Wiley’s Peter Balis on the Future of Publishing and E-books

At $1.74 billion in revenue for its last fiscal year ending in April 2011, John Wiley & Sons is one of the largest publishing companies in the world. Perhaps to the envy of some other publishers, Wiley has managed to make a significant portion of that revenue “digital” in nature. Each of its three business units – STMS (science, technology and math journals and books), education, and professional and trade – derive at least 10% of their revenue from digital.

Near the center of that action is Peter Balis, director of digital content sales for Wiley’s professional and trade division (full disclosure: Balis is also a member of the Digital Book World Conference Council). Balis has been in publishing since 1998 and at Wiley since 2001, when Wiley acquired his employer IDG Books, the book-publishing division of technology-media company IDG, publisher of PC World and other magazines.

When he arrived at Wiley, the company was already thinking both “globally” and “digitally,” said Balis. Ten years later, both global and digital are at the core of everything the company does, according to Balis.