The Book Industry Study Group has long relied on volunteers to get its work done in creating a more informed and efficient book publishing industry. In addition to maintaining industry standards and best practices, BISG's different committees play the key role in getting the organization's work done on the different issues that affect all players in the supply chain. For the first time, all five BISG committees are chaired by women, and this week, PW, in cooperation with BISG, is shining a spotlight on these exceptional colleagues who volunteer their time and expertise to improve the way the industry produces, markets, and sells books.

Each day this week, beginning with Rebecca Burgoyne, PW will run a Q&A with the different chairs. The interviews have been conducted by industry consultant Julie Blattberg and edited by PW.

Burgoyne is executive director of operations for the United Methodist Publishing House, in which capacity she oversees production, supply chain, logistics, and intellectual property. She is chair of BISG's supply chain committee.

How did you get into the industry?

It’s genetic. My father, Tom Clarkson, has been in the book industry since the early 1970s. When I graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1987, he invited me to join his consulting firm, which had a good smattering of book companies in its customer base. I got hooked on systems, standards, and processes, and ended up taking a job with one of our clients, The United Methodist Publishing House.

What’s your committee working on now?

Our biggest project is supply chain mapping, which comprises a visual portrayal of the book industry supply chain. This tool brings us to a shared understanding of the supply chain, including the entities, activities, and information flows. It’s useful for everything from communication and training, to problem solving and standards development. The supply chain mapping project will have payoffs for years for come.

We’re also updating existing standards for carton and pallet marking, discussing the implications of piracy and counterfeiting, and working to understand the impact of printing changeable metadata, such as pricing directly onto book jackets.

What’s on the horizon in 2021 for your committee?

We took a first pass on the 2021 charter during our last meeting. We’ve tentatively laid plans to use the supply chain mapping tool to explore two areas: (1) the causes and effects of piracy on the U.S. market and (2) the applications of EDItX and XBITs. Additionally, we plan to adapt [the U.K.'s] BIC’s Industry Returns Initiative for the U.S market and to take on activities that strengthen engagement with book retailers and retail organizations.

Thinking about your work with BISG, what are you most proud of?

Bringing the supply chain map to see the light of day has been a real milestone, but the only part of this work I can legitimately lay claim to is continually putting this on the agenda, and continually putting the need for this map in front of the committee. The committee members have done an incredible job of stepping up and taking a blue-sky concept and turning it into something highly usable. We are well positioned now to take this to the next level and apply the mapping tool to some real-world problem-solving. I guess I’d say I’m most proud to work with a group of people who are authentically committed developing tools and solutions for the book industry supply chain.

Personally and/or professionally, what have you gotten out of volunteering with BISG?

Personally, it’s the connections—the friendships and the sort of genuine support that can only come from people who work in the same sector of an industry. When it comes to the minutiae of logistics or really geeking out over a solid standard, there’s just no match for those colleagues who are in the same boat.

Professionally, I can think of three benefits: connections, solutions, and service. Connections are vital to any productive professional. Whether it’s trendspotting or problem-solving, when I need a sounding board, my BISG connections are a phone call away.

Solutions are core to BISG—and the solutions come out when we gather in committee. You just can’t beat BISG committees for diverse ways of thinking and commitment to workable, mutual solutions. Finally, committee work provides an outlet for service, an opportunity to give back. This industry has given me employment and purpose, and so, giving back in service is the most rewarding aspect of volunteering with BISG.