In a conversation with Marshall Goldsmith, while he was in town for our LeaveSmarter event, the question posed itself, "Do business readers follow publishers? Do they buy books based on who published them?" Being inside the industry, it would seem logical to assume, "yes, they do," but perhaps only because we do. Readers are different. In fact, business books are different.
As an avid music collector, I often purchase based on trust for the label alone. With some labels, I will buy whatever they publish, regardless of who the artist is, or if I've ever heard of them previously. I trust the label, and through that trust building process, have an idea of what I'll be getting from their products, but also accept the adventure of discovering something new.
Ever buy a business book this way? Ever buy a book completely blind simply because it was published by Jossey-Bass, Portfolio, Harper, etc.?
For us, we look very closely at publishers and the books they release. Getting a box from specific places fills the room with curiosity. There's going to be good stuff in that box!
I'm sure they are certainly hard at work on this, and have been for years, but hopefully publishers can find more ways to cultivate this experience in general readers. There are record geeks, and there certainly are business geeks, and it's a great thing when people have something to be excited about.