The Changing Market for Books in History

A recap of AHA 2015's Session 38, "Buying and Selling History: Some Perspectives on the Marketplace"

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  1. This session brought together editorial and marketing staff from university and trade publishers to discuss the changing market for nonfiction works of history. Speakers included:
  2. Diane Burrowes, HarperCollins Publishing
  3. Keith Goldsmith, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  4. Mary Beth Jarrad, New York University Press
  5. Michael Gentile, Random House
  6. Chair: Timothy Bent, Oxford University Press
  7. The session started off on a grim note, with Dianne Burrowes' handout of bestselling titles in history. Few of them would be recognized as such by most of the people in the room.
  8. This observation sparked much hand-wringing and discussion on Twitter throughout AHA. A representative sample:
  9. @_mcartwright offered a more substantive critique:
  10. For my own part, I wondered if we were worrying too much about the list itself.
  11. After that, Timothy Bent, from Oxford University Press, started us off by providing some context on the structural and cultural changes that have rocked publishing in the past ten years. Although these trends have most affected the trade world (in part because of a series of mergers and acquisitions that have resulted in industry consolidation), university presses are not immune. Everyone is thinking about marketing, publicity, and platform. What can you, as an author, do to support and promote your book?
  12. Bent also provided some helpful Publishing 101:
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