On Thursday morning’s Book Industry Study Group panel, Sterling Publishing president Marcus Leaver left no doubt that he is breaking with the traditional ways of doing business. To start, Leaver said he is taking $1 million out of his trade show and conference budget, moving some of those funds to better promoted books on a title-by-title basis, mostly online. “The trade show is over,” Leaver declared. Saying he had an enjoyable but largely unproductive time at the London Book Fair, Leaver said he will not go to Frankfurt this year and will send a “scaled back” rights team.
Sterling has cut its list by 25% in 2009 to enable the publisher to devote more resources to each book, Leaver said, and the promotional dollars are moving more and more to online vehicles rather than print. Author tours are out in favor of virtual tours and webinars, with Leaver explaining that when Sterling does a webinar it sees a spike in sales. Print catalogues are also on the way out with the fall selling season the last time Sterling will use traditional catalogues before giving way to digital catalogues. He does favor holding one physical sales conference as a way to rally the troops, and has increased the travel budget for marketers and editors to get out of New York and meet with accounts.
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