Book producers, also known as packagers, are similar to independent producers in film and television; instead of shows, they make books for publishers, corporations, non-profits, and others. Book producers perform all of the creative and production functions commonly performed by agents and publishing houses, with the exception of marketing, sales, and distribution.
Book producers provide original ideas. Packaged books can expand a publisher’s list with titles they can’t get anywhere else. The many hundreds of packaged books that have hit the shelves span the entire spectrum of publishing categories: art, medicine, cooking, history, parenting, gardening, sports, popular culture, self-help, business, and more. They also run the gamut of publishing markets, including trade, mass market, educational, juvenile, professional, and reference.
As publishing houses streamline their own staffs but still have to produce the same number of books, they often turn to book packagers to fill the gap. In these cases they will hire the producer to work with the author on a project already under contract to make it a book. Sometimes when a publisher finds that a book is running late and must get out on a very tight schedule, they will outsource the project to a book producer who will then shepherd the book through to completion.