Who Said Publishing Is Dead?

Otto Penzler has an amusing reflection in the New York Sun on last week’s Book Expo of America at the Javits Center. I was there, and sympathize with all his emotions. The sheer scale was astounding: a gazillion publishers, authors, agents, and most of all, books! Who said the publishing industry is dead?

Wandering around the convention center and chatting with people, I became aware of how much I’ve learned in just a few months. I am familiar with most imprints of most major publishers; I know how bestseller lists work, how Amazon processes orders, and how bookstores decide to stock books; I know how Barnes & Noble arranges books; I understand the author-agent-publisher relationship; I know a bunch of people in the book publicity world. And yet even with all this learning, I still feel like a newbie! The world of publishing is so vast and so complicated (and so messed up, in many ways).

All in all, though, it was pretty energizing to be in an environment with 30,000 people passionate about books and the business of delivering them to readers.

Here’s a photo of my co-author (on my new project) Tom Kuegler and our agent Lisa DiMona, and then a photo of Ron Hogan of Galleycat and me.

Dimonakuegler
Hogan

One Response to Who Said Publishing Is Dead?

  1. Eoin Purcell says:

    Ben,

    “And yet even with all this learning, I still feel like a newbie! The world of publishing is so vast and so complicated (and so messed up, in many ways).”

    Aint that the truth. If it is any consolation, having worked in the industry (admittedly in Europe where it’s a little different) for three years now, I still find myself marvelling at the complexity and kicking myself for learning what seems a very basic fact so late in the game.

    It strikes me though that the key ingredient for success in the industry (and having read your blog one of the reasons it appeals to you) is the passion and curiosity to keep on going, learning, and changing your mind when circumstances or knowledge change around you. If you can do that then Publishing will never be dead!

    Eoin

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