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Oct
12

Gay Moroccan Poetry Is Not Going To Save Our Publishing Business

1982 Mouton-Rothchild, Cyrus Weinstein, Dan Brown, DC Comics, Gay Moroccan Poetry, Gotcha, Great Receipts by Unknown Chefs, Khan Manka, Long-Tail Strategy, Manka Bros., MC Comics, Moroccan Literature, publishing business, Punk'd, Simon & Schuster, Slivovitz, The DaVinci Code, Travel Blog, World's Largest Media Company, Allen & Company retreat, Ari Emanuel, Barry Diller, Ben Silverman, Bob Iger, Carol Bartz, DumbDumb, Electus, Eric Schmidt, Gina Bianchini, Herb Allen, Herb Allen Sun Valley Conference, Herbert Allen, Jeff Bewkes, Jeff Weiner, Jeff Zucker, Jeffrey Immelt, Jerry Yang, Khan Manka, Lady Gaga, Leslie Moonves, Lloyd Grohl, Manka Bros., Marissa Mayer, Mark Pincus, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Chernin, Phillippe Dauman, Reid Hoffman, Richard Parsons, Ricky Van Veen, Rupert Murdoch, Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Jobs, Sun Valley Retreat, Sun Valley Retreat 2010, Terry Semel, World's Largest Media Company, Chase Carey, James Murdoch, Elisabeth Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Jim Gianopulos, Joel Klein, Jon Miller, Steve Burke, Michael Angelakis, Leslie Moonves, Philippe Dauman, Jeff Bewkes, John Martin, Howard Stringer, Rob Wiesenthal, Michael Lynton, John Malone, Greg Maffei, Haim Saban, David Zaslav, John Hendricks, Mike White, Edgar Bronfman, Len Blavatnik, Tim Armstrong, Peter Chernin, Tom Freston, Carol Bartz, Jerry Yang, Mark Pincus, Owen Van Natta, Brian Roberts, Jason Kilar, Wayne Willich, Reid Hoffman, Harvey Weinstein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Andrew Mason, Jason Kilar, Ben Horowitz, Gina Bianchini, Mark Pincus, Ali Pincus, Robert Wiesenthal, Tom Freston, Bing Gordon, Bill Gates, Chris Christie, Martin Sorrell, Eric Lefkofsky, Oprah Winfrey Last night, I had dinner with Cyrus Weinstein – President of the Manka Bros. Publishing Group.

He informed me that his group is in ‘super-duper danger’ (as opposed to the ‘super danger’ he told me about last year) with books and magazine sales way down year-over-year (a ‘reverse hockey stick’, I believe he said).

“If you aren’t on a plane, train or toilet, you aren’t reading a book, ” he said.  “And it’s not just because of the recession – the full scale shift in how people consume media is nearly complete.  And because of lower pricing and customer confusion, things really suck right now.”

Apparently, the increase in digital downloads and advertising from online publishing sites (including our own Mankazines and Manka Books websites) are not making up the difference.  The only apparent bright spot was our MC Comics division which we continue to mine for feature film franchises (most of which fail at the box office… but I digress).

1982 Mouton-Rothchild, Cyrus Weinstein, Dan Brown, DC Comics, Gay Moroccan Poetry, Gotcha, Great Receipts by Unknown Chefs, Khan Manka, Long-Tail Strategy, Manka Bros., MC Comics, Moroccan Literature, publishing business, Punk'd, Simon & Schuster, Slivovitz, The DaVinci Code, Travel Blog, World's Largest Media Company, Allen & Company retreat, Ari Emanuel, Barry Diller, Ben Silverman, Bob Iger, Carol Bartz, DumbDumb, Electus, Eric Schmidt, Gina Bianchini, Herb Allen, Herb Allen Sun Valley Conference, Herbert Allen, Jeff Bewkes, Jeff Weiner, Jeff Zucker, Jeffrey Immelt, Jerry Yang, Khan Manka, Lady Gaga, Leslie Moonves, Lloyd Grohl, Manka Bros., Marissa Mayer, Mark Pincus, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Chernin, Phillippe Dauman, Reid Hoffman, Richard Parsons, Ricky Van Veen, Rupert Murdoch, Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Jobs, Sun Valley Retreat, Sun Valley Retreat 2010, Terry Semel, World's Largest Media Company, Chase Carey, James Murdoch, Elisabeth Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Jim Gianopulos, Joel Klein, Jon Miller, Steve Burke, Michael Angelakis, Leslie Moonves, Philippe Dauman, Jeff Bewkes, John Martin, Howard Stringer, Rob Wiesenthal, Michael Lynton, John Malone, Greg Maffei, Haim Saban, David Zaslav, John Hendricks, Mike White, Edgar Bronfman, Len Blavatnik, Tim Armstrong, Peter Chernin, Tom Freston, Carol Bartz, Jerry Yang, Mark Pincus, Owen Van Natta, Brian Roberts, Jason Kilar, Wayne Willich, Reid Hoffman, Harvey Weinstein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Andrew Mason, Jason Kilar, Ben Horowitz, Gina Bianchini, Mark Pincus, Ali Pincus, Robert Wiesenthal, Tom Freston, Bing Gordon, Bill Gates, Chris Christie, Martin Sorrell, Eric Lefkofsky, Oprah Winfrey As we proceeded to eat our $200 steaks at Cut in Beverly Hills (which I certainly hope Cyrus will not attempt to put through on his fucking expense report!), I asked him what he thought, if anything, could turn things around.

He told me one word… “niche.”

He has developed a ‘long tail’ niche publishing strategy that will focus completely on his target audience – PEOPLE WHO BUY BOOKS (i.e., old people, gay people, lonely widows, etc.).

He punctuated his thought by telling me that Manka Iambic (our Poetry Publishing imprint – who knew?) had just signed gay Moroccan poet Ahmet Ghary Cool to a two book deal worth over $1 million dollars.

His first book for us will be called Awake In My Dreams and will come in a month or so.

“How many poetry books by this guy do you expect to sell?”, I asked.

As Cyrus drank from his glass of 1982 Mouton-Rothchild, he said… “Two to three thousand in the first year and then a few hundred every year after that – mostly to gay Moroccan college students.  It’s not about sales.  It’s about prestige.”

After a long pause and a couple of shots of Slivovitz, I asked him what else was on the drawing board.

“We have a terrific new cook book coming out called Great Recipes By Unknown Chefs and a user-generated travel book called Best Of The Internet Travel Blogs.”

For some reason, I thought I was on some sort of Gotcha/Punk’d television show where the host would come out and Cyrus would say it was all a joke.

But it wasn’t a joke.

This is the future of our Publishing Group and it seriously scares the shit out of me.

Cyrus Weinstein has been a trailblazing executive in the publishing world for over 40 years but I think his dinosaur bones are starting to show and it may be time to bury him so that future generations can dig him up and say “Oh, so this is what a publishing executive looked like.”

But… he has earned my respect over the years and he deserves the shot to make his new strategy work.

God help us all.

Adam Fogelson, Alan Spoon, Alexander von Furstenberg, Angela Bromstad, Ari Emanuel, Arthur Martinez, Barry Diller, Ben Silverman, Bob Iger, Brad Grey, Brian Roberts, Bryan Lourd, Chase Carey, Craig Smith, David Geffen, David Rosenblatt, Donald R. Keough, Donna Langley, Edgard Bronfman, Electus, Ezra Kucharz, fairy tale movies, Graham Stanton, Greg Blatt, Greg Morrow, Greg Stevens, Gregg Winiarski, Hans Woolley, Harry Sloan, Hey Diddle Diddle, Jason Stewart, Jay Herratti, Jeff Sagansky, Jeff Weiner, Jeff Zucker, Jeffrey Immelt, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jill Kennedy, Joanne Hawkins, Joey Levin, John C. Malone, John Ferriter, John Foley, John Malone, Josh Abramson, Jr., Kara Swisher, Khan Manka, Louis Castle, Manka Bros., Mark Stein, Michael Eisner, Michael Schwerdtman, Michael Zeisser, Nikki Finke, Notional, On Medea, OnMedea, Paul Telegdy, Peter Chernin, Phillippe Dauman, Richard F. Zannino, Rick Finkelstein, Ricky Van Veen, Ron Meyer, Rupert Murdoch, Scott Garell, Scott Savitz, Shana Fisher, Sharon Waxman, Stacey Snider, Steve Burke, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Sumner Redstone, Terry Semel, Thomas J. McInerney, Tina Brown, Tony DiSanto, Victor KaufmanKhan Manka, Jr. – Chairman & CEO – Manka Bros. StudiosThe World’s Largest Media Company

Permanent link to this article: http://mankabros.com/blogs/chairman/2011/10/12/gay-moroccan-poetry-is-not-going-to-save-our-publishing-business/

5 comments

  1. NY Publishing Executive says:

    Ha! It could be worse, Khan. He could be trying to set up a Moroccan poetry social network. It would only cost a million dollars to set up and maintain per year but it might bring three hundred dollars in return!

  2. Molly Glover says:

    I think the dinner cost more than you’ll ever make on those book ideas. Publishing is a dead business. I see authors going directly to their audience in the future. Hopefully that won’t mean they won’t be edited anymore.

  3. Angela Scott says:

    Good freakin’ luck with those books. I seriously would love to know how all that plays out in the end. Wow.

    I would have thought you were joking too, except you said you weren’t. Too bad.

    Again, good luck.

  4. Coco says:

    Maybe if the gay Moroccan poet wrote a book about Steve Jobs it would sell. That seems to be the only thing hot right now in publishing.

  5. Nick H. says:

    Dont dismiss the momentum of digital media. If your lead for this business hasn’t shared with you the huge growth and technology that is now available, you may need a new guy. IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Amazon all moving in with tools and teams to grab the hundreds of millions. Give me 15 minutes….I will get you there. Energy, Vision, Simplicty and Execution.

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