There was a Job That Wasn’t There

March 5th, 2010

Courtesy of my sister Sue, who found it on Quillblog, Apple Canada has posted the position of “Manager, iBooks Asia Pacific & Canada .” The description:

This position is responsible for launching and growing the iBook business in Asia Pacific and Canada and building an extensive offering for customers. This will involve working with the iBooks and iTunes teams in Cupertino, Canada, Australia and other countries, and with content partners to secure content from U.S., international and local providers, and to market that content on the iBooks store and through other marketing programs.

The role includes: working with management, regionally and in Cupertino to determine strategies and priorities for iBooks in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries; identifying content providers to target, establish and develop relationships; working with legal and production teams to finalize relationships and secure content; and coordinate launches with partners, production, and marketing. This role will also be responsible for marketing the books offering on the iBooks store by coordinating with Apple’s production teams, the marketing team, and the production and marketing teams of partners. The iBooks Manager will be measured according to his/her ability to establish a strong content offering for the local market to attract new customers and generate sales.

The iBooks Manager will be the primary person responsible for building the book business in Asia Pacific and Canada and will be the primary account manager for regional content providers. This will be in collaboration with corporate and local team members responsible for books and iTunes worldwide, production, marketing, and product management for the iBooks Store.

This position will be based in Toronto or Sydney and will require travel in the region and to the U.S.

Relationship and account management abilities and strong interpersonal communication skills. Experience developing business and content strategies that focus on customers and the growth of the business. Strong understanding of Canadian, Australian and international publishing industries, markets, and trends. Excellent publishing industry and business contacts. Seasoned leadership skills with demonstrated ability to present plans and recommendations to senior management. Excellent project management and coordination skills. Skilled at developing and exercising cross-functional influence. Professional attention to detail. Highly motivated, mature team-player, driven self-starter and able to work in fast-paced environment.

Apple appears not yet to have noticed that publishing in different countries and regions is highly idiosyncratic. There couldn’t be more than a dozen people who could pretend to possess a “strong understanding of Canadian, Australian and international publishing industries, markets, and trends.” I’ve worked in book publishing in Canada AND the United States for three decades, and think I’ve got a good handle on the differences between the industries in those two countries. Although Canada and Australia share the misfortune of both being former colonies of England, the similarity ends there. And from what I know of the Asia-Pacific book publishing industries they could not be more different from the North American industries than night is from day (and isn’t Asia-Pacfic a region, i.e. in itself a group of countries each with significant differences in their respective book trades?).

As Quillblog points out, “Despite this posting, Apple has yet to confirm a timeline for the international rollout  of iBooks. iBooks is listed as a feature on the American site only.” I guess the timeline is decreasing.

The job description mentions that the “successful” applicant will have to work with Cupertino, but omits a key gating factor. If you apply, should you prepare to at some point be humiliated either by memo or in person by Steve Jobs?