Thursday, July 9, 2015

Book Industry's Power List

A bunch of magazines, newspapers, and websites will come out and declare a list of the most powerful, or successful, wealthiest, or brightest people.  You see them all the time.  Every industry has a power list.  Technology, entertainment, sports, and other fields showcase such lists.  Who really determines who should get on such a list is beyond anyone’s guess.  As to the methodology or fairness employed in compiling the list, there’s a bit of controversy and mystery in most cases.  I saw such a list the other day in PR Week, The Power 50, listing whom it thinks are the top flacks in Corporate America.  Not surprisingly, it named high-level executives at big brands, including people at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Apple, Ford, Comcast, IBM, Toyota, Hewlett-Packard, AirBNB, and PR firm heads such as Fleishman Hillard and Weber Shandwick, and communications directors for major politicians such as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.  After thumbing through this arbitrary list I thought that book publishing needs its “power list.”

I wish I knew who should be on this list -- and that America would be more aware of whom these people are.  I guess if we found the leading minds at certain companies we could come up with a list.  Let’s try these companies, in no particular order, and by no means comprehesnive:

Barnes & Noble
American Booksellers Association
American Library Association
National Book Awards
Pulitzer Prize for Literature
Publishers Weekly
Penguin Random House
Harper Collins
Macmillan Publishers
Wiley Books
Hachette Books
Independent Book Publishers Association
New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal
Nobel Poet Laureate
Audio Publishers Association
Huffington Post
London Book fair
Book Expo America
Library of Congress
US Copyright Office
Association of American Publishers
The Authors Guild
Writers Magazine
Poets/Writers, Inc.
National Writers Union
Book Hub
Book Baby
Author Solutions
Center for the Book
Harvard English Dept.
Yale Publishing Course
Princeton English Dept.

We would also have to add key literary agents, book editors, authors, book doctors, and those who turn books into movies.  The list can become quite big.  We’d also have to have websites like NetGalley, and Publishing Perspectives on such a list, as well as others.

In 2011, The Guardian, a UK newspaper released its list of the 100 most powerful people, and included JK Rowling, James Patterson, and the CEO of Oxford University Press.

Who should make the publishing power list?  Anyone who has a major role at an influential company, organization, or publication that impacts the book-publishing world. From publishing to bookselling, writers to readers, literary to protecting the First Amendment, and book reviewers to social media,  many could be on the list.

We should have such lists circulating and being debated.  We need to identify the people and the groups that play such an important role in what we read, how it’s created and disseminated, and in how books play a role in society.

Whom do you think should make the list?


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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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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