F. A. Davis: Behind the Books #6

Meet our Editor-in-Chief for Health Professions and Medicine products, Margaret Biblis!

Name: Margaret Biblis
January 25
Late 50’s
5’ 7”, well I used to be, now I’m 5’ 6 3/4”
Eye Color:
Title at F.A. Davis:
Editor in Chief Health Professions and Medicine
Years Worked at F. A. Davis:
15 years
Alias (Middle name, Street you grew up on):
Michaelene Taylor
Left/Right Handed:
Right, although my mother said that when I was growing up I would always reach for things with my left hand and she would put them in my right hand.

What does your job entail here at F. A. Davis? This department is responsible for developing and researching the idea and creating a product for health profession students, to learn how to be members of the healthcare team. We make recommendations on what should be published, and then we go and find the people to write those books. We work with the authors to actually get that book out of their head and onto paper, we help them polish it and then get it to market. So that’s what my department does. My job is to make sure that we’re actually able to do that. Things get in the way, the market changes, so my job is to just make sure that the obstacles are conquered so that they’re able to publish profitable books. When curriculum policy changes or market changes, we have to adjust our strategies about publishing. So that’s a very conceptual way to talk about what do I do. I help my editors do their jobs, when things are broken or things need to be adjusted, or when we need to move in a different direction, it’s up to me to get the necessary adjustments into play.

What’s your favorite part of your job? This sounds a little mushy, but I like the part of creating learning tools for education. People go back to school for new careers as a way to improve their lives or the lives of those around them. Our students want to learn how to help people be able to walk again, eliminate pain, or otherwise get healthy. So the fact that we are building tools to help students learn how to help others is amazing. I really like that we are putting out real books, excellent tools, to keep pace with healthcare education. We pay attention to what is happening in education, in health care, and in the various associations and what their goals are for tomorrows health care system. That’s what I love. We’re making a difference.

How did you get the job at F. A. Davis? I stared off as an education major in school and I was a school teacher for a while. I was in my very first month on the job after I had graduated and the person who sold us our reading textbook came around. Instead of just talking about selling the book or whatever the cost was, she came in and started showing us different really cool ways we could work with the book. How we could have different reading groups, and utilize it to our advantage in the classroom and then this lightbulb went off, “I could work with 37 kids in my class or I could get into publishing and help people across the county!” So that’s what made me realize that publishing even was a career. Accidentally, I found medicine because there was a job opening as a sales rep for a medical publisher and I saw it as a way into publishing. I went to the interview even though I didn’t have a background in medicine. I went in with an incredible passion for education and fell in love with the job immediately. They gave me an assignment, that for the next 3 days I had to go on campus and talk to instructors and go to a bookstore and find out what medical books were all about. I don’t think I slept for those 3 days because I was driven by my curiosity the whole time. I got the job and one thing led to another and I moved up in sales and up into acquisition and then the position became open here. My friend Lynn Caldwell called me up and said “there’s a position open” and she wanted my resume, so I sent my resume in and about a week later I met with Rob.

What is your favorite part about the company? Everyone says the people because it’s true. And it is the fact that this company really values the entrepreneurial spirit. The people who work here are self-starters. When something needs to be done, we get it done. You see that in the volunteer committee, you see that in the day-to-day and there really is a sense of collaboration.

What made you want to work at F. A. Davis? The products are great quality. When I was at other companies (I was an acquisitions editor for about 15 years before I came here) and when I was signing books or I was looking for books for my portfolio at the other places, I was always targeting an F. A. Davis book.  I would think to myself, “I could do a book just as good, maybe even better” so I was always targeting an F.A. Davis book.

Do you have a favorite product? It changes, I’m fickle. I have a new favorite almost every week.
Who would play you in a movie about your life? Well my staff once told me that they thought it would be Meryl Streep but I think they were just buttering me up.
There’s this actress out there, her name is Christine Lahti, and that’s who I think would play me.

Do you have a favorite food? French fries and chips, I have absolutely no control when they are around! I either have to say absolutely no or I will eat a whole bag of potato chips, so I love starch and salt and grease. You put that together and it would be my favorite food group.

Do you have any hidden talents? I can decorate cakes. When I was in 8th grade, my mother wanted to give me a birthstone ring for my birthday, but I wanted to take cake decorating classes. I won.

What’s your favorite animal? I have cats, so I would have to say a cat.

One comment

  1. Dear Margaret Biblis, in 1999 F.A. Davis published my book “Geriatric Pearls” a pocket textbook of clinical geriatrics. I have been working on an updated second edition, but have also written several short stories for a book I am currently calling “From Both Sides of the Stethoscope” medical and non-medical tales. I would love to have this published and wondered if you could recommend an editorial contact to me?
    Best wishes,
    Moira Fordyce MD, MB ChB, FRCPE, AGSF


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