Looking for a way to bring its educational programming to more of its members, the Publishers Marketing Association has started Publishing University Online, a series of educational programs delivered via the Internet. A session on book contracts featuring lawyer and author Jonathan Kirsch kicked off the initiative September 20. More than 60 publishers tuned in to the live chat with Kirsch, moderated by PMA director Terry Nathan. From his law office in Los Angeles, via telephone and the Internet link, Kirsch walked and talked through his hour-long PowerPoint program on book contracts, while Nathan, using the same technology from his office near San Diego, fielded e-mail questions from publishers around the country.

Each month PMA plans to hold similar hour-long online sessions featuring experts in four tracks: marketing, legal, production and business organization. "Not everybody has the wherewithal or the time to take the three days to attend the Publishing University," said Frank Gromling, PMA board member and head of Oceanview Publishing. "We have 4,200-plus members." Typically about 600 publishers attend the University, which is held just prior to BookExpo. Now, for the cost of $49 for members, and $69 for nonmembers, publishers can participate in the live chat and e-mail questions to the featured expert.

The next live PMA online course will be on October 25 with marketing guru Brian Jud's "The Buck Starts Here," on marketing outside the bookstore trade. Gromling said he expects the online courses will occur live on the third Wednesday of each month.