BISG Faces Uncertain Future

Andrew Albanese“The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.” That acute observation from author William Gibson, the cyberpunk pioneer, captures the predicament of our age, when new technologies overlap with the many that are already established. The lucky early adopters get to live in the future, while the rest of us play in the past.

Over the past decade, as publishers and authors made the leap from page to screen, the future of book publishing has become more evenly distributed. In this new digital environment, one organization is asking questions about its own future, reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.

A little more than one year after being named executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, Mark Kuyper has resigned, Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. In a brief announcement, BISG said that Kuyper’s resignation is effective immediately and that he intends to “explore other areas of interest.” Prior to moving to BISG, Kuyper was president and CEO of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

“From where I sit, BISG is facing a tough patch,” says Albanese. “With the digital transition now complete, it’s harder and harder to come up with issues to study—back when digital was just getting started, everyone needed guidance. But these days, there are fewer issues in need of study, and, frankly, so many issues are now governed by contracts or NDA’s that it is just harder and harder to do research.”

A search for a new executive director has already started, BISG said, but with the BISG annual meeting is planned for September 30 in New York it was unclear this week whether a new executive director will be in place by that date.

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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