June 21, 2004

News & Opinion: From the comments

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:25 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Evelyn asked Jack - "I don't think this is the first time that you or Todd have referenced the fact that the business book business is not as healthy as it could be. Not being in the industry could you enlighten me and share with readers what are the factors that make this so? I could make assumptions, but I'm not sure I'd be right."
Jack's response was - "As I have been doing this for twenty years I have seen this cycle hit, I think, three times before. In the early nineties, Reengineering changed the landscape and business books became something that many publishers wanted to publish. The Bull market in the late nineties brought out the last cycle.
Right now, some publishers have disappeared like Addison Wesley/Persues. They still exist as an imprint but they dont publish business books. One of the biggest blows was what Simon and Schuster did, making one of the best business book imprintThe Free Pressinto a general trade publisher, doing a few business books but also cook books and novels. That is the downside, the upside has been the creation of Portfolio Publishing. They are a big reason for our tremendous growth this year. Adrain Zackheim, ex of HarperBusinesspublisher of Good to Great, most of the Noel Tichy leadership books, has came out of the chute a couple of years ago running and continues to publish important books.
Because of the consolidation in the genre, often times I find good books from unusual publishers. Friday I finally cleaned off my desk and put a pile of galleys I really want to look at and of the eleven books that made the cut are two Harvard University Press books, two Portfolio titles, two Wiley books, an MIT book, Little BrownMalcolm Gladwells new one, a Berrett Koehler and a Crown Business and a Harvard Business School Press.
To close this rather long winded reply, I think the quality will still rise to the top but it will come from someplace unexpectedwhich my life interesting.