John Huenefeld: Helping Mid-sized Firms Prosper

July 2002
by Steve O'Keefe

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“Publishing is a passion, but it is also a business,” John Huenefeld told me the night before a session in his honor at the Publishers Association of the West Convention. I interviewed him in the lobby of the beautiful Snowbird Resort near Salt Lake City, Utah. It was the perfect environment for a conversation about books: fat leather chairs, incandescent light, and a chill in the air outside inviting people to curl up with a favorite book. How many of those books would not be here without John Huenefeld looking over some publisher’s shoulder, gently scolding with his easy laugh and infectious good cheer?

Once publishers survive the birth pains of building a catalog and arranging for a distribution channel–when they’re ready to grow up–that’s when they call John Huenefeld. “There are 2,950 mid-sized book publishers in the U.S. and Canada,” Huenefeld reported with characteristic precision. “That’s my market.” He has counseled nearly 400 of these firms, stressing that it’s necessary to make a profit if you hope to survive (Amazon.com not withstanding). And it’s clear from talking with him that the goal of many mid-sized publishers is not to make a profit but to generate enough cash flow to publish one more season.

 

Toward Better Bottom Lines

In the recently completed “Huenefeld Survey of Book Publishers” (conducted this year by the Publishers Associati…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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