Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Publishing Needs A Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is dead but his spirit of invention and savvy marketing is not.  He was a true leader in technology during a golden era for an industry that has produced other icons – Bill Gates (Microsoft), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook).  Perhaps the true mark of a pioneer is made long after he’s gone, so time will tell if Jobs will be relevant in 2030.  But I’m jealous of all the attention going to the technology industry.  When is the book industry going to have a leader, a personality, a brain, a billionaire, a guy or gal who is quoted by the media the way the tech titans are or the Wall Street wizards, or the political pundits, or the entertainers are?

Over a million new books are published each year.  There are thousands of large, medium-size, and university presses.  There are thousands of literary agents, editors, publicists and publishing executives.  Isn’t there someone who can speak up and do so not just in an ego-serving way, but in a way that champions growth for the industry? Where is our Pope or Dalai Lama? Where is our Oscar-winning performer? Where is our lottery winner?

Is it because no one has anything to say in an industry that spends all day networking, schmoozing, negotiating and soliciting?  Is it because no one has the intellectual ability to cogently raise an issue and speak powerfully in an industry filled with advanced degrees and cutting-edge communication capabilities?

Perhaps someone will rise to the fore and lead the book industry because until this savior comes along, the book industry will suffer an identity crisis and let itself get defined by outsiders.  It’s not the time for the industry to be mute; it’s time for a wordsmith to flex his or her verbal muscle and grab the spotlight. 

Our industry depends on it.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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