My Publishing Outlook for 2010

I must forewarn you that I am an optimist at heart and always will be.  However, I am also a pragmatist and have learned that “facing reality” is one of the most important business philosophies if one is to succeed. That said, I believe 2010 is going to be a very good year for business books.

2009 was anything but. 

business-books1Many publishers were forced to scale back their programs, lay off scores of good editors, marketing people, and other professionals—all while combining and reorganizing various imprints. They did all of this against an ugly backdrop of an awful economy and a liquidity and housing crisis that sunk the Dow to multi-year lows in March of 2009. If you are wondering what the Dow has to do with business book publishing, the answer is “everything.” 

Sales of business books—all business books, not just investing and finance titles—are very much dependent upon a strong stock market. Now that the Dow is over 10,000 once again and consumer confidence is up for the second month in a row, sales of business books will likely improve in the first quarter of 2010. However, we are not out of the woods yet. We are still seeing publishers continuing to cut positions and reorganize publishing divisions. But I believe that we are in the seventh inning on that—much nearer to the end than the beginning. Those publishers that do not cut back so sharply will fare the best when things turn around. Some publishers are positioning themselves to come out on top by continuing to aggressively acquire new titles to be published in 2010 and 2011.  Of course, a great deal depends on the books and publishing programs of various houses. Unfortunately, several topics have already been over-published—think Bernie Madoff and the Liquidity crisis— and that trend will continue (publishers always follow trends and tend to saturate markets very quickly).

However, there are many great business editors out there who are acquiring and publishing original and compelling books. These innovators will be the ones most amply rewarded when the economy comes back. And the economy and the financial markets always come back…eventually. I happen to be one of those who believe that it will be sooner rather than later.


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