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Business Week article on publishing

I've read the enclosed article from the latest issue of Business Week
today and thought that it would be of interest to you. Article is mostly
about Wharton School Publishing but also covers business publishing in
general. Key takeaway is that most publishers of business books are
cutting back on their management titles and focus on business narratives
instead. I recommend reading this article if you have a few minutes to

What do you think is the future of the business book publishing??



>From Ink to Implementation 

New press Wharton School Publishing's co-editors say they aim for sound
management titles that "you can do something with"

At a time when many large commercial publishers appear reluctant to take
on management books, one new outfit sees that very topic area as ripe for
expansion. The six-month-old Wharton School Publishing
http://www.whartonsp.com/ now has 16 titles, ranging from Score! A Better
Way to Do Business, Moving From Conflict to Collaboration by Thomas
Stallkamp, former DaimlerChrysler vice-chairman, to The Chinese Century:
The Rising Chinese Economy and Its Impact on the Global Economy, the
Balance of Power, and Your Job by Ohio State University business professor
Oded Shenkar. The imprint is a joint effort of Pearson PLC and the Wharton
School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Recently, BusinessWeek Associate Editor Hardy Green interviewed Wharton
School Publishing co-editors Jerry Wind and Tim Moore about their new
publishing endeavor. Following are edited excerpts:

Q: It seems that many trade publishers of business books have cut back on
their management titles. HarperBusiness, for example, seems much more
focused nowadays on business narratives. Why are you expanding in this

Wind: We perceived a need among senior executives in business and
government. In the age of the Internet, there's no single strong publisher
in the domain of thought leadership. We came up with the idea of a line of
books that would carry the Wharton seal of approval. Twenty-four of the
most senior faculty at Wharton constitute a review board that approves all
of our titles. Each of our books must meet each of three criteria: They
must be conceptually sound, empirically based, and implementable -- you
can do something with them.

Q: But is the market for management books shrinking? 

Moore: It's fair to say that there has been a decline in the number of
business books sold through retailers. And there are fewer corporate
management-training programs. But the commercial publishers who have left
this space are trying to hit home runs all the time. We understand that
this kind of publishing is singles, doubles, triples, and only the
occasional home run.

Also, we're aiming at a worldwide market. Our venture is an alliance of a
great business school and a commercial publishing company that has global
reach. We'll be selling our books in multiple languages and in all corners
of the world. We have partners in Brazil, China, Japan, and Korea that
will bring every one of our books to market.

Q: How is what you're doing different from the program at Harvard Business
School Press, which is the preeminent business school press? 

Wind: Harvard has an impressive list, but not all of its books meet our
three criteria. We would love to have some of its books, but others might
not be right for us.

Moore: We also have our own distribution through Pearson. Our competitors
sell their books through intermediaries. That means we control our own

[Editor's note: Distributor CDS handles Harvard Business School Press
titles in the U.S., and The McGraw-Hill Companies, -- which publishes
BusinessWeek -- does Harvard's international distribution. Harvard
publishes approximately 30 new hardcover books per year, along with about
20 other titles that are parts of ongoing series.]

Q: I believe you're emphasizing nonprint media as well, right? 

Wind: Yes, we're more focused on multiple media -- audiobooks,
e-documents, CD-ROMs, and videos. For instance, one book, University of
Michigan professor C.K. Prahalad's The Fortune at the Bottom of the
Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, also contains a CD with
video case studies.

Q: It seems worth stressing that not all of your authors teach at Wharton,

Moore: Not at all. We have a broad mix of authors, including business
professors, including some from Harvard; businesspeople like Jon Huntsman,
the founder of Huntsman Corp.; and some journalists.

Q: Any further thoughts? 

Wind: We don't shy away from competing with commercial publishers and
offering competitive advances. But we're looking to have an impact on the
quality of management. We're trying to focus on how people use the books,
not just on commercial success.