What's On Your Mind?
Sunday, June 7, 2020
Posted by: Brian O'Leary
On Thursday evening at 6 p.m., BISG is hosting what we have been calling our first online "happy hour". We conceived and planned the gathering as an opportunity for our board to join both members and non-members in a conversation about our industry, how people are feeling after three months of managing responses to the impact of COVID-19, and anything else that might come up.
We're still planning to meet on Thursday, and we're gathering in a world changed by the death of George Floyd. Around the country and around the world, people and organizations are condemning a legacy of violence against Black people. Many are gathering in protest at a time when the very act of gathering is a risk.
I gave a lot of thought to postponing or canceling this event, ultimately choosing to stay with it because our hosts, members of the BISG board, come from every part of the book publishing business. Their perspectives are framed by where they work and what they have done in their lives. They are not of one mind, and they often adjust their own viewpoints by listening to others.
To become a force for change in addressing widespread system racism, book publishing itself needs to change, probably in many ways. Hiring, promotion, the books we publish, and the books we choose to not publish are part of the industry fabric. Our thinking has to extend beyond acquiring and developing books, to consider how manufacturing, offshoring, distribution, retailing, and libraries work and contribute.
To be clear, these are my opinions, not those of the board. But BISG responds fully to the direction and encouragement of its board of directors. On Thursday, we'll have a conversation about what's on the minds of people working across book publishing as whole. We're happy to host it, and I hope that we'll use it as a springboard to something that makes a difference in the world. Registration remains open - I look forward to having you join us.