Do You Notice the Publisher
If your work is associated with publishing (book or magazine), then you are probably aware of who published a particular book. You join a small group of people who recall some of these details. It’s outside of the normal thoughts for a reader. I do not walk into my local bookstore and think, “I wonder what Doubleday has published lately. I’m going to look for their latest title.” Instead consumers buy books related to a particular author or a particular subject or a catchy book title.
I’ve been involved in publishing houses who spend hours in meetings talking about the distinctions of their particular imprints. Over the last few years, publishers have worked hard to distinguish one imprint from another—particularly in the larger publishing houses.
While I was at the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference, I heard Thomas Nelson had a company-wide meeting on Friday. A Publisher’s Weekly article showed one of the key contents of that meeting. Effective April 1, the ninth largest publisher in the United States will be dropping all of their 18 imprints—including the three which were recently acquired from Integrity Publishers. As the Lynn Garrett’s article said from CEO Mike Hyatt, “The old imprint model no longer serves us well. It’s an inside-out way of looking at the market, self-focused rather than customer-focused. The only ones who care about imprints are publishers, and they are expensive to maintain.”
If you scan through the history of Thomas Nelson, you will see some easily recognized names are going to disappear including: WestBow, J. Countryman, Tommy Nelson and others. As the PW article details, books will all bear the Nelson name. As I pointed out in an earlier entry about the writing life, this change will involve many books (3900 on their backlist and 500 new titles last year plus new ones entering the marketplace every day).
While some people may bemoan the loss of these distinguished imprints, from my view, it’s a healthy shift—and a wise one. It’s a way to refocus on the basics—such as publishing well-crafted material from great authors.