Angela BoleBrian O’LearyAs the name suggests, the Book Industry Study Group has ambitions to be a home base for publishing professionals to share information. After 40 years, though, the BISG community is expecting the organization to do much more. Appointed executive director at BISG in September 2016, Brian O’Leary presented the board in November with a three-year strategic plan that seeks to align BISG goals and resources.

“I want BISG in 2019 to be the organization that anyone in publishing comes to first when they have a problem that touches one or more parts of the supply chain. So effectively we want to become a problem-solving pipeline. You have a problem, you bring it to us, we figure out a way to get it resolved. And if we can’t, then we know who can,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

The strategic plan emphasizes development of measurable goals in four key areas – information; membership; standards; and research. In his vision, O’Leary hopes to take the lead from working groups and committees to drive industry-wide collaboration.

“That’s the value of a BISG membership,” he says. “It represents an opportunity to what I call shape the conversation – to change the dynamic of both where publishing is and where it’s headed.”

From the days of BISG’s founding in the late 1970s to now, the publishing business has transformed utterly. The rise of independent publishing is especially significant, notes Angela Bole, CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association. As a BISG board member, she makes certain these “indie” voices are heard.

“Even as we are seeing a lot of consolidation with the Big Five and the larger players, we also see an amazing amount of energy and innovation in the independent publishing side,” Bole says. “This strategic plan of BISG, the objectives that they’re bringing to the table, it’s all very important to us at IBPA. Our members are very innovative, and they find lots of ways to work around and outside and in different connections to the traditional industry. It’s important that our members are part of this process as we look at the different kinds of information and research and standards that are developed.”

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