Jacob Dalborg: The Publishing Industry Needs More Specialists

In April 2015, Jacob Dalborg, CEO of Bonnier Books, held a remarkable speech at the Publishers‘ Forum in Berlin. What made his contribution so unique was that his talk had a strict focus on the necessity to industrialize processes, and that at the same time he managed to connect this to what he says is still the core of publishing: telling stories.

Bonnier Books is Bonnier AB’s group of publishing houses, internet book and e-commerce store and retailers. Regarding the implementation of modern and smart organizational structures, the group can be regarded as a first mover.

One of Dalborg’s central propositions is that the publishing industry needs more specialists for pricing, logistics, etc. Editors, who are currently involved in all stages of the value chain and act as generalists, should be allowed to focus on their core competences.

Dalborg reports some encouraging experiences in implementing these changes:

„We at Bonnier have made these changes in most of our publishing houses, but of course we have to do more. And the effect is clear. Initially it was met with some suspicion but [that] shortly changed into full support from the publishers and editors, who say now that they can concentrate on developing the stories and authorships and leave other parts of the value chain [to others].“

For a shortened, transcription-based version of the keynote, click here (PDF).

A video of the complete talk at the Publishers‘ Forum in Berlin is available here.

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