Samantha Ettus interviews Publishing Titans Jane Friedman and Larry Kirshbaum

“Publishers to some extent are beating back the waves here. They haven’t accepted that digital content is going to be a major factor”

-Larry Kirshbaum

“An entrepreneur within an organization is a problem”

-Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman was the President and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide from 1997-2008. Her countless accolades include Publishers Weekly Person of the Year, The Wall Street Journal’s 50 Women to Watch and she is among 101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment by Entertainment Weekly. She has an inner confidence and achieved great heights while raising four boys and that is why I’m Obsessed with Jane.

Larry Kirshbaum spent 10 years as CEO and Chairman of the Time-Warner Book Group. In 2005 he was named Publisher’s Weekly’s first “Publishing Person of the Year.” He is now an agent, having launched his own renowned literary agency, LJK Literary Management. He has discovered and led countless authors to capitalize on their work and possesses unparalleled talent and warmth and that is why I’m Obsessed with Larry.


10 Responses to “Samantha Ettus interviews Publishing Titans Jane Friedman and Larry Kirshbaum”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Great interview! It was very insightful - get more guests like these :-)

  2. Matthew Says:

    I am thinking about starting a literary agency, but is this truly the worst time to become a literary agent?

  3. Corinne Edwards Says:

    Hands down.

    The best show you have done!

    Enjoyed and learned every minute of it.


  4. Nina Wright Says:

    Fascinating, honest conversation; Samantha asked the right questions. Jane’s wisdom extends way beyond publishing. I especially like her optmistic, guilt-free approach to parenting, work, and life. Larry is upbeat, too, stressing the cyclical nature of art and commerce.

  5. Mary Jane Hurley Brant Says:


    Wonderful wonderful interview. Larry Kirshbaum is the King of Publishing, cool and kindness and Jane Friedman is a role model for “You can do it”!

    I was published by Simple Abundance Press in October 2008 and identified with everything your show addressed. Love to see your guests return, maybe even a series!

    You were terrific.

    Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP

  6. Christopher R. Says:

    This was a superb interview and well worth every moment I spent watching it. I was especially interested in the remarks about digital content. Just two months ago, a publishing exec from one of the two guests’ former companies told me that they do NOT allow their authors to do any digital content at all. I was told by this executive that authors are foolish to allow their books in digital form. It is my opinion that said exec is very nervous about the changing face of publishing. I’m wondering if others have noticed execs in publishing running scared.

  7. Rich Johnson Says:

    I agree about the growth of digital books - that it will stil take some time. It is the first time in history that a consumer would need a piece of hardware to read a book, it requires a different mind set and a change in consumer habbits. When Ms. Friedman states that “books are not music tracks” I applaud her, remember digital music started as file sharing by fans.

    My questions is as follows: Do you believe that most large publishers, who are active in digital media, realize that the production cost savied in converting to digital may need to go into marketing these digital books to the consumer?

  8. Ellen Says:

    Why do publishers continue to give major advances to well-known entities but do not promote less known authors. I Wouldn’t publishers gain more profit from sales if less was paid for advances and more cash spent on promotion? Wouldn’t publicity create more sales and net more to the bottom line since the lower advances would be earned out and a higher number of books would be sold?

  9. Bill Osinski Says:

    How do I contact Open Road?

  10. Larry Kirshbaum on the transition from publishing bigwig to literary entrepreneur « Newvine Growing — exploring evolution, revolution and living life intentionally Says:

    [...] Larry and Jane Friedman, president and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers from 1997-2008, talked to Samantha Ettus on ObsessedTV in 2009: http://obsessedtv.com/2009/08/samantha-ettus-interviews-publishing-titans-jane-friedman-and-larry-k... [...]

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