The Future Of Publishing Blog by Thad McIlroy

Links to Colleagues & Friends of Publishing

There are a huge number of websites out there that can benefit the student of the future of publishing. This listing is not intended as a comprehensive compendium of those sites: you’ll find many valuable publications, associations and websites linked throughout the blog entries and essays on

I’m part of a group of publishing consultants, Publishing Technology Partners, alongside Bill Kasdorf, Bill Rosenblatt, Bill Trippe, Steve Sieck, and Ken Brooks. You can find out more about them here. We’ve known each other and worked together for decades, so it was great to join together so that we can offer our services both individually and as part of a team.

Here are some friends, people who have helped me to learn how publishing works, and what it means.

Cliff Guren
Cliff has worked in digital publishing for decades, including at Apple and Microsoft. I’m lucky to be able to get into deep (and sometimes dark!) discussions with him on where publishing is headed. In May, 2021 he launched a newsletter offering Tools for a Productive Creative Life.

The Shatzkin Files
I’ve known Mike Shatzkin for a long time…he also has publishing in his blood, part of a well-known publishing family. Mike is one of the most respected analysts and commentators on where trade book publishing is headed, and won the 2019 BISG Lifetime Service Award.

Understanding Authors
I think that authors provide the early warning sign of changes in publishing. Two experts who illuminate the author’s perspective are Jane Friedman and Joanna Penn.

Renée Register
When it comes to understanding metadata, Renée Register is who I turn to. She worked for 10 years with Ingram Book Group and followed that up with 6 years at OCLC as Manager of Contract Cataloging Services. We’ve co-authored The Metadata Handbook.

Scripting News
As far as I’m concerned, writing and publishing blogs really started with Dave Winer at this site, and it’s still the place to go if you want to understand what a blog should be. Dave is incredibly smart, and connected to many of the most interesting and important technology developments in our industry.

Strategic News Service
Mark Anderson’s Strategic News Service should be world-famous. Instead it’s a relatively well-kept secret. Its subscribers are a who’s who of the high-tech and investment community, but his newsletter is not as often noted as it should be. Part of it may be the price: $595 is not inexpensive for an online newsletter. But start with the one-month trial – I suspect you’ll want to find a way to afford the full subscription after you have given it a try. No writer I know has the range of knowledge and depth of insight, and his very smart readers are frequent contributors, making the whole package a fine offering indeed.

The Association for Computing Machinery
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) sounds kind of dull, but is instead an incredibly robust organization with an interest in every aspect of where technology is taking us. The ACM digital library is an absolute treasure trove, and the weekly ACM TechNews has given me more leads to fascinating data and analysis than any other newsletter I read.

Brian Lawler
Brian is a long-time friend and colleague who understands print production processes as well as anyone in the business. His website offers lots of goodies and some excellent links.

The Gilbane Group
I formerly served part-time as a Senior Analyst with the Gilbane organization. Everyone in our industry should get to know the Gilbane Group. Founder Frank Gilbane has been working on publishing standards and technologies since SGML was contentious.


This project began some nine years ago when I was the Program Director for (the now defunct) Seybold Seminars. I thought that exploring the current state of publishing and its future was a worthwhile endeavor for the Seybold organization. I received tremendous support from Seybold’s then president, Gene Gable, and the vice president of content, Craig Cline (sadly now deceased). I also received support from many of the Seybold editors; I think in particular of George Alexander. Gene was able to find funding for the project, which allowed me to bring in outside researchers. John Sugnet supervised the design of the very effective slides for my initial presentation, made at Seybold San Francisco, 1999. (It went over like a lead balloon!)

The site itself would not exist without the enormous efforts of Elia Kanaki and Evan Thompson: they made it possible for me to clarify my muddled thinking on how to turn what was once to be a book into a living, breathing site: without their insight and hard work, you would find nothing here.

I am thoroughly indebted to each of them for their support, and dedicate this site to the entire team.