A chat with SME's Book Publishing Manager

Genevieve Homyack

June 18, 2024

Many of you knew and admired Jane Olivier, the former SME Book Publishing Manager. When she retired a couple of years ago, SME hired Melissa Serdinsky. We recently spoke to her about SME's Books program and what the future holds for SME.

Homyack: What do you do at SME?
Serdinsky: I am the book publishing manager for SME. I work to find titles and subjects for print and ebooks. I work in all SME proceedings and manage the inventory and sales for SME and other publishers’ titles in our physical and online bookstore. At the MINEXCHANGE conference in February, I also became the division liaison for Industrial Minerals and Aggregates Division. I thoroughly enjoy being a division liaison and working with IM&AD because it connected so many dots on why SME exists and how conferences come together.

Homyack: Tell me more about the SME Publishing Program.
Serdinsky: There are two markets in the publishing industry - trade books (think fiction beach read) and academic and reference books which focus on higher education and professional trades/markets. SME is a well-established book publisher in the academic and reference book sector. In addition to selling books at the physical conference stores and through our online store, we sell books through a variety of direct to consumer and international wholesale companies. You can find SME books on Amazon.com and the various international sites they maintain. We have international distribution through Eurospan that sells mainly to the Eurozone. We also have titles available in Australia, South America and other far-reaching countries where shipping is difficult and expensive through a digital print program with Ingram Book Company. In these markets, we print to order locally. We also produce PDF ebooks that we sell through our site and to library and professional subscription services like Knovel. We are starting to produce epub files that can be sold through Amazon Kindle and Apple iBookstore.

Homyack: Where did you work before SME?
Serdinsky: I've been in book publishing for 35 years. I worked as a consultant for two years prior to joining SME but before that, I worked at Ingram Book Company.

Homyack: What’s something you’ve accomplished that you’re super proud of?
Serdinsky: I’m most proud of the digit distribution platform entitled Constellation Digital Services in 2008 when I worked for Perseus Books Group (purchased by Ingram). We had six publishing divisions and 200+ distribution client publishers. This was the year that ebooks came back into existence but the publishing industry did not know what to do. I led a team that educated and supported all of these groups on the new digital frontier. Teaching publishers new technology was hard but rewarding.

Homyack: Where do you see the publishing department going, and what is the most exciting thing happening right now?
Serdinsky: The SME program is looking to focus the titles and subjects into consumable content. We will always have the exhaustive reference manuals, but I’m looking to serve up that content in ebooks and print books that are informative and affordable to a range of consumers both inside the SME membership and in the academic/high school levels. I’m also VERY excited about starting a children’s line of books for the K-12 market.

Homyack: What do you want to say to our members?
Serdinsky: I continue to learn so many fascinating things from our members - from microbes and tailing ponds to mineral processing techniques. Thank you for your patience and sharing your knowledge

Recently the SME Board approved the publication of Mining Economics & Strategy, 2nd Edition by Ian Runge. If you have any questions about SME Book Publishing, please contact Melissa Serdinsky at serdinsky@smenet.org.


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