Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Brian O’Leary
In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I am talking to book industry professionals who have varying perspectives and thoughts about the future of publishing, books, and culture. This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.
Publishing has been a crucial part of human culture for as long as people have been writing and reading. How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds. Publishing Talks interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk about ideas and concerns in a public forum that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.
This series of talks will give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear about some of the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are currently being discussed by engaged individuals within the industry.
Brian O’Leary is a publishing industry consultant with broad and intelligent experience in books and magazines and who operates Magellan Media Partners. Brian is a thinker and researcher whose writing about publishing I have always found interesting and solidly grounded in data and its intelligent analysis and application. As he says, he tries to help publishers work faster, better and smarter. His (shortened) bio: In addition to his consulting assignments, O’Leary is the author of a research report on the impact of free content and digital piracy on paid book sales, as well as the editor and primary contributor for a study of the use of XML in book publishing. Both reports were published by O’Reilly Media in 2009. Brian was a senior executive at Hammond, and prior to that spent a dozen years working for Time, Inc. He earned an A.B. in chemistry from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
In this interview Brian and I talked in depth about his very interesting work in analyzing the impact of piracy on books sales, the lack of real data in the book business, and his compelling views about the future of publishing in a digital environment.