From Studies to Standards, BISG Evolves

Andrew AlbaneseConsider the evolutionary track taken by the Book Industry Study Group. Founded in 1975 by the Book Manufacturers Institute, BISG has endured a tsunami of change in publishing over three decades.

In 2016, a much different place from the days before e-commerce and smartphones, BISG has emerged into a digital world. To continue to survive, the organization must shake off impressions that it may be a kind of living fossil.

With a new leader, and plans for a new focus, reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, any coelacanth epithet may not be fitting.

Brian O’Leary (newly-appointed as BISG executive director) is committed to refocusing on fundamentals—and that means its work with standards, and the nitty gritty business of creating a more informed, powerful and efficient book industry supply chain,” Albanese says.

“While O’Leary hopes to get into more research at some point, his commitment right now is delivering value to members—that means standards work, work on membership, and getting the organization sorted,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “It was pretty clear to me, after talking with members, that those priorities were music their ears. There was a good feeling that the group has a solid leader, and a solid plan, going forward.”

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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