Sunday, February 21, 2021

Media Report (Vol 14, No 2): Pell Grants, Black Literature, Cancelling Shakespeare, American Dirt

Raising Pell: How Industry Support and Federal Grants Improve Prison Education (PND)

The Obama Administration recognized that a coordinated and organized approach from the Department of Education and Bureau of Prisons would improve prison education programs. In the years since, quality education programs – where they exist – remain concentrated and reach less than 10% of incarcerated individuals. Allowing Pell Grants to be used by this population is an important step; however, if educational programs are a hodge-podge of well-intentioned but uncoordinated initiatives, they will only ever be partially successful (if success means delivering an efficacious education program to all who seek it).

Black Kids and White dominated Literature: A Do It Yourself Model (The Conversation)

Although much of American children’s literature published near the turn of the last century – and even today – filters childhood through the eyes of white children, The Brownies’ Book gave African American children a platform to explore their lives, interests and aspirations. And it reinforced what 20th-century American literature scholar Katharine Capshaw has described as Du Bois’ “faith in the ability of young people to lead the race into the future.”

Most likely inspired by The Brownies’ Book, several Black weekly newspapers went on to create their own children’s sections. While the children’s publishing industry may have shut out Black voices and perspectives, the editors of these periodicals sought to fill the void by celebrating them, giving kids a platform to express themselves, connect with one another and indulge their curiosities.

Why are schools cancelling Shakespeare? (WAPO)

Why should students be forced to read Shakespeare, as some teachers on Twitter are wondering? Why, indeed? God forbid they should try to muddle through a sentence by Vladimir Nabokov, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy or, my high school favorite, William Faulkner. I loved Faulkner not because he was easy to read but because I had an unforgettable teacher whose passion shined light on the beauty and the sound and the fury of words.

Not that I’m a literary snob, mind you. I also read all of Harold Robbins’s trashy novels in junior high, much to the furrowed brow of my mother. One night, while I was reading “The Carpetbaggers” by flashlight under my covers, I overheard her say to my father: “Should we be letting her read those books?”

The Management Lessons in David Simon's Homicide (Strategy + Business)

What can we learn from this acute environment? For one, culture matters. The foundation of the work that gets done in the book is a powerful culture built on tradition and values, which the detectives transmit and reinforce in one another. It is a ferociously masculine culture, insular and to a great extent Catholic, expressed in gallows humor, and exalting duty and strength. Being a cop in Baltimore is so dangerous that a tradition has evolved for when someone returns to work after being shot in the line of duty: The officer gets to pick any assignment he’s qualified for.

As Simon demonstrates, this culture sustains the detectives in the face of nearly overwhelming challenges. But it can also be a problem. “Police-involved shootings” are investigated with an eye toward making potential problems go away. The culture also means that the advent of women as detectives is unwelcome to the men, even as they occasionally accept one.

The Implosion of America Dirt (NYMag).  It didn't stop it being one of the years biggest books,

On the publisher’s side, Miller and Don Weisberg, then the president of Macmillan, did most of the talking. The book’s editor, Amy Einhorn, was mostly silent. The executives expressed interest in the activists’ suggestions, but they also wanted to discuss the tone of the online discourse. Miller comes from a generation that prizes “civility,” one employee noted. “He could be accused of tone policing,” added another. Gurba, who had received a barrage of menacing emails since publishing her essay, was disturbed that Miller seemed to be “equating the criticism Jeanine was receiving with the death threats I was receiving,” she said. As Miller and Gurba began to argue over this, one Macmillan staff member blurted out that Cummins had never received any actual death threats. “Everybody just went dead silent,” Gurba recalled.

 Magazines are turning in to Books (CNN)

While many magazines have shrunk or folded in recent years, some publishers see opportunity in bookazines. They are less dependent on advertising — a once reliable source of revenue that continues to be eaten up by tech platforms like Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG). The issues are big, sometimes exceeding 100 pages, but publishers can fill pages with stories and photos from their archives, making them less costly to produce. And they can seize on current trends like keto diets or cultural moments such as the passing of beloved celebrities and other public figures.
"To me, [bookazines] represent a really nice pandemic treat," said Aileen Gallagher, associate professor of magazine, news and digital journalism at Syracuse University. "We're all still stuck in our houses and the only place we're really going is the grocery store. It's like, 'Oh, here's this thing that will entertain me for a little while that I will invest $10 in.'"

 Digital subscriptions for content businesses are growing across the board (TheNewStatesman)

In a survey conducted for the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2020, 64 per cent of readers in the UK cited “distinctive journalism” as their primary reason for subscribing to any publication, and 35 per cent of those readers said that they subscribe for particular writers they like. This agrees with what our readers tell us about why they subscribe: for Stephen Bush, Anoosh Chakelian, Jeremy Cliffe, Emily Tamkin, Sarah Manavis and Ailbhe Rea, among many others.   

Our investments in technology and data journalism are paying off, as is our expansion into international coverage, led by Jeremy Cliffe. Our coverage of the US election in particular was widely praised for its insight and accuracy.

 More from my Flipboard magazine

Friday, February 19, 2021

Report: Open Access Policy may be Unsustainable for Publishers

An eye-opening report by consulting firm FTI, forecasts a massive financial cost to UK university presses and journal publishers if proposed UK Research Institute (UKRI) guidelines on open access are fully implemented. The report also suggests that UK based research contributes more than 60% to the economy than it costs to produce and this impact would be under threat as publisher business model erode. The report estimates that in the period 2022 – 2027 the loss to UK based journal publishers would be £2.0B and that monograph publishing (already on a shoestring) would be unsustainable for many current publishers.

The UKRI policy has not been finalized but it broadly understood to follow the Plan S open access directives: UKRI funded articles should open access immediately on publication, with no an embargo, free to access and under a copyright license which maximizes access.  

UK research itself may be comprised as output would migrate to other markets and other countries where legacy business models would be sustainable, and while other countries and markets might also be on an open access trajectory, the fact the UK would move earlier and faster might perpetuate some of these older models. The report refers to this as a ‘first mover disadvantage’.

The report won’t speculate on what options may be considered by publishers when this UKRI policy is adopted; but, this policy may have devastating effects on publishers, particularly smaller, association or membership-based publishing in niche markets. It is also unclear how much researchers, academics and libraries may benefit since in the totality of academic research this policy might immediately impact only a small amount of published content. Libraries will still continue to license large fee-based content to support their constituencies. What the report points out is the potentially disproportionate negative impact on UK based publishers and that some would ‘go out of business’.

Read the full report here

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Reuters: Journalism, Media and Technology Predictions 2021

2021 will be a year of profound and rapid digital change following the shock delivered by COVID-19. Lockdowns and other restrictions have broken old habits and created new ones, but it is only this year that we’ll discover how fundamental those changes have been. While many of us crave a return to ‘normal’, the reality is likely to be different as we emerge warily into a world where the physical and virtual coexist in new ways. 
This will also be a year of economic reshaping, with publishers leaning into subscription and e-commerce – two future-facing business models that have been supercharged by the pandemic. While uncertainty has boosted audiences for journalism almost everywhere, those publishers that continue to depend on print revenues or digital advertising face a difficult year – with further consolidation, cost cutting, and closures.
For giant tech platforms, the pandemic has forced a rethink on where the limits of free speech should lie. With lives at stake, and under threat of regulation, expect a more interventionist approach on harmful and unreliable content and greater prominence for trusted news brands – along with greater financial support. By year end, journalism could be a bit more separated from the mass of information that is published on the internet
 

Raising Pell: How Industry Support and Federal Grants Improve Prison Education


Buried in last month’s stimulus bill is a provision reauthorizing the use of Pell education grants for incarcerated individuals. Federal Pell Grants were prohibited for use by prisons in the infamous Clinton- era crime bill. Since that time, there has been a long, inevitable decline in the availability and use of education programs in US prisons. While politicians of all stripes voice support for bail, sentencing and prison reform, it may be that reviving education policies and practices would benefit and improve the prospects of those incarcerated in US prisons the most. In a widely referenced report by the Rand Corporation, access to education and degree granting reduces recidivism by overwhelming rates. Not only that, providing education pathways to inmates improves the lives of others within the prison and family members outside the prison.

The Biden Administration has a unique opportunity to take meaningful action on education reform within prisons. Building on the significant work done by the Obama Administration, Biden’s Department of Education could position this issue as a true cross-party initiative.  And there are several areas on which they can focus.

An initiative to establish a uniform ‘school’ district across the Federal Bureau of Prisons was left stillborn in the last months of the Obama Administration and reinvigorating this initiative would enable access to standard content and tools, compatibility across the system, shared knowledge and learning. Publishers and content owners would be better positioned to offer complete programs to a much larger ‘market’ and thus would be more willing to produce specific products where required. The same could be true of technology providers, more inclined to provide equipment matching the specific requirements of the prison environment.

In turn, if content and solutions are even loosely standardized, then data collection becomes more meaningful and useful. While the Rand report has been influential, there is a dearth of comprehensive information about the access to, as well as the delivery and efficacy of, in-prison education programs. Collection of data across the prison system should be required so that continuous improvements can be made leading to improved results. The Department of Education should also fund broad-based (open access) research to encourage further advancements across the community.

As a publishing industry executive, I’d like to see more supportive initiatives from publishers and libraries. I believe all publishers are willing to provide both print and digital products to aid in advancing education options for incarcerated people. As a past board member, I would like to see the Association of American Publishers (AAP) take a leadership role in advancing the use of up-to-date materials in US prisons. AAP has ventured into public service advocacy in the past and supporting this initiative in the context of general prison reform could prove highly beneficial to all parties. Similarly, I’d like to see the American Library Association (ALA) step up their activities to foster broader access to research materials, professional development tools and advocacy which would further engage prison administrators, educators and incarcerated students. Given the direct relationship between improving the education qualifications of those prisoners and declining recidivism and better life choices, there would be few initiatives more powerful for their members to get behind.

Targeted data analysis can help identify incentives to modify behavior as well as reward good performers. Where education programs are available, many prisoners are self-motivated to take advantage of them, and incentive programs directed at prison administrators and policy makers could lead to greater availability of educational opportunities. Redirecting budget money, creating reward structures around specific outcomes, and other policy and procedural changes will create a better environment for the delivery of meaningful education programs in our prisons.

The Obama Administration recognized that a coordinated and organized approach from the Department of Education and Bureau of Prisons would improve prison education programs. In the years since, quality education programs – where they exist – remain concentrated and reach less than 10% of incarcerated individuals. Allowing Pell Grants to be used by this population is an important step; however, if educational programs are a hodge-podge of well-intentioned but uncoordinated initiatives, they will only ever be partially successful (if success means delivering an efficacious education program to all who seek it).

Obviously, reducing the number of those imprisoned is a primary goal of prison reform. But to those already in prison, let’s extend a duty of care to those who seek a better life through education. This is an opportunity ready for the taking and I hope the Biden Administration does so.

 

Michael Cairns served on the board of the Association of American Publishers and has served as President and CEO of several library services and education and information publishing companies. He is currently a consultant and board advisor to global publishing companies.

Monday, January 25, 2021

MediaWeek Report (Vol 14, No 1): Book Prices, JK Rowling, African Comics, Digital Textbooks.

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2021/01/14/new-platforms-are-bringing-african-comics-to-a-broader-audience

You might ask yourself: Why do books have prices printed on them? Marketplace

Why are books actually marked with a price on them? Music isn’t. Movies aren’t. Most retail items that I could think of that you would find at resellers aren’t in fact.

Textbooks in the digital age.  More on Cengage's digital textbook offering. (Boston Globe)

Textbook publishers had been trying to shift from paper to digital for years. Then along came the COVID-19 pandemic, giving many reluctant educators and students the nudge they needed to make the leap to online course materials. In Cengage’s case, digital sales now represent 68 percent of total revenue, up from 58 percent three years ago. About half of its sales are to college students, and digital represents 82 percent of the higher-ed revenue now for Cengage.
African comics and their growing market (The Economist)

Kugali is part of a small but vibrant industry. As in many areas of African popular culture, Nigerian brands are prominent; others include Comic Republic and Vortex Corp. But animators are thriving elsewhere, too. Afrocomix, an app for reading comics, was made by Leti Arts, a video-game developer based in Ghana and Kenya. In 2019 “Mama K’s Team 4”, written by Malenga Mulendema, a Zambian artist, and co-produced by a South African studio, became Netflix’s first African-made animated series. Etan Comics is the publisher of the first Ethiopian superhero comic books, “Jember” and “Hawi’’.

J.K. Rowling gets a profile in Vulture (NY Mag) and it isn't that flattering (Vulture)

One of the fans most devoted to Rowling’s exhaustive world building was a former Michigan school librarian named Steven Vander Ark. His website, The Harry Potter Lexicon, had won Rowling’s praise; it catalogued the minutiae of her books in such detail that she said she occasionally consulted it to fact-check her work as she wrote. In the months after the series concluded, Vander Ark contracted with a local publisher to turn his site into a print volume, and Rowling’s appreciation soured. Suing Vander Ark’s publishers for copyright infringement, she said, “I believe that this book constitutes the wholesale theft of 17 years of my hard work.”

Representing Vander Ark’s publisher, the executive director of Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project pointed out that publishing companion guides to existing works was a practice that had been accepted “for hundreds of years.” But Neil Blair, one of Rowling’s agents, said that people who wished to produce such companions typically approached Rowling’s representatives first. Before publishing anything, they would seek her approval and make changes where requested; they would, in other words, “fall in line.” The judge ruled in Rowling’s favor, awarding $6,750 in damages. Vander Ark had broken down in tears as he testified, but after the trial, he avowed that he would always be a Harry Potter fan.

Many publishing folk take exception to any potential ex-trump officials getting book deals (Guardian)

Put together by the author Barry Lyga, the letter, which is continuing to add names, has been signed by bestselling writers including Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere, Holly Black and Star Wars author Chuck Wendig. Titled “no book deals for traitors”, it opens by stating that the US “is where it is in part because publishing has chased the money and notoriety of some pretty sketchy people, and has granted those same people both the imprimatur of respectability and a lot of money through sweetheart book deals”.

More from my Flipboard magazine

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Class Action Suit: Amazon & Publishers Face Price Collusion

Attorney's Sperling & Slater acting on behalf of three eBook buying plaintiffs are suing Amazon and the "big 5" publishers (Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harpercollins) for eBook price collusion in the Southern District Court in Manhattan.  These plaintiffs are deemed representative of the following class:  

All persons who, on or after January 14, 2017, purchased in the United States one or more eBooks sold by the Big Five Publishers through any other retail e-commerce channel in the United States other than the Amazon.com platform.

The filing alleges that Amazon.com employs anticompetitive restraints to immunize its platform from the negative effects of the Big Five’s inflated eBook prices and that these 'inflated prices' are a result of the imposition by publishers of the agency pricing model.

There are several exhibits in this filing including the following:

As the following chart shows,15 the Big Five’s eBook prices decreased substantially from 2013-2014, as long as the consent decrees prevented the Big Five from interfering with retailer discounts, but they immediately increased their prices again in 2015 after renegotiating their agency agreements with Amazon and have continued to maintain supracompetitive prices


What the above chart seems to be suggesting is that eBook prices from the big five are now at a level comparable to the 2014-15 time period which is when they were lowest.

In their argument the attorneys focus on the use of 'most favored' pricing models which Amazon requires of its vendors. Basically no other vendor (including the publisher) can offer better prices to consumers. Due to this according to the suit, Amazon removes any opportunity for price competition and therefore perpetuates higher (anticompetitive) pricing of eBooks. As follows:

27. Amazon’s and the Big Five’s continued anticompetitive use of MFNs in the United States is astonishingly brazen, given the DOJ’s high-profile enforcement against Apple and the Big Five in 2012 and the EU’s own proceedings against the Big Five and Apple in 2011 and subsequently against Amazon in 2015 for its own use of anticompetitive MFNs in eBook sales. Despite multiple investigations and censure, Amazon and the Big Five have engaged and continue to engage in a conspiracy to fix the retail price of eBooks in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

28. Amazon’s agreement with its Co-conspirators is an unreasonable restraint of trade that prevents competitive pricing and causes Plaintiffs and other consumers to overpay when they purchase eBooks from the Big Five through an eBook retailer that competes with Amazon. That harm persists and will not abate unless Amazon and the Big Five are stopped; Plaintiffs seek a nation-wide injunction under the Clayton Act to enjoin Amazon and the Big Five from enforcing this price restraint.

29.Amazon’s conduct also violates Section 2. Amazon has obtained monopoly power in the U.S. retail trade eBook market, where it accounts for 90% of all eBook sales. Through its conspiracy with the Big Five Co-conspirators, Defendant Amazon has willfully acquired its monopoly power in the U.S. retail trade eBook through anticompetitive conduct, fixing the retail price of trade eBooks and causing supracompetitive prices for eBooks sold by or through Amazon’s eBook retailer rivals. Such conduct is an abuse of monopoly power in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.

In stating thie case, the attorneys believe that Amazon and its co-conspirators (Big 5 publishers) did not act unilaterally or independently, or in their own economic interests, when entering into these agreements, which substantially, unreasonably, and unduly restrain trade in the relevant market, and harmed Plaintiffs and the Class thereby.

They seek damages in the case due to the higher costs of eBooks purchased.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Connecticut AG Investigating Amazon & Publishers for Unfair Practices

 According to a news report in the WSJ, Amazon is under investigation to determine whether their dealings with certain publishers are anti-competitive.

From the article:

The investigation is examining whether Amazon engaged in anticompetitive behavior in the e-book business through its agreements with certain publishers, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement.

Connecticut asked Amazon to provide documents related to its dealings with five of the largest U.S. book publishers, according to a subpoena issued in 2019. The Tech Transparency Project, a nonprofit that investigates technology platforms, obtained the subpoena through an open records request and shared it with The Wall Street Journal.



Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Making 2020 Hindsight: Reflections, Recommendations and Running

For the first time in probably 40 years I did not have a seat on an airliner in 2020. Each year, I'd expect to travel to the UK at least once to see family and trips to Europe and other sundry trips in the US would round out my normal travel schedule. In December 2019, I had just returned from a trip to London not realizing it would be a long time before I was back, and I already had firm upcoming travel plans for Florida and Seoul. I've had years where I've overdone my travel, such as the three years I commuted to Oxford (which turned out to be a complete waste of time), but I realize now how much I miss air travel even if to places I have visited frequently. Of course, perspective is important: The planes and the places will be there in the coming months (and years) and it's a small consideration given the plight we are in due to COVID. The PND household's circumstances are hardly catastrophic and I am more than comfortable with the restrictions and it is stunning to me how many people believe they are above even simple sacrifices. Even the people making the rules!

As a by product of the above I took perhaps a quarter as many photos (400) in 2020 than in a normal year. Notably many fewer photos of New York (and none of London). I spend decent amount of time in arm chair travel looking at my past photo collections.

When gyms closed in March I was still of the mind that COVID wasn't a big deal and I was at the gym the day before they all closed. Within days, my attitude radically changed as the NY news reported on the body bags being carried out to mobile refrigerator trucks. So the gym was off limits which meant outside exercise was the only viable option and I upped my running game. I track my running activity and in a normal year I usually run between 1000 and 1100 miles. In the past 24 years of diligently tracking my running, I've run as much as 1,200 miles and as few as 500. 

In 2020 I ran 1,400 miles - which is a lot! My goal next year will be a little less but if I do it I will have run 25,000 miles in 25 years. But don't be intimidated because I get slower and slower as the years go by and each year more and more other runners pass me. Occasionally, I'll get a friendly wave from a cute girl who I know is thinking that "it's nice to see the old guys out here." Cold bothers me less than when I was younger but as you get older it is harder to deal with the heat. Bodies can't cool down as quickly as you get older. I am not entirely sure if I will ever go back to New York Sports Club.

As a consultant, working from home is often the norm but had it not been for COVID I would have been spending some time each week in a client office. I miss this more than I would have anticipated and the casual conversation, connections and serendipity that are always part of the work environment is very difficult to create in Zoom. I do think workers will continue to adapt and evolve to this new model but I don't see businesses continuing to be fully online once the restrictions are lifted. COVID will have a lasting influence on work conditions and experiences leading to more flexible arrangements and benefits for both employers and employees. I think it will be more incremental than revolutionary. Dry cleaners will struggle though.

Despite the lack of commuting, there wasn't a lot of extra free time. Placing a m/in/law in care and fixing up her house for rental in the middle of a pandemic didn't help. Mrs PND also spent a lot of time saving democracy with phone banking and writing postcards. I think it helped.

In most years I will read 20+ books a year and this year was similar; however, I read more non-fiction in 2020 than in other years. In December 2019, I was wandering around Politics and Prose and resolved myself to read more political history during 2020. I achieved this and read about Henry VIII, FDR, Grant, Carter, Churchill and others. I interspersed these books will my more normal roster of espionage and crime books. My five favorite books this year were:

About the first year of Churchill's prime ministership, the book interested me because it added in a lot personal history about the personalities and relationships of the people surrounding WSC at this time. I've read some of Martin Gilbert's biography of WSC but this book - by no means as detailed - filled in some gaps. I have many mixed feelings about Churchill and see the American infatuation with him as distinctly odd. Later in the year, I read FDR (below) and it was interesting to read about the same time period from FDR's perspective.
Alter's book is engaging and really well written. He clearly likes Carter but he is also critical about the President which leads to a balanced and interesting narative. My family came to the US in 1977 and we had watched news reports and election news during 1976 from an external perspective. Carter to me was the peanut farmer and little more. As the late seventies progressed my impressions of Carter as a failed leader were cemented and like many others I saw the comparison with Reagan a stark. As it turns out, Carter by many criteria, was one of our most effective Presidents with many initiatives which were either (or both) ahead of his time or long in impact. By chance, one of my last 2020 books was a fictionalized espionage story of the Shah's downfall which also played large in Alter's book.

I read a review of this book in The Economist and as a fan of Conrad, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Jasanoff places Conrad in context which adds scope and perspective to many of the titles he wrote.  Later in the year, I also read King Leopold's' Ghost about how the King of Belgium carved an empire out of central Africa. In the latter book, there are many references to Conrad and Heart of Darkness which aided my understanding of both stories.

This book is long and while comprehensive and well written I thought it was a light read. JE Smith is well known for this book and while I enjoyed it, I thought it was more an appetizer than a full blooded investigation of one of the most successful US presidents. As a side note, as outrage grew over trump's supreme court appointment and calls to pack the court accelerated, one of the more interesting sections of this book concerned FDR's court packing scheme and how it torpedoed his mandate. What a powerful personality. It was a tragedy how his doctors ignored is health issues. With better care he would have lived far longer.
The last in the Cromwell trilogy, I hope Mark Rylance comes back to film this book as well. I enjoyed this book but found it labored at times. Mantel is such a master of language that it is difficult to criticize but I thought the first two titles seemed to flow easier than this one. Perhaps it was because of the inevitable outcome. It is still a compelling story.
 



 

If interested, here are my books on Librarything.

The ability to binge video and tv shows has been one of civilization's greatest inventions. To be untethered to the network schedule and eliminate advertising in the process is real progress! Some highlights this year included:

Call My Agent - Based around on the offices of a french film star agenting business. (Netflix) 

Better Call Saul - Possibly the best written show on tv at the moment (AMC)


Marvelous Mrs Maisel - Housewife turned comedienne (Amazon)

Rake - Australia show which follows the antics of an unconventional attorney (Netflix)

The Queen's Gambit - About chess (Netflix)


After Life - From Ricky Gervais about a widower. (Netflix)


 

 

 

 

For more see my year end newsletter.

Looking forward to a better 2021.

*******
Michael Cairns is a publishing and media executive with over 25 years experience in business strategy, operations and technology implementation.  He has served on several boards and advisory groups including the Association of American Publishers, Book Industry Study Group and the International ISBN organization.   Additionally, he has public and private company board experience.   He can be reached at michael.cairns@infomediapartners.com



Monday, December 21, 2020

Martyn Daniels

Martyn Daniels passed away suddenly on Friday. He suffered a fatal heart attack and despite the efforts of emergency services he died at home.

I did not know Martyn well but he was a frequent commentator in the book community via his Brave New World blog. He reached out to me on several occasions with positive comments about this blog particularly on posts about digital media. This is something I always appreciated and enjoyed. Martyn preceded me by many years at Ingenta (Vista) and had a few thoughtful comments - mostly concerned with my mental health - when it was announced I was going to work for the company.

In 2010, I was invited to attend the Seoul Book fair and Martyn (and his partner Annie) were also part of the same group. The three of us spent a relaxing five days being escorted around Seoul bookstores, publishers and the conference itself, and we had many interesting and fun meals together with our hosts. 

Martyn had a great enthusiasm for publishing and opinions on many things. I didn't necessarily agree with him all the time but he was consistently supportive of my work here. And I appreciate and will miss that.

RIP.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Newsletter - Happy Holidays. It's The End of 2020!

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Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year

from
Information Media Partners


Many of us will be glad to see the back of 2020. And while politics, personal freedom, racial inequality and public health issues have dominated our thoughts this year, the events of the past twelve months have also highlighted some critical business issues which will continue to play out in 2021 and beyond. For example, how will work and office life realign as offices reopen? Will transformation forced on businesses due to COVID continue to accelerate as customer interactions migrate online? And will the economy recover rapidly next year or meander as the COVID migraine lingers?

At our firm we expect to continue to help clients address these strategic questions while also helping them to execute in more direct, tactical ways. During 2020, we counseled our clients to evaluate and experiment with new business models, make technology enhancements and improve employee relations, all of which will position these companies to emerge better prepared and stronger over the next few years.

At Information Media Partners we are always happy to take a call (908 938 4889) or email to discuss your particular challenge.

Check out the following business articles of interest:
Few people will miss BookExpo now that Reed Elsevier has closed the BookExpo and BookCon conferences. BookExpo has been on deaths door for 10 years.
A weekly magazine for media and publishing buffs
Apparently the one thing which unifies Goodreads users is that they all agree that the user experience sucks.
 
Consulting: Profiles of some of our consulting work
Publishing & Industry News Clips
Information Media Partners Consulting
Where we have been spending our consulting time recently...
  • We conducted a finance function re-engineering review and defined options for new software and process improvement
  • A prominent association publisher asked us to help redefine their fulfillment and distribution options
  • A large library association asked us to facilitate a series of meetings with a key retail partner
You can review more of our project citations by following this link

The coming year will be challenging and you may need help: Please get in touch to discuss a project and/or your long-term management needs.  (michael.cairns@infomediapartners.com)
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