There can be, if you start from scratch—or if you pare down existing models and create a lean machine. Louis Rosenfeld and John Oakes, two veterans of the new publishing universe, discuss the principles that drive their respective publishing houses, Rosenfeld Media and OR Books. Oakes labored in the barren fields of traditional publishing as editor and publisher for two decades. In developing OR Books’ publishing model together with a partner, he trimmed away the pointless, 20th century aspects of publishing. By contrast, Rosenfeld is a publishing outsider, best known as a user experience pioneer and co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (O’Reilly, 2006); accordingly, Rosenfeld Media’s business model has been created from scratch.
Insider and outsider, Oakes and Rosenfeld will compare and contrast their companies’ respective business models, exploring differences and similarities in their approaches to developing infrastructure, acquisitions, editorial processes, design and production, fulfillment, and promotion and marketing. They will discuss the rationale for their companies’ existence, and the challenges they face. Are they the Simon & Schusters of tomorrow?
Lou Rosenfeld is an independent information architecture consultant for Fortune 500 corporations and other large organizations, and founder and publisher of Rosenfeld Media, a publishing house focused on user experience books. He has been instrumental in helping establish the fields of information architecture and user experience, and in articulating the role and value of librarianship within those fields. Lou is co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (O’Reilly; 3rd edition 2006) and the forthcoming Search Analytics for your Site, co-founder of the Information Architecture Institute, and a former columnist for Internet World, CIO, and Web Review. He blogs regularly and tweets (@louisrosenfeld) even more so.
John Oakes is the co-founder of OR Books, an alternative publishing company that embraces e-books and other new technologies. Oakes started in publishing with Barney Rosset’s legendary Grove Press. In 1987 he co-founded Four Walls Eight Windows, which he first ran as co-publisher for seven years, and then directed for another ten years before selling it to the Avalon Publishing Group. Among the authors he has published are Louis Begley, Andrei Codrescu, Sue Coe, R. Crumb, Cory Doctorow, Andrea Dworkin, Abbie Hoffman, Ross King, Gordon Lish, Harvey Pekar, Rudy Rucker, John Waters and Edmund White. Oakes is a member of P.E.N. America’s board of trustees and is on the U.S. board of Alfanar, an Arab-run foundation promoting democratic values in the Mideast. He has written for the Review of Contemporary Fiction, the Associated Press, the International Herald Tribune, and most recently The Huffington Post.
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