Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Brian O’Leary about The Opportunity in Abundance

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I talk to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations will help us better understand the outlines of what is happening in publishing, books and reading culture, and how we can ourselves both understand and influence the future of books and reading.

Brian O’Leary’s Magellan Media provides research, benchmarking and business planning services that help smaller and medium-sized publishers manage and grow their top- and bottom-line results.  Magazine, book and association publishers often engage Magellan to improve their content workflows across platforms and uses.

Brian frequently is called on to make industry presentations and he blogs regularly about critical matters in publishing (both for books and magazines).  I follow his work closely.  One of the pieces he published in October, 2011, called the Opportunity in Abundance, spurred me to talk to him once again for Publishing Talks.  Today we live in an age of content abundance.  Most publishers realize this as it affects them on a daily basis.

Brian has laid out an analysis of content abundance that I think will enable publishers to make sense of this new reality, and how to work successfully within it.  His understanding of digital content should help publishers create their own contextual framework for thinking about how to do business in a radically new environment. It’s a great piece to read (as are his related essays), and this interview should help amplify and explain further some of his ideas.   Of course, we did not always stick to the subject at hand, but were able to cover a wide range of related ideas that I hope will be interesting and useful to anyone interested in the current state of the publishing business.

Here is the specific link to his essay The Opportunity in Abundance.   Brian is a terrific writer – he’s always able to be clear, insightful and understandable.   I recommend reading through the archives at Magellan Media.  And I also interviewed him in 2009, when we talked about piracy, another issue he has written about with great incisiveness.