December 16, 2016

Forbes launches book “publishing” imprint


forbes_1200x1200Forbes magazine’s decision to launch a book publishing imprint was motivated by the rise of Donald Trump.

At least that’s how The Drum’s Ian Burrell interpreted the news that Forbes Media, the company that owns Forbes, will begin publishing books by business figures looking to build their careers. When Forbes announced last month that they were partnering with Advantage Media Group to create ForbesBooks, their president and COO Mike Federle explained that they saw “adding a book imprint to our business as a unique growth opportunity in the marketplace… in line with our strategy to diversify revenue streams and expand our global reach.” What they didn’t say was that they were looking for authors who would pay for publication.

In an almost tongue-in-cheek column yesterday, Burrell explained how the Forbes model, which is drawn from Advantage’s lucrative pay-to-publish business, differs vastly from traditional publishing.

Forbes Media has recognised this by launching the ForbesBooks imprint as a new revenue generator… ForbesBooks will produce titles that the authors pay for themselves. A business figure might pay $70,000 or more for the prestige of having the endorsement of Forbes on a handsome hardback that he or she can distribute among their network.

Burell, who interviewed executives at Forbes Media and Advantage for his piece, surmises that Forbes is aiming to lure business figures who want to replicate Trump’s self-mythologizing 1987 book The Art of the Deal. “In a world dominated by digital products and digital entrepreneurs it would be wrong to write off the printed hardback, just as it was wrong to write off Trump.”

Certainly Trump’s decades-long rise wasn’t so simple, but there’s nevertheless something creepy about a magazine offering wealthy business leaders the opportunity to essentially pay to associate themselves with the Forbes name. While the release included no information about distribution, it promises authors a speedy publishing process, marketing services, and even the potential opportunity to “expand the reach of the content beyond the book through the opportunity to publish across Forbes’ many platforms.”



Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.