The Trade Tuesday: Imprints

As a businessman, I do everything that I can to stay informed about publishing industry trends. That involves looking into a lot of various publishing companies. Companies that have multiple imprints always interest me.

Some publishing companies use the word "imprint" the way Nike, for instance, would use the word "brand". They have Michael Jordan's brand of shoes. They have other brands of shoes. Others, however, use the word "imprint" the way Alphabet (Google's parent company) would use the word "subsidiary". Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet. They have other subsidiaries like Google Capital and Google Fiber. Kind of confusing, right?

So which is correct? Are publishers who don't actually own lots of companies phonies? Nope! Technically, an imprint can be something like a brand or something like a subsidiary. There are a variety of reasons for the differences. Imprints that are more like brands allow publishers to promote children's books to one demographic and fantasy to another without confusing or alienating readers. Imprints that are more like subsidiaries usually result from publishers acquiring all or part of smaller companies, which allows publishers to grow and also protect themselves legally.

So which is better? Honestly, I think either "model" is fine. I personally prefer the subsidiary "model" as a publishing executive, which can be seen in the way we've structured Allegiant Publishing Group, but the brand "model" can work out really well too. In fact, mixing the two models can work out even better than just using one, and we may look into doing so at some point in the future.

For some, this blog post won't be overly profound, but I think that it's something that can be somewhat confusing at times, so hopefully some will find it helpful.