Following Declining Conference Attendance, Staff Leaves DBW
Earlier this week Daniel Berkowitz left his position as senior editor of Digital Book World after holding the position for 18 months and has taken up a new role as a digital director at literary agency Writers House.
It is no surprise that Berkowitz left the job; his two predecessors each held the position for only a couple years.
But what does come as a shock is that his boss, Phil Sexton, has also left his position as VP and group publisher with parent company F+W Media, and that neither has been replaced. In fact, no one has been running DBW for the past week.
From the statement F+W Media CEO Tom Beusse gave to Publisher’s Lunch, at a minimum Sexton and other VPs (and possibly alsoBerkowitz) left as a result of poor performance:
"These communities have been underperforming versus my expectations and lacked strategic direction." He will be hiring new leaders for Writer’s Digest and fine arts and "those people will be charged with executing on the rapid growth strategy we have identified for each community." Quilting will join Interweave and their sewing businesses to form a new Craft group under the management of John Bolton.
According to my sources, attendance the Digital Book World Conference was down 10% this year, and 15% last year.
Next year’s conference has not yet been scheduled, raising questions whether F+W plans to hold the conference at all.
And given the lack of editorial staff at DBW right now, there’s an excellent chance that DBW might go away all together.
If you have posts there, you would be well advised to back them up just in case.
image by haymarketrebel