The Value of PMA University
Each year, the Publishers' Marketing Association holds a university to train book publishers and their staff. This year’s theme is "Inventive Publishers Reinventing Publishing." Each course taught at the PMA University will examine the critical need for publishers to examine their publishing model and creatively reinvent their company and their products on a regular basis.
This year PMA University is the largest educational event for book publishers in the United States and, perhaps, the world. There are more than 70 courses during the three-day event which will be held May 31 through June 2, 2005. PMA University will attract more than 600 attendees from through the US, Canada and the world.
In addition to the courses, there are two major attractions: the Benjamin Franklin Awards Gala and the Trade Show. The Benjamin Franklin Awards honor the best in book publishing for the previous year. There are first, second and third place winners in each category. Being nominated or winning a Benjamin Franklin Award propels book sales of that title for the publisher. The Trade Show is an exhibition of different trades catering to book publishers. The PMA encourages the publishers to visit the Trade Show which means that each exhibitor may be visited by as many as 600 attendees.
This year there is a special Mid-Size Publishers Event on June 2, 2005. It is designed to be a forum for top management professionals within the book publishing community to discuss opportunities, challenges, achievements and successes for their businesses. A prerequisite for publishers is 50 or more titles in print and/or a minimum of $2 million in annual sales.
There are several reasons why PMA University is important to any book printer. First, it brings together the ideal target audience for a book printer—the small to medium sized publishers looking for innovative solutions to improve their business. Among these publishers are several who will be changing book printers within the year. Second, there is no better gathering to understand the issues facing book publishers. Understanding the issues book publishers face opens up potential solutions you can offer. For instance, in 2001 I participated in a panel discussion on variable data printing at PMA University because I learned the year before that it was an interest to some publishers. Third, the Trade Show is an exceptional place to exhibit your printing company. Fourth, the Benjamin Franklin Awards showcase the best books publishers produced the previous year. I always examine the winners to better understand printing quality, new techniques and what my competitors are producing. Fifth, the Mid-Size Publishers Event is an opportunity to mingle with the brightest prospects among the 600 people attending PMA University. Sixth, the educational courses provide insight into next year’s trends in the publishing industry. And seventh, working with publishers is a long-term relationship. Attending and participating in events like the PMA University demonstrates a printer’s commitment to the market.
If you are not a member of the Publishers' Marketing Association, then consider becoming one to augment your business. If you are a member, then make plans to attend the PMA University for as long as you are in this market. The time and money you invest with PMA will yield dividends for your business.