We talked to Ian Hallsworth, the Publisher for Bloomsbury Business, about the power of print, and why readers, authors and organisations still love print books. Ian has decades of publishing experience – working for Bloomsbury and a number of other publishers, including Kogan Page, Transax Financial Services and The Economist Intelligence Unit, and moving between the UK and Asia at various points in his career. Bloomsbury Business features titles such as Age of Discovery by Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna, Fully Connected by Julia Hobsbawm, The Compass and the Radar (by Paolo Gallo), and the best-selling The 100-Year Life (by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott).
In a digital age of devices and content, print book sales continue to grow. Why do you think that is?
Use of eBooks really took off and grew rapidly, and that growth is only now starting to plateau. Every Bloomsbury Business book is published in print and eBook format, because our readers want to be able to choose between the two. But having said that, we sell more print copies of business, management and thought leadership books than we do eBooks. And I think there are many reasons for that.
If we look at the idea of reader experience, print books are very user-friendly, sometimes more so than an eBook. They are always on and easily accessible. And importantly, print books have a physical and tangible presence. They literally stand out on people’s bookshelves, in their offices, on their tables, and in their hands. They are given as gifts; by people and by companies that want to share their insight, thought leadership positions or celebrate a major milestone such as an anniversary.
With so much digital overload, it can be a simple pleasure to browse or read a printed book. Print sales are definitely resurgent, with books increasingly featuring high production values in response to the sense of authority, prestige, quality and demonstrable value you get from the printed text when compared to a digital file.
You mention a number of different scenarios where print books stand out. What types of publishing does Bloomsbury Business focus on?
Bloomsbury Business is dedicated to publishing the very best high-quality business, management, leadership and professional development content that focuses on providing insight from global thought leaders, as well as practitioners with practical and actionable insight. We work with high calibre authors and partner with companies and corporate leaders to publish their views and insight, and to make sure that content reaches the broadest possible audience.
Tell us more about the work you do with companies, and why they are interested in publishing print books?
We work with a number of different types of companies to publish and sell books that are driven by their brand and thinking. Most recently we’re been very active in the professional services sector, working with firms like McKinsey, Roland Berger and EY. These are knowledge intensive organisations whose product is essentially their insight and ability to implement it on behalf of clients.