Regardless of changing business models, trading conditions or disruptive technologies, it’s still all about the book for the world’s largest publishing company — and for all publishers — according the Penguin Random House president and chief operating officer Madeline McIntosh.
“What makes us successful is whether or not we have the books that people want to read,” said McIntosh, speaking at the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) annual meeting in New York. “Consumers are moving around…but i have yet to see any evidence at all that what consumers are saying is that they want to move away fro the core experience of reading a book. They’re looking to us to provide them with immersive reading.”
McIntosh added later that that kind of book — long-form narrative fiction or nonfiction — makes up 70% of her company’s business.
Despite the proliferation of new media, demand for books has been resilient in the U.S. The book industry has stayed fairly static in size in the U.S. throughout the recent recession and the changes in how people consume content: about $27 billion in the U.S., according to BookStats, a joint production of BISG and the Association of American Publishers.
At the same time, book publishers have benefited from a lack of content piracy, which has plagued other industries, said McIntosh.
“We’ve been very lucky that we haven’t suffered the massive threat of piracy in the book business,” she said, comparing it with the motion picture and music industries.
McIntosh was recently named president and COO of Penguin Random House following the merger that brought Penguin and Random House together this past summer to form the world’s largest book publisher. Prior to the merger, McIntosh was COO of Random House.