Tackling an outdated image of publishing as a closed world unreceptive to the digital future is a key challenge Joanna Prior has set herself as president of the Publishers Association for the coming year.
In an interview in this week's issue of The Bookseller, the Penguin General m.d. has said that publishing has "so many good stories to tell" but still needs to get home to the wider public, to potential new recruits, and to politicians both in the UK and Brussels, that it is has moved on completely from its old-fashioned image.
Particularly crucial is to combat "this dichotomy that perhaps exists in people's minds between traditional publishing and digital technology - as though one is opposed to the other. One of the truly impressive things about our industry is how we have responded to the changes in technology and the new ways that readers are accessing entertainment."
Potential new recruits coming up through school and university also need to know that the image of publishing as a closed world uninterested in a broad spectrum of applicants is untrue, Prior said. "We need to shed some old, out-of-date images of what publishing is about, the idea that it is closed to certain people, whether that's needing to get more ethnic diversity through the door, to attracting people from outside the London bubble and the South-East, articulating better our appeal to science grads and engineers, people who are wanting to embrace technology, coders, or talented designers that may not have the traditional educational background that in the past we've looked for.
"We're not a closed world that is difficult to get into, we're open to innovation, to doing things in new ways."
Subscribers can read the full interview here.