Making Information Pay

“Making Information Pay”: The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility in Publishing

For more than a decade, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has hosted an annual conference, “Making Information Pay”. The meeting addresses topics relevant to anyone doing business in book publishing. The last two years, the event was co-located with another program.

On May 26, “Making Information Pay” returns with a stand-alone program that makes “The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility in Publishing.” The event takes place in New York, with a scheduled program that begins at 9:30 and wraps at 3 p.m. For the first time, the program includes lunch.

Why CSR?

Why tackle corporate social responsibility as a topic? I think the answer begins with the significant changes taking place throughout the book industry’s value chain.

Digital formats have shifted both demand and pricing for published works, putting pressure on some traditional models. The larger story, though, is the way that digital technologies are changing how we think about roles in publishing.

Authors can now publish independently; distribution is not necessarily tied to companies that specialize in building relationships with retail stores. Platforms like Amazon and Facebook offer marketing opportunities that don’t require authors to work with established publishers.

These are just examples of how roles continue to evolve. After decades of relatively slow evolution, book publishing is shifting significantly in several directions at once. No one has a clear idea of what the landscape will look like when the digital revolution ends, if it ends at all.

Making Information Pay: Principles Matter

At times like these, principles matter. The themes presented at this year’s “Making Information Pay” bring us back to some of the enduring ideas within publishing:

  • The long-term benefits of meeting readers in real life
  • The potential benefits of cause marketing for publishers
  • The opportunities for publishers who pursue a “born-accessible” approach in creating and managing their content
  • The implications of recent research on privacy, security and surveillance for the book publishing industry
  • How a commitment to diversity can grow the publishing business (and what we can do about it)

BISG describes the meeting as “a day long event of practical sessions featuring data-heavy keynotes, case studies, and expert-led group discussions – all demonstrating why and how publishers and industry stakeholders who implement corporate social responsibility and cause marketing efforts can grow their businesses.”

Confirmed speakers include:

  • John Mutter, founder of the retailing blog ShelfAwareness
  • Ashley Gordon, founder of Mockingbird Publishing, which works with authors to bring their cause-oriented works to market in a way that benefits the cause, the author and the publisher
  • Tzviya Siegman, Digital Book Standards and Capabilities lead at John Wiley & Sons
  • Lee Rainie, Director of Internet, Science and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center
  • Calvin Reid (Publishers Weekly), Jason Low (Lee & Low) and Courtney Jones (Nielsen), all addressing how diversity is a positive investment for the publishing business.

Registration is open now, with early-bird pricing in effect through April 30. Take a look at the detailed agenda and consider attending – this is a program that challenges publishing to be the industry we claim it can be. And if you’re at a company that’s in a position to sponsor a session, contact BISG. You’ll help the organization continue to deliver the kind of programming the industry very much needs.

Disclosure: Since last summer, I have been a member of the board of directors of BISG. I know Ashley Gordon and Calvin Reid (in book publishing, it’s hard not to know Calvin). And, I write “Digital Perspectives“, a monthly column for Publishers Weekly.


About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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