by Tyler M. Carey, Chief Revenue Officer
This past year has been a good opportunity for a lot of us to re-set and reevaluate things, as workplaces, industry events, and more begin to open back up to a ‘typical’ that is more like the pre-pandemic typical. From what it means to work in an office (and why that may not be as important as it once was), to which conferences are worth the flight and disruption to our personal and professional lives, to what we want to accomplish during in-person meetings, this reevaluation and re-set is affecting all aspects of how we work and live.
Meetings I had with clients late last year and early this year tended to focus on “What will it be like when things open back up?” My most recent spate of meetings with some of Westchester’s trade clients in New York City seemed to focus more on, “OK, well, we’re ‘open’ now. We’re back in the office X days a week (or not at all). And here’s what we want to change instead of resume with business as usual…”
This openness to change has been good for both us and our clients. Our discussions with clients over the past several years – but especially since early 2020 – have become less about our what can be seen as commoditized offerings (copyediting, typesetting, and digital conversion) and more about what our clients’ challenges are with trying to get their books to market quickly and within budget. Westchester’s client base now tops 500 clients, and our global staff footprint tops 400 employees and countless freelancers that play specialized roles with everything from developmental edits and permissions management, to managing assets in CoreSource, to writing alt text entries for accessible epubs, and more.
So, rather than pinning down and committing to what ‘the next normal’ looks like, many of our clients are pivoting, trying things, assessing successes and failures, and trying other things. It’s a great time to be in publishing with so much renewed emphasis on topics that may have been seen as “nice to haves” in the past, but are now things publishers have the motivation and bandwidth to address. From changing how publications are created and distributed, to a renewed emphasis on sustainability, to finally defining workflows for accessibility that are baked into the editorial and production processes – rather than tacked on at the end – we’re seeing our clients take on bold, new initiatives that might have seemed like back-burnered projects during the last decade.
You can learn more about what US employee-owned Westchester Publishing Services has been up to in this article featuring our Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, Deb Taylor. In this profile in Publishers Weekly, Deb shares information about the technology, workflow, and marketplace initiatives Westchester has been focused on over the past year. It’s a good read if you want to get a handle on our view of the industry, and how we’re approaching accessibility, educational content, and more.
To get a sense of what the overall industry is up to, join us for our next Publishing Now webinar, cohosted with Publishers Weekly on September 29, at Noon Eastern. Panelists including Bill Kasdorf, Rachel Martin, and Kristen McLean will provide an update on what’s happening across various parts of the publishing landscape, and share ideas about how your business can prepare for the changes accessibility and sustainability requirements will bring.
P.S. – Will your plans bring you to the New York City area on Saturday, September 10? The New York Book Forum is organizing an in-person event for publishing industry staff that promises to be fun and provide books for children in need. This event calendar provides more details. We hope to see you there!