Leonard Shatzkin

Leonard Shatzkin is the author of “In Cold Type: Overcoming the Book Crisis” (Houghton Mifflin, 1982), a critical discussion of book publishing and distribution in the United States. He held executive positions for over thirty-five years in a number of publishing houses, covering wide areas of responsibility, including retail bookselling, production, editorial, marketing, and sales, and warehousing and shipping. He was production manager at The Viking Press and at Doubleday Book Company as well as vice-president at both McGraw-Hill and Crowell-Collier Macmillan. When Crowell-Collier bought the Brentano bookstore chain, it was placed under Shatzkin’s direction.
While at Doubleday, Shatzkin hired George Blagowidow to develop a mathematical method to predict advance sale so printing decisions could be made earlier and more accurately. In the first year of operation, for the first time in memory, not a single Doubleday title was sold as overstock and no title was out of stock for even one day.
The sales prediction method later provided the means for measuring the effectiveness of the sales force, nationally and by region. Shatzkin was put in charge of applying these guides to improve sales force productivity. In the five years from the resulting expansion of the sales force until Shatzkin left Doubleday, sales increased almost fourfold, with no discernible change in number or mix of published titles.
An offshoot of the sales prediction system, later adapted for inventory control at the bookstore level, generated the Doubleday Merchandising Plan, under which the titles and quantities of Doubleday titles were mathematically controlled in the retail stores that enrolled in the plan. The sale of Doubleday titles doubled in participating stores; the profitability of Doubleday books for Gimbel’s because of better stock turn, higher discounts, and reduced returns, increased thirteen times. At its height, the Doubleday Merchandising Plan was operating in 800 stores.
In 1978, Shatzkin became an independent consultant in book retailing, publishing, and manufacturing. His clients included Doubleday, the Ford Foundation, CBS International Publishing, Dodd Mead, Grolier, St. Martin’s Press, General Mills, Avon Products, Macmillan, and John Wiley.
He wrote extensively on the book industry in Publishers Weekly, American Bookseller, Daedalus, Book Production Industries, Library Quarterly, and other journals, and lectured to publishers groups in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Mexico, Yugoslavia, Cuba, and other countries.


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