A primary goal of the NYU Center for Publishing and Applied Liberal Arts is teaching our students to understand the globalization of publishing and the needs and challenges of colleagues around the world. So when Ahmed Al Ameri, CEO of the Sharjah Book Authority, first suggested to me in 2013 that we create a training program for publishers from the Arab world attending the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) of course I said yes. I was delighted to bring faculty members from our MS in Publishing program as well as special guest speakers to Sharjah to share the latest strategies and business practices behind growth and book sales in the U.S. [related]
A decade later, the number of publishers registering for the program has expanded to nearly 100. The classroom conversations have nurtured a shared sense of understanding and connectivity: publishing education opens minds and creates bonds across borders. This year, the SIBF-NYU program will take place on Saturday, October 28, and will be attended not only by publishers from the Arab world but from Africa as well.
Over the years, our topics have included defining and refining a winning social media strategy, building an international sales team and creating a compelling presence in the marketplace, and successfully buying and selling rights in a global forum like the SIBF. These conversations are led by thought leaders such as Dominique Raccah, President and CEO of Sourcebooks, who shared her path from starting a small business (in her apartment) to running one of the most successful book publishing businesses in the U.S. Attendees have also heard from Keith Riegert, Executive Vice President and Publisher of Ulysses Press; Bryan Christian, Senior Director of Marketing at Little, Brown and Company; Jennifer Brehl, Senior Vice President, Executive Editor and Director of Editorial Development for the William Morrow division of HarperCollins, and many other American publishing leaders, who have presented candid, interactive seminars. Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand shared with her Sharjah audience the role of the author in reaching and connecting with audiences through multiple channels.
In every session we put a priority on involving and engaging the audience, with interactive discussions, workshops, and small-group breakouts. It is wonderful to see publishers from all over the world chatting, strategizing, and sharing their expertise as they collaborate and tackle common challenges.
This year, we are excited to present two very different yet interconnected seminars:
The Power of Podcasts and Storytelling for Publishing Profit
This session will focus on the role of podcasts, audiobooks, and digital audio in adding a multimedia storytelling component to any publishing company, big or small, as well as how best to host and and monetize podcasts. This seminar will be taught by Brendan Francis Newnam, Vice President of Audiobooks at Pushkin Industries, a major American audio company co-founded by author Malcolm Gladwell and journalist Jacob Weisberg.
Data-Driven Success Strategies for Publishers
Taught by David Walters, who leads the team at Circana/Bookscan that delivers book industry data and insights to publishers, retailers, and content creators, this session will help demystify data. It will provide publishers with low-cost tools and sources of information to improve their understanding of the market, readers, and how to use data to drive sales.
Our longstanding relationship with SIBF was a major inspiration for the creation of a new executive education program that NYU SPS will run January 8-20, 2024 on campus at NYU. The NYU Advanced Publishing Institute (NYU API) is for mid- to senior-level book publishing executives eager to expand their skills and knowledge. With an international audience and a distinguished roster of speakers exploring salient topics on the minds of publishers today, NYU API will continue and expand our Sharjah tradition of sharing information and a passion for publishing with colleagues around the world.
Andrea Chambers is associate dean of the NYU SPS Center for Publishing and Applied Liberal Arts (PALA).