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Publishers, this is the time to be brave

John Ingram on the importance of taking risks in our environment in transition.

One of the major themes at the recent TOC conference in New York was addressing — and overcoming — the fear of change many in the industry are experiencing in today’s volatile publishing environment. I had an opportunity to sit down with John Ingram, CEO and chairman of Ingram Content Group Inc., to talk about those fears from a publisher’s perspective and how he and his company are approaching the changing landscape. Ingram stressed the importance of being brave and being willing to take risks:

“I think it’s going to continue to be an environment in transition. I think it will continue to be about both physical and digital, and I think it really is going to require all of the participants. We talk about being brave, not stupid — it’s a time for people who are brave and willing to take some calculated risks. There’s no way around it; if you want to be a leader in this environment, you’ve got to make some calculated bets about the future. In my case, we’re doing it, and I feel very fortunate to have a good team that can help me to stay on the brave side and not fall over into stupid.” (At the 5:08 mark.)

Ingram also addressed ways his company is changing and innovating to meet the needs of its customers and how skillset requirements are changing along with the industry. You can view Ingram’s full interview in the following video:

All keynotes and video interviews from TOC NY 2013 can be found on the TOC 2013 YouTube playlist.

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Comments: 3

  1. As a former music retailer I’ve seen first hand the challenges of being in the physical and digital arena and what it can do to your business. Now, I’m transitioning into used books (and e-published titles) and see (challenges) that we’ve faced in the music biz occurring here. No surprise really, but I appreciate Mr. Ingram’s perspectives and congratulate him and his company on boldly venturing into the future.

  2. Be brave, creative and true. The market and history will decide who is stupid. It is the age of Hopeful Monsters (http://bit.ly/zzwpGg)!

  3. The rapid pace of physical to digital change in publishing has certainly brought about its fair share of opportunities as well. For example, as consumers are faced with reading in news ways there are more avenues for publishers to capture revenue from a single piece of content in various formats or bundles of formats. The company I founded (www.eyourbooks.com) is working on enabling publishers to sell companion eBooks — a concept that didn’t even exist 5 years ago.

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