Business Book Publishing

25 Jan 2005|Steve Diller

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier entry (I think), I’ve been writing a book on the design of meaningful experiences with Nathan Shedroff and Darrel Rhea. We’re at the point now where the book’s largely written, and we’re in discussions with a few select publishers.

One of them has noted that business book publishing is “in the toilet.” Apparently, the bursting of the bubble in 2001 burst much of the enthusiasm for innovative (or supposedly-innovative) ways of thinking about business practice. A “back to basics” movement, whose symptoms include such trivialities as having people wear ties again, supposedly rejects “newness” in general.

It may be that rejecting “newness” for the sake of newness was long overdue. But one can’t will away new, globalizing competitive pressures simply because 90% of the zany ideas of the ’90s didn’t produce results.

As in the post-bubble stock market, a flight to quality is in order, rather than an unquestioning recoiling from any publication focusing on business practice innovation. The question is, how to find the quality amid the existence of too many titles?

My own, completely unbiased recommendation: focus on the books that go beyond theory, and case studies, by rooting themselves in the reality of the customer. As Peter Drucker pointed out years ago, no one can predict the future, but since we’re working toward it, we must deeply understand the present. And in particular, the customer as he or she lives right now- how they experience, and what they want to experience in their lives.

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