The Future Of Publishing Blog by Thad McIlroy

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April 28th, 2021

Publishing’s Problem is not a Tech Problem

Three different items “crossed my desk” this week that made me think more about the role of technology in the future of book publishing. They’re from different sources, but the messages converge. The first item was a March blog post by Benedict Evans. (His excellent free weekly newsletter is a ‘must-subscribe’; the paid version is…

January 5th, 2021

COVID-19 and Book Publishing: Impacts and Insights for 2021

When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, the press coverage was overwhelming. The trusted book publishing media, including Publishers Weekly, Publishing Perspectives, Publishers Lunch, The Bookseller in the U.K. and Quill & Quire in Canada, each did a fine job of monitoring developments within publishing and bookselling. Then, early in the pandemic, Amazon prioritized what it…

September 22nd, 2020

The Power of Penguin Random House

In last Sunday’s New York Times there’s a wide-ranging profile of Madeline McIntosh, chief executive at Penguin Random House, the largest trade publisher in the U.S. The article is by Alexandra Alter, who writes about publishing and the literary world for the Times. I was pleased when she asked me for a few observations on…

March 29th, 2020

Is Metadata Just a Game?

For my new column in Publishers Weekly I’ve tried to reimagine metadata as a game. Not quite a board game; maybe a parlor game. When it comes to book publishing, metadata is a game of chance. We don’t know which BISAC categories work best for any particular title, which keywords outperform, or how to write…

March 23rd, 2020

Free Ebooks: An Embarrassment of Riches

There’s a lot of coverage of the challenges facing book retail right now because of the coronavirus. The situation is shocking and sad. But it feels careless to forget that even if every bookstore in the world shut down for the next 12 months, people would still have over ten million different ebooks available for…