I’ve written that publishing is the science and art of linking content to markets. Associations are particularly well-positioned to understand both their markets and the content that would most appeal to their audiences.
Associations are also under threat from increasingly aggressive and adept for-profit competitors. These B2B publishers can offer content and community for free or at a price that is often well blow the cost of traditional individual memberships.
Because they provide industries and professions with a respected intermediary role, associations often know and can gain access to potential authors willing to serve their particular field. Properly executed, this acquisitions role is one that associations can use to their advantage, even against apparently more nimble competitors.
Some newer technologies make book publishing far more accessible and less risky for associations. Delivering content without inventory (print-on-demand and e-book technologies are the key ingredients) lowers cash requirements and lets associations maintain annual publications without the attendant waste.
Effective book publishing strategies help associations surround their members with valued content. Offering that content in ways that keep it timely and cost-effective makes sense for associations. It’s hard to imagine an association that wouldn’t want to have a robust publishing strategy in place these days.