John Sargent on Adventures and Misadventures in Publishing

Roxanne Coady talks with John Sargent about his many adventures in book publishing at a time when the industry met many challenges and some of the authors and other characters he worked with along the way.

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John Sargent was raised on a ranch in Wyoming. He worked at three different publishers before going to Simon and Schuster to run the children’s book division at the age of twenty-nine. He spent six years there, followed by three years as the CEO of DK Publishing. In 1996, he went to work as the CEO of St Martin’s Press. Three years later, he was put in charge of Holtzbrinck’s US publishers and was responsible for forming the company that is today’s Macmillan. He worked there as CEO until the end of 2020. He serves on three nonprofit boards. He’s been married to Connie Sargent for thirty-seven years, and they have two children.

Roxanne Coady is owner of R.J. Julia, one of the leading independent booksellers in the United States, which—since 1990—has been a community resource not only for books, but for the exchange of ideas. In 1998, Coady founded Read To Grow, which provides books for newborns and children and encourages parents to read to their children from birth. RTG has distributed over 1.5 million books.

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