Sara Nelson innovates digitally at Publishers Weekly

As Editor-in-Chief of Publishers Weekly, the venerable, 136-year-old international news magazine of the $23 billion book industry, Sara Nelson’s views on the state of the publishing industry are read around the world.

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As Editor-in-Chief of Publishers Weekly, the venerable, 136-year-old international news magazine of the $23 billion book industry, Sara Nelson’s views on the state of the publishing industry are read around the world, and Nelson doesn’t pull any punches. This month, alone, in her weekly “Foreword” to the magazine, she has called to task the New York Times Magazine for its published “manifesto” “Scan This Book”: “Times article disses a sacred symbol: ©” and has chided the National Education Association for its reading initiative, The Big Read: “But what about its cojones?”

 

I heard Nelson speak last week about “The Making of a Bestseller,” at a NYC preview of an auction of “19th & 20th Century Literature,” and met up with her to discuss the challenges of running a magazine about the book industry and Publishers Weekly’s Internet strategy.

 

Publishers Weekly reports that it:

is the leading publication serving all segments involved in the creation, production, marketing and sale of the written word in book, audio, video and electronic formats…reaches more than 27,000 paid subscribers in bookstores, libraries and publishing, as well as media and literary agents, and movie and studio executives---more than any other publication---delivering a total audience of nearly 100,000…Publishers Weekly influences all media dealing with the acquisition, sale, distribution and rights of intellectual and cultural properties

Publishers Weekly is a powerful influence in the influential book publishing industry and it aims to gather its diverse readership into an integrated Publishers Weekly community. Publishers Weekly achieves its goals by creating original content—Reviews, Bestseller Lists, Author Interviews...—and delivering that content in ways that are meaningful to its various constituencies.

Over 136 years after the publication of its first issue, Publishers Weekly, in print, is still a welcome, valuable arrival at the desks of thousands of industry leaders every week: publishing executives, librarians, retailers, distributors…The tangible, hard copy edition provides for easy reading and promotes information comparison and analysis, attributes desired by many readers of Publishers Weekly, according to Nelson.

Digital delivery of Publishers Weekly’s content satisfies the needs of the Web-centric and mobile segment of its readership base: publishersweekly.com and e-newletters PW Daily, PW Religion Bookline, Children’s Bookshelf and PW Comics Week.

Presently, Publishers Weekly publishes its content almost simultaneously in print and online. Except for the “Reviews” content, Publishers Weekly print content is available, free of charge, and free of registration, at publishersweekly.com. Nelson describes the “Reviews” section as being behind the pay wall, available only to paid subscribers to the print edition. New online content payment models are under evaluation, however, including “micro-payments” and “day passes.”

Publishers Weekly also seeks to build its community online through interactive features: Talk Back Tuesdays, PW Job Zone, Calendar of Industry Events, Industry Classifieds…Future plans include the development of targeted online community features by readership segment.

Publishers Weekly may be venerable, but with Sara Nelson at its helm, it is also very digitally aware.

What is the future of the book publishing industry? Join the conversation: “Talk Back” below to share your thoughts.

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