mean publishers need to look outside their own industry to innovate?

Tell us what you think. Or if you know of any publishing companies doing digitally innovative things, let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.