David “Skip” Prichard, President and CEO of Ingram Content Companies, discusses global distribution in the digital age, libraries, print on demand, the future of the printed book, discoverability, and changing company culture.
I’ve been a part of the library community for many many years and it is fascinating to see some of the changes that independent bookstores or chains are struggling with have been really led in some ways by libraries over the years: transition to digital resources, the way you purchase that material, even the physical community of a library has changed. You’ll find some leading university libraries with full store cafes. Long gone are the days when I went to school when you had to be very very quiet in the library. Now it’s very full of life, you almost don’t know that you’re in a library. So they’ve led in some ways on the physical side and on the digital side as well. They do want to be part of the discussion.
A day will come, I believe, that you’ll be reading your digital reader and you decide “I would rather have a printed copy” and you might hit a button on that digital reader, or your iPad, or your Kindle, or what have you, or your Nook, and you might get a physical copy the next day delivered to your home. People say “Well, digital is getting rid of print.” That’s not happening. Anybody who thinks that’s happening only needs to go back to the predictions of the Paperless Office. I think I have more paper in my office than ever before. Print is going to coexist with digital for a long time.
Culture, and changing our culture, has been a huge effort at Ingram from top to bottom. Both in terms of how we hire, the profile of the people we hire, the skills that we’re looking for, and the training, learning, and development that goes on to reequip our associates for the new world that’s to come. It’s really been changing, and not having multiple different cultures depending on what company you came in, but one single Ingram culture. Ingram has always had a reputation of integrity and of doing what it says it would do. We’ve always had a high execution focus and those things remain but the really innovative spirit and digital technology pieces that are being added today have really changed the culture of the associates who work at Ingram.
A joint production of Digital Book World and Astral Road Brand Media: http://www.astralroad.com/