Publishers Weekly is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and an important factor in its longevity has been its ability to serve all aspects of the publishing community. That community has changed over the years and in many ways has broadened. One reason the publication was originally called The Publishers’ and Stationers’ Weekly Trade Circular was because it featured a listing of the books that publishers were preparing to release either on their own or through book dealers.

Publishers, if not stationers, remain key players in a publishing community that now also includes bricks-and-mortar bookstores (both independents and a few chains), online bookstores, distributors, authors, agents, libraries, book manufacturers, fair organizers, and digital vendors, not to mention international counterparts for whom the U.S. market is important. It is indeed a big tent. So how does a 150-year-old company fit in?

For one thing, we have evolved along with the industry. Once a print-only magazine, we now reach our community through e-newsletters, websites, webinars, podcasts, and events as well. Our editorial mission, however, remains the same: to provide to every sector of the industry the information it needs to succeed in an ever-changing business.

The basis of book publishing is, of course, the presentation of information that people want to read in a way they want to read it, a process that begins with authors but does not end there. Readers are the final judge. While some authors have done well self-publishing, most authors have found the most effective and lucrative way to get their stories and information into the world is to work with publishers. The publishing process is far from perfect, but it produces print books, e-books, audiobooks, journals, and information in other formats that inform, educate, and entertain.

The complex publishing ecosystem works best when all parties work together in recognition of shared goals and ideals. That was proven during the worst days of the pandemic, when different segments of the industry came together to overcome unique problems, thus allowing the industry to meet the extraordinary demand for books Americans wanted as they waited out Covid-19 indoors. The willingness of publishers and others to financially support independent booksellers during a difficult time showed how parts of the industry can help one another and in doing so make the entire publishing community a healthier place.

PW has long been an advocate for the protection of copyright and free speech, both crucial to publishing’s success. Copyright and free speech today are facing new challenges brought on in part by advances in technology. PW will cover the debates over both, giving all parties a chance to make their positions heard. But there are some lines to be drawn. The surge in book-banning efforts is alarming and should not be tolerated. So, too, are attempts to chip away copyright protections that endanger the well-being of both authors and publishers, and must be resisted. In neither case, however, should dissent be silenced.

PW has helped guide publishing and bookselling through many transitional periods. In my almost 30 years at the magazine alone, we have reported on the expansion of mall bookstores and the rise of superstores; the launch of Amazon and online retailing that drove nearly all those bookstore chains out of business; the challenges posed by the Great Recession; the explosion of e-books and other digital products that upended traditional business models; and the changes brought about by responses to actions that occurred during the pandemic. Many of those changes are still being played out, including the industry’s latest effort to truly diversify its ranks and by extension the kinds of books it produces.

This year looks to be another one filled with uncertainties, and anyone who dares offer predictions as to what will occur over the next five years is doing little more than guessing.

What is PW’s path forward in the years ahead? To be what it has always been for decades: fair, informative, responsible—and open to change.

Jim Milliot is editorial director of Publishers Weekly.