It’s true. After six years, three months and twelve days, I’m passing on the torch at BookNet Canada. It is bittersweet. I am leaving a group of people who are gifted, committed and tremendously capable. But I leave with complete faith that BookNet will continue to deliver on its mandate to drive innovation and smooth out the rough patches of the book industry supply chain. In selecting Noah Genner as the new CEO, the Board could not have made a better choice. The rest of the industry will get to see what we at BookNet have always known—that he has been the beating heart of BookNet’s operations for years and the driver behind some of our greatest successes. The rest of the team will also get to step out a bit more, which will be a treat for everyone.
Plenty of letters and releases will be going out today, but I’d like to say some thank yous and talk a bit about where I’m headed next…
First and foremost, a sincere, slightly tear-streaked thank you to the current BookNet Canada staff: Sue, Morgan, Tim, Jackie, Pamela, Tom, and David. I am leaving without a shred of doubt that BookNet is not only going to survive, but will both thrive and surprise. That confidence is entirely due to the incredible group of people with whom I’ve been so lucky to work. The CEO position has always been bathed in reflected light and to whatever degree I’ve been well-illuminated, it’s because of them. That will be even more clear as I leave and they get to do some more shining on their own.
Next, a thank you to the members of the BookNet Board of Directors, who picked me for the job, guided me along the way, caught flack, smoothed feathers, gave guidance and endured some very long meetings. Access to your experience and optimism has been immensely valuable.
Association executives: The Gang of Three—Jackie, Susan, and Carolyn—who opened doors and provided much-needed perspective and support when it was most needed. And also the regional executives coast to coast, who always made me feel like part of their respective publishing families when I was far from home. Thanks also to the international groups—BISG, BIC, EDItEUR, The International ONIX Committee, and IDPF—who welcomed a scrappy Canadian upstart into their midst.
Special thanks to the Department of Canadian Heritage, its Director Generals, Directors, Managers and Program Officers and Analysts who were instrumental in BookNet’s founding and in its continued success. A more professional, diligent group of public servants you could not hope to meet.
And finally, to all of the publishers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, software vendors, developers, and service providers large and small who I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last six years. You’re the real reason this has been the most fun job in books. Your passion for this industry is so infectious, I’m happily condemned to be a carrier for the rest of my days.
So what’s next? I am moving to mobile reading startup Shortcovers as their Vice President of Content, Sales, and Merchandising. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse for all the right reasons: Canadian innovators with international focus. An incredible, talented, fast-moving team. A strong desire to collaborate with publishers rather than experiment on them. *And* I get to work with the same publishers and organizations around the world, but in a whole new context. *And* I get to sell books again, which is a real treat.
Ground floor opportunities come along rarely. Ground floor opportunities in the book industry even less so. Ones that seek to break open a whole new business in that industry, least often of all. I was lucky to be a part of the online bookselling revolution in 1996-2000 and I feel all of those same stirrings in the market with digital reading and Shortcovers today. Expect no major changes from me personally—I am the same fired-up, eyes-on-the-future, compulsively communicative person as ever, now focused on bringing the potential of digital reading to fruition. So while I’m heartbroken to leave, I can’t wait to get started.