This paper explores the ways to equip students of publishing with the skills necessary to enter an industry facing unprecedented change. Digital strategies and business models are evolving rapidly within the book industry. Publishers need to recruit for the digital environment and can find it difficult to identify employees with the sort of skills they need. A short study was undertaken to explore the importance of teaching publishers in training about the skills required to design effective digital strategies in an environment that is always changing. Developing a simulation approach in this case allowed students to experience decision making, problem solving, and creative thinking, enabling them to be ready to adapt as the industry moves forward, and preparing them to be the publishers of the future.
As digital media lead to the blurring of edges beteen different creative forms, from books to film, games to visual archive, it is becoming more important to understand the way publishing fits within the wider creative industries. Organisations like the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) clearly position
publishing alongside other activities in their models for creative industries and as such it plays a key role in government agendas for developing creative economies.
This paper outlines the position of publishing in this wider context by exploring the characteristics of creative industries and showing how publishing fits such definitions. This includes analysis of themes of creativity and collaboration as well as industry structures and behaviours. The paper aims to show that although publishing can at times be regarded as a traditional, legacy-bound industry, the advent of participatory technologies that break down the old publishing value chains are leading to new ways of working. The challenges that digital developments bring face other creative industries similarly. By aligning with the wider experience of creative industries, publishing can seek to define itself in a broader context of digital convergence.
The paper is based mainly on thinking developed from a literature survey undertaken for a piece of primary research I shall be conducting. The paper introduces this proposed research, which will look at the way new collaborations are forming and how publishers are managing these creative partnerships. The research will examine how publishers facilitate collaborations, what they learn from other creative industries, and how this activity may be fundamentally changing the structure of the industry.
This paper is based on primary research conducted with 22 senior publishing industry managers in the UK as a preliminary survey for a PhD. It seeks to establish a base on which to develop further research around the changes taking place in the organizational and collaborative behaviour of an industry facing digital challenges. The survey asked the 22 managing directors and operations and digital directors how they view current conditions in the industry in light of digital change. It allows subjects to speak for themselves in order to learn (a) how far-reaching they feel change is, (b) where that change is having most effect in their day-to-day business, (c) whether they themselves are making organizational changes, and (d) how far collaboration forms part of this change. The collaboration aspect of the survey unpicks in more detail how far collaborations are (a) increasing in frequency, (b) are changing in vision (i.e. more exploratory or not), and (c) involve different organizational behaviour. The research reveals many areas of clear consensus around key issues of technical competence, new patterns in consumption, entrepreneurship, and silo structures. There is an understanding that the ability to respond quickly and to innovate continuously is essential. On collaborations, most people concurred that they were entering more partnerships than in the past and that these were often more experimental in approach and involved sharing risk; ultimately, this points to a clearer strategy emerging in companies to develop structures, skills, and techniques to facilitate new styles of collaboration, which in turn may lead to new ways of innovating in a flexible, failure-tolerant way.