Rana Di OrioAshley GordonMaking Information Pay” is an annual occasion for the Book Industry Study Group to explore the latest issues in publishing, and for attendees to learn how the latest technologies can drive success. For 2016, the program looked beyond “Making a Profit” to address the challenge of “Making a Difference.”

The publishing and book selling industry has a long history of commitment to promoting literacy through book donations. The recent rise of cause marketing, though, is turning the industry to expanding its do-gooder efforts in creative and often dramatic ways. In 2016, “making a difference” means tackling the things that don’t automatically come with dollar signs attached: community outreach, content accessibility, and diversity.

From authors embracing a charity – like Patrick Ness and his Twitter campaign to raise more than $1 million for Syrian refugees through Save the Children – to Chronicle Books’ #GiveBooks social media campaign with charity First Book, forward-thinking publishers and authors are recognizing the importance of cause marketing in establishing their identity with consumers.

At May’s BISG conference, Mockingbird Publishing founder Ashley Gordon moderated a panel exploring the commercial rewards of social enterprise; Rana Di Orio, the founder of Little Pickle Press, joined the discussion.

“As publishers and authors seek a more direct relationship with readers, cause marketing is a key component in raising awareness and goodwill,” Ashley Gordon says. “Publishers also must compete with other industries to attract and acquire new talent. Our embrace of cause marketing will be a factor in our success.”

Ashley Gordon founded Mockingbird Publishing in 2010 to create beautiful books with not-for-profit organizations to help them tell their compelling stories. She has worked with companies and organizations seeking to incorporate digital publishing and new content technologies into their offerings, with specializations in higher education, social enterprise, and start-ups. Current and former clients include the National Association of College Stores, SIPX, Ingram Content Group, and Flat World Knowledge.

Rana Di Orio is the founder of Little Pickle Press, an award-winning publisher of children’s media dedicated to helping parents and educators cultivate conscious, responsible little people by stimulating explorations of the meaningful topics of their generation through a variety of media, technologies, and techniques. Little Pickle Press is a Certified B Corporation; B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

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