In his last annual letter to authors as Hachettte Book Group CEO, Michael Pietsch hit on a number of topics, including the publisher’s steps to improve its marketing efforts. To that end, Pietsch pointed to the launch of direct-to-consumer sales from the Hachette Book Group website.

“All our publishing divisions are working on how best to deploy this capability to drive preorders and sales and build a deeper connection with your readers,” Pietsch told authors. “This year we expanded our email lists, added followers to our content verticals, sharpened our advertising reach, and worked ever more closely with our retail partners.”

In another initiative designed to react to where books are sold today, Pietsch highlighted HBG’s You Are the Bookseller campaign, designed, he said, to emphasize the fact that “more than half" of HBG sales take place on digital retail platforms, "and that nearly all of the information about our books on those platforms is created by us." With "new tools to track how often customers look at a book page and then go on to purchase the book," Pietsch said the Hachette program will encourage HBG's publishing teams "to measure and adjust selling lines, title descriptions, images, and other elements of our book pages in order to drive more sales.”

Pietsch also wrote of his high hopes for continued growth of digital audiobook sales, driven by Spotify’s entrance into the market late this year.

Among some other internal programs, Pietsch wrote that HBG has increased its efforts to combat the surge in book bans, which include providing financial support to the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Kids Right to Read program, PEN’s Countering Book Bans project, and We Need Diverse Books’ Books Save Lives campaign. The company also continued its efforts to diversify its staff and to get books into the hands of BIPOC readers.

Pietsch closed the letter with a farewell, noting he is handing over the HBG CEO reins to Hachette UK CEO David Shelley under a reorganization announced last month. "I commend David to you wholeheartedly: he is a brilliant CEO, with a background as an editor and publisher, and has been partnering with HBG and our authors for many years," Pietsch wrote. "You’re in great hands."

Pietsch will serve as HBG chairman through 2024.