The English Department Advisory Board Visit in March provided students the opportunity to question Anthony Forbes Watson (Managing Director if Pan Macmillan) about the world of publishing. Here’s a summary of the key points he had to make.
Current state of publishing industry
- Publishing remains a vocational career in which strong communication skills are key (to the extent that AFW removed all the walls in the office 4 years ago)
- This is particularly true of general publishing, in which books are marketed on the basis that people will want to have them, as opposed to educational, technical and medical publishing, in which the books are marketed to people who have to have them
- Since 1995 (when fixed prices were removed from books), the rise of discount booksellers has made the market more competitive, less academic
- Since the digital revolution, social media has changed approaches to text and to communication; Macmillan sales represented by e-books has risen from 0-40% in only 4 years
- Data capture is becoming more important – at the moment, for instance, new mothers are a very influential market.