DIRECTOR’S DESK: Everything in Perspective

October 2005
by Jan Nathan, Executive Director, PMA

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As I write this October
column, Katrina has just devastated New Orleans, LA; Biloxi and Gulfport, MS;
and other areas in their vicinity. Like a million other people, I’ve sat glued
to my television not believing my eyes.

Earlier in the week, I had become
incensed by a column in PW
Daily that referred to a print-on-demand printer as a
self-publisher, and I had called some people at Publishers Weekly to voice my complaint
about this use of these terms. I wondered how a publication that is supposed to
be a voice of the book-publishing community could possibly equate a printer
with a self-publisher. If PW doesn’t know the difference, how will everyone else
realize that print-on-demand is a printing process?

To help the PW editors
understand the differences between publishing, self-publishing, and printing, I
even emailed a column that had appeared in PMA’s newsletter in January 2004
about the 10 steps that define being a publisher, and I suggested that they run
this in PW’s
Soapbox section to clarify some important points. However, I was informed that
people who read PW
would not be interested. I can only assume that this means that PW editors
don’t want publishers, authors, or would-be publishers to read their trade

Then Katrina hit, making everything
else seem so petty in comparison. I began working with Pat Sabiston, executive

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