Bookbuilders of Boston is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together people involved in book publishing and manufacturing throughout New England. Our blog describes industry events that we sponsor or attend.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

We're SO meta ...

The final fall workshop for Bookbuilders of Boston was on the topic of metadata, and we were lucky to welcome four respected professionals on our expert panel.

At right are Rich Kobel (Scope eKnowledge Center), David Rech (Scribe Inc.), Anna Pollock-Nelson (MIT Press), and Fran Toolan (Firebrand Technologies). Their panel discussion was recorded by David Stirling, and the recording is available here. Anna Pollock-Nelson begins the discussion and gives a nice introduction for those unfamiliar with the various functions of metadata in our industry.

Attendance at this educational session was the highest of all of this fall's offerings from Bookbuilders. (The picture at left was taken before the event started, and many others joined us at Pearson.)

The attendance came as somewhat of a surprise to me ... I learned the word "metadata" six years ago, and although it has been important in my day-to-day work since then, until now I haven't come across many Bookbuilders members with an interest in the topic. So ... good timing. Many attendees came from Houghton Mifflin-Harcourt in particular, and I'm glad we could support this learning need in their profession.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

You Can't Compete With the World Series ...

... but you can capture an outstanding program on the Common Core and publishing just before the Red Sox clinch game six at Fenway.

Turnout was small last night, but honestly, anyone who chickened out can be forgiven. President Obama was at Faneuil Hall, Drake was at the Boston Garden, and an audience of about fifteen at Pearson watched and listened to a fantastic panel discussion on the Common Core and its effect on publishing. And, oh yeah: 37,000 people watched the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals, with the first pitch thrown minutes after our panel ended. Drake got a poor review, but I think the rest of us did pretty well!

Our panelists and moderator are shown at left: Amy Pattee from Simmons College, Roger Sutton from Horn Book, Stephen Pekich from Victory Productions, and moderator Christopher Kenneally from Copyright Clearance Center. The evening's sponsor was Edwards Brothers Malloy.

There is no easy way to summarize a Common Core discussion, since there are so many facets to the topic. The biggest takeaway for me was that the Common Core aims to diminish the potential of "teaching to the test" by emphasizing skills such as critical thinking over memorization. As such, it will be challenging to assess results of the Common Core, and much is in flux.

A question on "Common Core Plus" from HMH.

For a more detailed observations, take a look at some of the live tweets from this event (thank you, Kate Elwell and others). Or, better yet, listen to the panel and Q&A on SoundCloud. David Stirling made these recordings and did a great job without ideal technology available. You will need to use earbuds and turn the sound up, but after my mumbly introduction you will be able to hear well. Please listen and send us your feedback.

SoundCloud Audio Links
Part 1: 40 minutes, panel
Part 2: 20 minutes, Q&A

Friendly panelists at the conclusion of our program.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Top-Quality Educational Offerings: All Free of Charge

I want to encourage members and nonmembers alike to attend our upcoming educational workshops--the topics are timely, and several of the speakers are NEW to Bookbuilders education.
July Casual Networking
On Boston Common.

Roger Sutton from Horn Book is new this coming Wednesday (October 30), speaking on the topic of Common Core. Whether you deal with the US Common Core on a daily basis or not, rest assured that it affects the work we do in Boston educational and children's trade publishing. In November, we welcome companies who help publishers manage their metadata, with Scope eKnowledge Center sending a speaker from New York. 

Venue for October casual networking:
Park in Harvard Square.

Again, whether you think this topic affects your career or not, it absolutely does. We have entered a new age in all sectors of book-buying--there are fewer bookstores in which to browse, and more format options, even for students buying required textbooks. The increased choice and unmediated access to books mean that publishers need to supply reliable, timely information on their complete title list. Without good data, the potential for lost sales is extremely high.

Winners Circle speakers From
Harvard University Press and Chelsea Green.

All of this is not to say that this season's first educational offering was lacking in any way: for the first time, we held a New England Book Show Winners Circle to showcase some winning covers and interiors. As a non-designer, this discussion is really necessary for me to understand trends, considerations, and processes in the variety of industry environments we have in Boston. I am grateful to the members and others who participated in this discussion for so freely sharing their thoughts.

Register now to attend upcoming educational sessions, and remember to bring a photo ID for the security desk at Pearson (501 Boylston Street, 6:00 pm start). On October 30, I recommend the commuter rail to avoid Fenway Park traffic. We WILL announce the score during the break on Wednesday, and we'll also forgive you for checking your phone!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Board Convenes for Fiscal Year 2014

The new slate of Bookbuilders of Boston board members and officers met at Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) on July 11, 2014. Here is our new roster:


Right Side (L-R): Bob Bethune,
Scott Meyers, James Taylor
Left Side (L-R): Tom Delano,
 John Rodzvilla, Chris Hartman.
Jamie Carter, CCC, President
Chris Hartman, Pearson Learning, First Vice President
Tom Delano, Vista Higher Learning, Second Vice President
Scott Payne, Edwards Bros. Malloy, Treasurer
Laura Wind, Bedford St. Martin's, Clerk

Board Members and Committees

Bob Bethune, Maple Press, Education
Michele Brennan, Bridgeport National Bindery, Membership
Tom Campbell, King Printing, Finance
Melissa Cerebi, VitalSource, Communications
Kate Elwell, MIT Press, Education
Scott Meyers, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), Finance
Abby Mumford, Harvard University Press, Communications
Josh Read, Pearson Education, Membership
John Rodzvilla, Emerson College, Education
Sean Stanford, Quad/Graphics, Membership
David Stirling, Heinemann, Communications
James Taylor, Williams Lea, Finance

We also have a new office manager as of August 1, 2014: Becky Specht. Details will follow.

On screen, participating by Skype, is Laura Wind.
In the plaid shirt is David Stirling.
Among the topics discussed were maintaining relevancy in a changing industry landscape, and serving a constituency beyond Boston city limits. If YOU have ideas that the board should discuss, please submit them here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The 56th Annual New England Book Show

Now that I think of it, I am a little stunned to be part of a 56-year tradition. This year's book show was held at Boston Symphony Hall, and it was as big an honor as any before for the winners.

This year's event also included the presentation of our "lifetime achievement" Dwiggins Award, as well as acknowledgment of scholarship recipients. Board member David Stirling of Heinemann took the outstanding pictures that are in this post. I will do my best to identify the subjects of each ... please do use the comments section to notify me of any errors. (It's not ink-on-paper, and I am happy to fix!)

Meredith White of the Dwiggins Award Committee introduces the Dwiggins winner in a speech with the traditional element of suspense.

Dwiggins winner Nancy Fenton delivers her acceptance speech.

Outgoing president Tom Plain of IBT/Hamilton introduces incoming president Jamie Carter from Copyright Clearance Center (that's me!)
In the purple tie is board member John Rodzvilla. I believe that he is flanked by two Emerson scholarship winners, with Iris Amelia Febres at right.
Northeastern scholarship winner Ingrid Villatta shows her work to Nancy Fenton.
Checking out the winners are two members of the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University design team (right).
Stephen Pekich of Victory Productions (and a Dwiggins alumnus) with Breaking the Spanish Barrier.
At left, text and cover designer Ellen Maxwell. The winning books are from Cheng & Tsui.
The two men on the left are board member Tom Campbell (King Printing) and president Tom Plain (IBT/Hamilton).
Very nice picture. I am sorry that I cannot read the name tags!
At left is Stephanie Rineman.
Board member Joanne Sweeney of Candlewick is in red on the right.
Board member Michele Brennan of Bridgeport National Bindery gets a pat on the back from board member Mike Mozina of Brill.
Incoming board officer Laura Wind (left) organized the book show with Michele Brennan (above). At right is Stephanie Grey, professor from Framingham State and art director for the 2011 catalog. 
Incoming officer Tom Delano (left) appears here with two colleagues from Vista Higher Learning.
A second winning title from Vista Higher Learning.
Pearson is the publisher of the second set of covers displayed on this board.
Glenn Castle of Cengage.
An award-winning title from David R. Godine.
Two 2013 Boston College scholarship recipients.
Incoming board member Bob Bethune (Maple Press) is on the right.
John Corkery and Mike Edson.

Compositor and cover designer Fritz Klaetke with an award-winning title from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
Scholarship winner Ingrid Villatta with her husband Jeff Holmes of Harvard University.
Former board member Lisa Diercks (Emerson) is at left with John Rodzvilla. On the right are Bob Kosturko and Gabi Anderson of Beacon Press.
Almost all of the design crew from the Art Institute, with George Restrepo (Rest Design) in black.
For a complete list of winners, visit the Bookbuilders website.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April Casual Networking Bowls Us Away

(Cut us some slack on the headline. It really was a great response from members and others at Sacco's Bowl Haven.)

I am a self-proclaimed non-bowler, and I still enjoyed this one. There was flatbread pizza, after all. And doesn't this look like fun?

I met colleagues from Jones & Bartlett, EBSCO, Pearson, Brill, Christian Science Press, Bedford St. Martin's, and Focus/Pullins. And, as I look at the happy faces in these pictures, I see how many people were there that I didn't have a chance to meet.
I am sure we'll repeat this venue, and next time I'll see about renting some bowling shoes. How can I fail with the mini bowling balls used for candlepin?

I have to say that I was a little worried about this one ... being in Somerville and all. Bookbuilders events held outside the city have been a little dicey. But this was a sellout.
It would be hard to find a better way to learn as much about Boston publishing--jobs, trends, projects, etc.--and enjoy great company at the same time. Thank you to everyone who contributes to this friendly professional community.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March Networking Hosted by Back Bay Social Club

Spring is coming (despite the weather in Massachusetts today!), and Bookbuilders welcomes everyone looking for a fresh start in building a professional network.

Our March Casual Networking Event, held at the Back Bay Social Club, included participants from VitalSource, Pearson Learning, Copyright Clearance Center, Symmetry, Brill, and Hamilton Printing. This time around, I learned a bit about some new types of electronic products being produced, as well as an emphasis on "content creation." We have a lot of educational publishing in Boston, and content creation often prevails over the traditional royalty author model. If I were starting new and in Boston, it's something I would explore.

Join us next month for bowling in Davis Square. Details are on the Bookbuilders website!

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Cambridge Venue for Bookbuilders Casual Networking

This past week's casual networking event was held at UpStairs on the Square in Cambridge.

We had a warm welcome and a good turnout. Excellent drink service. And what a cute logo!

There were about 25 people gathered, and -sniff- I think I was the oldest among them. For a fresh perspective, I'll quote from one of our new prospective members, who sent me this after the event:
I walked away from the event with a MUCH better sense of what the publishing world is looking for in terms of qualifications, skills, etc. and where I may fit in. I also picked up on some key terms and the language of the industry.
I made a couple of good contacts ... and look forward to connecting and continuing my exploration.
We also have an unrelated DEAL to share in this post. Last week I received an email advertisement of a course being held by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) in New York. The event caught my attention because of the title: Book Metadata & ONIX: Practical Guidance and Best Practice. Since working for a book wholesaler and attending subsquent conferences, I came to feel that the importance of metadata has been understated in the Boston publishing community. The topic may have a different impact on textbooks, which have their own means of discoverability, but on the whole, metadata is critical for sales.
I am pleased to say that BISG will extend its member discount to all Bookbuilders members for this course (members: $449; nonmembers: $799). Please request a coupon code from for this offer, and be sure to mention your membership in Bookbuilders of Boston. The original March 4 date is sold out, but there are still seats available for March 5. The course takes place at Random House in New York. Check it out--your career will thank you.

Monday, January 21, 2013

4th Annual Digital Book World in NYC

It is always useful to recap developments in the industry, especially when the landscape is changing as quickly as it has been over the past several years. Featured here are some of the topics and insights from this year's Digital Book World conference.
On the topic of ...

"Closing the New Book Discovery Gap": Angela Tribelli (HarperCollins Publishers) is second from left, and Matt Baldacci (St. Martin's Press) is second from right.
This continues to surface as the holy grail with bookstores on the decline and old-fashioned "hand-selling" nearly impossible. Notable observations:
  • Trends and publishing company leadership lean toward audience-specific marketing, enabled by social media. Audiences are more narrowly defined than they were in years past. 
  • There is a need for publishers to engage “authentically” in social media. (Angela Tribelli, Chief Marketing Officer, HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Matt Baldacci (Vice President and Associate Publisher, St. Martin’s Press): Publishing needs more influential reviewers. Reviews were not supported by advertising in the past.
“Recommendations from friends make the sale.” (Jim Hilt, Vice President, eBooks, Barnes & Noble) 
Based on Jim Hilt's comment, publishers aim to simulate the endorsement of a friend by appealing to consumers directly and through natural, informal channels. Continue reading now, or subscribe (top left) to receive this blog via email.