Simon & Schuster CEO Reidy on Taking Publishing Risks (Video)

As business cycles in the publishing industry accelerate and more new books are being brought to market faster, does that mean that publishers can’t afford to take risks anymore?

Are publishers less likely today to acquire a book on the intellectual history of California in the 1970s that will take three years to bring to market when they can instead publish a goblin-vampire-fairytale that they can sell as an e-book 12 weeks from now?

According to Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy, publishers aren’t engaging in risk-averse behavior when acquiring books.

“Publishing really is based on passion,” she said, talking to Digital Book World at Book Expo America in New York in early June.

Editors and publishers who feel passionate about projects, even if they may not seem to make financial immediately, are still taking risks, she said.

Because books are more difficult to market today than in the past, however, front-lists are getting shorter so publishers can better focus their marketing efforts.

“We do ask our publishers…to have a very clear idea of how they’re going to publish what they purchase,” she said.

See the rest of her interview here:

A joint production of Digital Book World and Astral Road Media: Founded by Rich Fahle, Astral Road Media is a full-service digital media agency, providing content strategy, design, video production, and other creative forms of social outreach for authors and content creators of all types.

Dice image via Shutterstock

One thought on “Simon & Schuster CEO Reidy on Taking Publishing Risks (Video)

  1. David Hudnut

    This is a great article and interview. Carolyn Reidy makes some great points in the video about the world of book publishing right now. As a self-published author, I interpret her comments through a slightly different lens than the people in big publishing, but her points are equally relevant. Nobody knows where the next big \thing\ in publishing will come from, but everyone is working hard to find it.

    As screenwriter William Goldman notoriously said \Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.\

    I think this is true of book publishing as well. Every single book published is a gamble. There is no guarantee that any given book will sell enough copies to earn back its marketing and publishing costs AND turn a profit.

    Does anyone remember David Hasselhoff’s 1994 Pay-Per-View debut that was supposed to bring his music to an American audience? Nope, because O.J. Simpson happened. I’m sure the people producing David Hasselhoff’s show that day had not worked the O.J. Simpson media frenzy into their marketing plan.

    Similarly, I imagine any large scale roll-out in book publishing must always be a high risk venture.

    Thanks for posting this video! 🙂



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