Robin Wood is Chairman of Anova Books, one of the UK’s larger independent publishers, which he co-founded in 2005. He is also Chairman of the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG). He is one of our top speakers at BookMachine Unplugged, so we thought we’d find out more:
1. How did you end up working in publishing?
By accident, of course. As a student at UCL, I applied for an administrative job at the then partwork magazine publishers, Marshall Cavendish. They saw my CV and offered me a job instead as a trainee sub-editor. After 4 years, I moved over to editing, then commissioning, illustrated books, and stayed the course since.
2. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned? (without giving away your talk idea…)
Publishing is one of the most fulfilling and creative industries you can enter, but, at the beginning and at the end of the day, it’s business. Without doubt, cash is king, but one of my mantras (not my original words I must say) is, especially in publishing, “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity”.
3. How is the IPG different in 2013 to how it was in the past?
The IPG turned 50 years old last year, and celebrated in considerable style, with many of its 500-plus members attending a right royal bash at one of London’s oldest guild halls. The IPG is now a major player in the world of creative arts. In its early years, it had fewer members of course, so today it has to be run more professionally while keeping alive that original spark of bringing together and supporting its members.
4. What project are you most proud of?
Taking the loss-making book division of a major media conglomerate and, with a great team, creating a creative, lively and profitable independent book publisher, Anova Books.
5. And your biggest prediction for the industry this year?
The Random House/Penguin merger will be seismic. We may well see further consolidation among the “big boys” of publishing, some interesting acquisition opportunities for others as “non-essential” elements of these consolidations become available, and great opportunities for fleet-of-foot smaller independents.Hear Robin talk at BookMachine Unplugged on Thursday 21st February in London.