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HarperCollins Editor On The Future Of Book Publishing

HarperCollins Editor On The Future Of Book Publishing
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What does the future hold for book publishing? The editor of a renowned publication house speaks.

Naresh Kumar
  • 19 may 2010

Business Insider published an interesting interview with HarperCollins Editor-at-Large, Debbie Stier, in which she talks about the future of books and how she helps authors connect with their audience online.

Stiers believes that books are here to stay and sees multiple formats for them.

“Books aren’t going away,” said Stier. “I read on a iPhone, I read on a Kindle, I have a Sony and I have books. And I recently have made a return to books. And I have decided there are different kinds of reading, and there’s certain kinds of reading that’s ephemeral. There’s always going to be a place for printed books”.

On helping literary authors connect with their audience online.

“I start with, ‘Who is the audience for this book,’ and then, ‘How am I going to reach that person'”. I have worked with many literary authors back in the day, five years ago, and seeing if you can get that author on NPR and maybe the New York Times Book Review. But now it also means teaching that author how to connect with their audience online. And a lot of the literary authors, it’s very hard for them to do. But I try and find that place. I always say, ‘If you had a magazine, what would your magazine be? Make that magazine on WordPress.’”

However, she does admit that the old system of publishing is a very slow process.

Let’s say you have something that’s timely like Sarah Palin. And you can push it to the front of the publishing house, and get that done. Now you’ve got the stores to deal with. They’ve booked up their shelf space, six or eight months in advance. So that’s a layer of complication that you have to get through“.

Stiers on what future holds for book publishing and whether new online platforms will make make literature better.

Publishing past is over. But publishing future is under construction. And it’s pretty clear that there will be a handful of experienced publishers who are experienced enough to lead and open enough to explore and invent. I do believe that the internet is the ultimate engine behind ‘the cream will rise,’ because, you know, we were talking about word of mouth before. If something’s not great, then it’s not gonna rise. The people will speak.

Business Insider: “HarperCollins’ Debbie Stier Breaks Down Publishing In 2010: ‘A Tale Of Two Cities'”

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