A Report from BEA & Publishing University

September 1998
by Robert Goodman

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(Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from a post to the PMA Chat Group.)

I attended several sessions of Publishing University, but I took few notes. I wanted to focus on the larger perspective, so I pretty much sat and tried to absorb. I came away from Publishing University and BookExpo with several general thoughts, which I will share here. These are not new ideas, but it seems to me that Chicago emphasized their urgency. Publishing University and BookExpo were eye-openers more than anything else.

This business is changing, and changing very rapidly. I looked down to put my dominoes in line, and when I looked back up, the world was different. Future shock has become present shock. I often feel dizzy from the blur of the landscape. I need to stay young and flexible. When I started out, I expected to get “there” someday and let the momentum carry me on. Now I face the prospect that my momentum will carry me in the wrong direction unless I become much more conversant with the changes around me.

Publishing is a business. I have to treat it as one. Once upon a time, I might have been able to hang out a shingle and do my books as a labor of love. Books are still labors of love, but I need now, more than ever, to conduct my business professionally and formally. I have to plan further ahead, often three or more years in advance. I have to be able to talk about profit-and-loss statements, cashflow reports, and all those other documents that I always considered y…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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