What Advice Would You Give to the Publishers of the Future?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Would you tell them to focus on fundamentals or forge a path of their own?

By Edward Nawotka

There are numerous publishing training programs that offer publishers insight into how to do their jobs better. Some, such as the Yale Publishing Course, are for mid-career professionals, others, such as those in Abu Dhabi, Denver, New York, or Calcutta (as noted in today’s feature story on India’s Seagull Books),  focus on producing the next generation of publishers. That said, the gap between mid-career and just-starting-out gets closer and closer each day as traditional publishing practices come under opposition from the forces of digitization and democratization. This begs the question: can you even truly “teach” the next generation of publishers how to behave when the rules themselves are re-written each day?

In light of that question, what advice would you give to the publishers of the future? Would you tell them to focus on fundamentals — finding great books and publishing the best you know how — or tell them to throw out the reference books of the past and forge your own brave path?

Me: I’d just say, publish the best books you can possibly find to the best of your ability. If the story is compelling — urgent enough — people won’t care how they read it, be it as a paper book, on a smartphone or printed in QR codes on solar panels…

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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.