Welcome to the golden age of PW.
Sheer hubris? We don't think so. After all, we can't help it if change is happening in our industry at such a frenzied rate that PW is more necessary now than ever.
From the relationship between authors and readers (follow me on Twitter) to distribution (self-publishing, print-on-demand), new formats (how about that $9.99 e-book?) to how consumers are hearing about (Facebook), exploring (Google, Scribd) and reading (Sony Reader, the iPhone) books, everything is in flux. And that's not even taking into account the big shifts in content itself (hello, urban fantasy!).
Yes, it's confusing and exciting, exhausting and exhilarating. I'll admit there are some days I put off opening PW Daily if only because I haven't finished processing the news from the day before.
Which brings me back to us. PW does a terrific job covering the news—and we do it the old-fashioned way, actually reporting as opposed to just spinning the stories already out there. But we owe our readers more.
We need essays from industry leaders that propose how things should change—if only to give us something to embrace or reject. We need features that provide solid analysis of the forces altering our landscape (like “Deal or No Deal,” our cover story this week). We need articles that speculate about what lies ahead, even if these visions—due to events or technologies we can't imagine today—unravel in six months. You shouldn't have to wait for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist among other sources to offer analysis of our industry. You should find this content in these pages, right now.
Nor should these features focus on one part of the industry. PW needs to be looking at the full arc, from authors to readers and all that lies between.
To develop our features, we've brought on a new editor, Andrew Albanese. Andrew was previously with our sister publication Library Journal and has the deep roots in publishing that make him perfect for the job. Go ahead, pitch him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But doing more of one thing doesn't mean we're doing less of anything else. Having developed library collections for years, I know the value of our category closeups—features that look ahead in specific genres or subjects. Like many of you, I've used these to make purchasing decisions and get a handle on what's changing in reader interests. These are getting their own shot of steroids, and we're building them out to include essays from authors (our “Why I Write” series; Debbie Macomber this week), more data about consumer behavior and, soon, information about readers as well.
That's only the half of it. Our wildly successful newsletters are getting a face-lift. We're using our Web site in completely new ways (check out our on-site BEA coverage this week at www.publishersweekly.com/BEA2009). And our author's profiles have returned to the magazine—what's more central to PW than these? Tell us.
Thanks for joining us on the ride. It should be fun.