As a result of digital initiatives and a strong set of titles, the 50-year-old UK publisher is growing its business, despite increasing competition from outside traditional publishing.
Even as we hear from Kogan Page’s leadership today concerning the rights landscape on this independent house’s business and management specialty, we’ve got several titles the business is presenting for rights sales. You will find those at the conclusion of this story.-Porter Anderson
Chinese Rights Sales Now Leading
China is becoming Kogan Page‘s most efficient rights territory, since the UK publisher marks its 50th anniversary.
Founded by Philip Kogan in 1967, it has remained independent throughout its half-century, and it’s run today by Philip’s daughter Helen Kogan, who’s managing director.
The organization recently made industry headlines with all the timely acquisition of two cyber-attack titles, announced in the same week since the global ransomware attack. Those two titles are scheduled for spring 2018:
Cyberwars: The Hacks that Shook the globe is simply by former Guardian technology editor Charles Arthur and will look at the dramatic inside stories of some of the world’s biggest cyber-attacks including the Clinton election campaign in addition to recent global events.
Cyber Risk Management, is simply by Richard Benham with the UK’s National Cyber Skills Centre and will, according to promotional copy, offer “vital help with the best way to evaluate threats and communicate a cyber-security process to help prevent the trillions of dollars which are lost globally each and every year.”
Publishing Perspectives spoke to Helen Kogan about how the business has been able to remain independent, its current rights activity, and exactly how the field of Best Business Books publishing is beginning to change.
‘Discoverable Any place in the World’
Publishing Perspectives: As Kogan Page enters its sixth decade, bed not the culprit business?
Helen Kogan: We’re using a great year. We’re almost at the conclusion of our financial year and we’re seeing double-digit growth across all revenue streams. We’ve also won two transformational publishing contracts with all the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development as well as the Chartered Institute of Banking for both academic and professional development titles.
We’re going to launch a searchable digital platform for B2B customers and we’re also going to launch our first online courses. It’s been a really exciting breakthrough year following four years of refocus and progression of our value proposition.
PP: Exactly what is the particular focus in your rights activity?
HK: The growth and further expansion of Beijing Book Fair may be particularly good for us, as well as the sale of Chinese rights has become our most successful territory.
However, we have our titles translated into 50 different languages now and, interestingly, this isn’t just limited to our widely used general business titles. We’ve had success by incorporating individuals more specialist titles too, in the field of logistics and human resources.
We’ve always been internationally-focused and currently sell our titles into 90 countries with key territories being North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, the guts East, Australia, India, and China.
We now have offices in the usa and India and a wide network of agents globally. We’re fortunate to write in English-the international language of business-and that business and management is often a global subject. We’ve really cheated global supply chains recently and, from the progression of digital bibliographic and marketing feeds, have the great power to make our titles discoverable from any location.
‘A Very Crowded Marketplace’
PP: Do you know the main issues facing business and professional publishers?
HK: A serious problem is that we’re now encompassed by content producers.
It’s merely traditional publishers that disseminate business content, and it’s an extremely crowded marketplace. Training companies, member organizations, business schools and management consultancies some of the intense non-traditional competition we need to take into consideration. However, we’ve spent the last 36 months defining our value proposition and points of difference and think we continue to have a compelling and competitive business with significant chance of further growth.
PP: The amount of a threat is open access? The ‘knowledge ought to be free’ camp can be extremely persuasive. Should it create an environment through which students will be more unwilling to pay for content?
HK: I do believe it’s hard to persuade students to fund content when they’ve been used to ‘free’. We really have to have the educational institutes to compliment us on this and also to result in the case that at the conclusion of the fishing line is definitely an author that has come up with book and should be compensated accordingly.
Around “free” is often a challenge Also i feel that the threat to non-linear narrative, through other media formats, is problematic. We’re considering the way we may offer an infinitely more three-dimensional and interactive expertise in the future to contend with changing consumer reading habits.
PP: How has Kogan Page been able to stay independent?
HK: Bloody-mindedness, resilience, opportunism-all those actions plus more.
PP: The number of employees do you have and what’s your turnover?
HK: We now have 35 staff and growing. Our turnover is ?4.5 million (US$5.6 000 0000) in the following financial year this will grow to over ?5.5 million (US$7.Two million) through organic growth as well as the addition of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development’s list. There were to consider a success on our top line over the last number of years as we refocused part of our activity on specialist areas however, this year we’re seeing the fruits of that work and have a much 12-percent growth.
Benefitting From the Weak Pound
PP: What effect do you think Brexit will have?
HK: It’s tough to say at this time. We have to hope that individuals won’t experience tariffs simply because this will clearly possess some impact. Costs of materials may also be an issue and we’ll have to keep close track of this. We hold English-language world and digital rights on the vast majority of our list and this should mitigate having to contend with US editions in Europe (a growing concern amongst other publishers).
I hope that sanity will prevail as well as the threat hanging over our European colleagues’ right to stay in the united states will be dealt with swiftly rather than deploying it as a bargaining chip.
About the plus side, we’ve certainly taken advantage of the weakness with the pound contrary to the dollar.
PP: Where does one sell your main books?
HK: 70 % individuals sales still go through the traditional supply chain-bookshops, trusted online retailers, wholesalers, and so on. However, our Web site sales are growing and we use a thriving B2B sales activity for member organizations, author networks, and corporates.
PP: What’s the split between digital and print within your business?
HK: Digital accounts for A quarter of revenue with all the balance of the being delivered from digital licensing to academic library suppliers, aggregators, and corporate content suppliers. Our ebook business has stayed fairly stable at about 8 percent of overall revenue.
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