As I sit down to write this, my first blog as publisher of WMG Publishing, I can’t help but think of the parallels between this industry and the one I have spent most of the past decade in — the newspaper industry.
I can only hope they share different fates.
As a journalist, I’ve watched newspapers fail time and again to steer into the currents of change happening around them. Like a large, lumbering elephant, they plod along with the mantra of “this is how we do things,” even if all evidence is pointing to the opposite.
Take Craigslist, for example. Someone in the newspaper industry should have invented that, not an Internet entrepreneur. Classified listings were the breadwinner of newspaper revenue streams until Craig Newmark took them online. Why couldn’t newspaper publishers see this coming? They were so committed to the traditional path that they missed the fork in the road. Unfortunately for them, the road less traveled is also the road less profitable.
I see some of the same mistakes being made in traditional publishing as the market demand shifts toward electronic formats and print-on-demand publishing options. Publishers cry foul at the dilution of the market from self-published authors. Major change comes with growing pains, no doubt, but what about the benefits of a free-market society?
I bet horse traders felt the same way about Henry Ford and the invention of the automobile. But I’d still rather drive a car than ride a horse to work — especially in a climate where it rains upward of 70 inches a year.
Times change. Society evolves. We adapt or go extinct.
The book publishing industry is undergoing a metamorphosis, and there has never been a more exciting time to be part of this transformation. Our culture is shifting, and if we pay attention to what readers want, the opportunities for publishers and writers in this brave new world are endless.
Award-winning writer, editor and designer Allyson Longueira has joined WMG Publishing in its Oregon headquarters as the company’s new publisher.
She brings almost a decade of publishing experience to the position, including more than four years as editor-in-chief for a division of Country Media. During her tenure there, her projects won three general excellence awards. Longueira has also run an independent publishing company, BGH Publishing, for the past year.
Longueira earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Rutgers — The State University of New Jersey and her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri — Columbia.