Thoughts on books, publicity, and the media from our Cave Henricks staff.

Five Quick Questions With Publishing’s Top Leaders: Jack Covert

The way we buy books is changing along with everything else in the publishing world.  To get a better feel for how the self publishing and the digital world are impacting consumers of virtual books, Barbara Henricks had a brief conversation with Jack Covert, President and Founder of 800-CEO-READ.

For over 25 years, 800-CEO-READ has focused exclusively on business books and ideas. Experts on book logistics, the company also hosts a business book blog as well as events with business authors and publishes manifestos from around the world at Below are some highlights of what Jack had to say:

Q:  You’ve been selling books for more than 25 years.  What’s the most radical change you’ve seen in the last year in the way we buy books?

The quality of the self published book has improved dramatically. This phenomenon is driven by the decline in quality business publishing as well as the increased options available to an author who chooses not to have to wait a year or more to see their book in print, as is typical.

Q:  What do you think influences people most to buy business books – is it ads, word of mouth,
publicity, personal referral or some combination of all of those?

This is a hard question. We at 8cr believe that a good idea, told well, will create its own buzz. Now Ihave been accused of believing in the Easter Bunny also. There is no simple answer. Work and luck rules the roost.

Q:  Have e-readers impacted your category in a huge way, or do business readers still want physical books for referring back to, notating, etc.?

We see very little impact from e-readers at the moment. Our main business is selling boxes of books to groups, and e-readers have not tipped to the masses yet.

Right now the quality of the business book seems about the same as before. Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis and Steven Johnson continue to write and publish great big idea books. However, New York publishers are being forced by the bad economic conditions and their parent conglomerates to be more selective in their acquisition, and I feel that the quality of the forthcoming titles will go down. As the quality of nontraditional publishing will improve.

Q:  You are an author as well as a bookseller; what advice would you give to someone who wants to write a business book?

Have an interesting idea, tell good stories and become a world class salesperson. Going to the 8cr 2010 Author Pow Wow would be a great place to start.

Note: Cave Henricks Communications will be attending this year’s 800-CEO-READ Author Pow Wow (Barbara will be presenting) and we highly recommend it to business book authors.