Technological advancement has changed the way business organizations carry out business activities. Technology has also affected the way we live including how people store and retrieve information. The book publishing industry is also affected largely by technology especially trough transformation in digitalization, consolidation, and globalization CITATION. The way content is produced, marketed and the platforms used to sell have changed as compared to the previous decade. These dynamic changes have brought turbulence in the book publishing industry. Today business enterprises in the publishing industry create content in form of fiction and nonfiction books, education and professional titles in print as well as digital format such as e-books CITATION. The purpose of this paper is to assess the book publishing industry. To achieve this, the paper looks at the competitive advantage, business environment and other industry insights through industry analysis.
Overview of the Book Publishing Industry
The book publishing industry has undergone transformation over the last five years to adapt to changing customer preferences and rapid technological change. There has been a slow growth in per capita disposable income in the past five years reducing books demand and industry sales. On the other hand, increased college enrolment and improved education standards are anticipated to generate higher demand for books in the next five years. Demand for books is highly dependent on demographics and is by large resistant to economic cycle CITATION. The profitability of solo companies is driven by product development and marketing. The major companies in the book publishing industry include McGraw-Hill Education (the US), Thomson Reuters, Scholastic, and penguin random House (Based in United States but owned by a German firm), Reed Elseview (The UK and the Netherlands), Pearson (The UK) and Wolters Kluwer (The Netherlands).
According to CITATION global revenue generated from books accounts to approximately $120 million. India has been cited to be the fastest-growing book publishing market. Revenue generated from e-books is expected to grow stronger especially in countries having high tablet penetration such as the UK, the US, South Korea and Singapore. The United States alone have approximately 2600 establishments and generate total annual revenue of $27 billion. Industry leaders in the book publishing industry have the priviledge of bidding for new authors or manuscript. On the other hand, small and midsized can thrive if they focus on a specific niche.
The key products offered in the book publishing industry include textbooks, professional books, adult trade books, reference books, children’s books, e-books magazines, industry trade publications, online newspapers, digital magazines, printed directories, maps, calendars, mailing lists, among others. Textbook professional and technical books accounts for the largest portion of the industry mainstream (about 30%), adult trade books account for 25%, children books (7%) and reference books (3%) CITATION.
PESTEL Analysis of the Book Publishing Industry
Political Factors: The issue of taxation and regulation from the government tend to affect the book publishing industry. For instance, the office of Fair Trade in the UK protects consumers to ensure that they receive quality books from the responsible companies.
Economic Factors: Consumers for books live in different parts of the world. Therefore, changes in exchange rates have a huge impact on the revenue generated. On the same note, cost of production has increased over the years because of the cost of paper. According to CITATION, the price of paper has increased up to 25% in the year 2014.
Social Factors: The value of the book market has decreased globally. More people are reading on the internet using PCs, tablets, and smart phones and shifting away from reading printed books, magazines, or newspapers. It is easier also to obtain information via the internet as compared to purchasing a book or a magazine which might take time. The cost of living has also increased dramatically making people spend more money on consumables like food and spend less on books.
Technological Factors: The book publishing industry constantly experience dramatic change due to rapid technological advancement. More efficient printing techniques such as Offset printing technology and digital book printing help print huge volume of quantities. On the same note, the demand for digital books in form of e-books has increased over the years because of introduction of tablets and Smartphone in the society.
Environmental Factors: Concern on environmental issue has been increasing so far. Trees are one of the raw materials that are used in producing papers. Therefore, some clients will prefer to purchase e-books because of their concern about environmental sustainability. However, many publishing giants have addressed the issue by doing campaigns to support environmental conservation such as Eco printing or green printing plan which uses 10 percent of recycle paper print for materials or books.
Legal Factors: In the book publishing industry, most of the legal factors are in favor of Authors and publishers. The British Statue of Ann (1710) protects books from piracy and other illegal activities resulting from infringement of patent rights CITATION. On the same note, the Copyright act of 1956 protects not only books but also technological productions such as films and broadcasts.
SWOT Analysis of the Book Publishing Industry
Well-Established industry enjoying a large customer base.
Good and Available market locally and internationally.
The products appeal all ages and social classes.
Brand trusted by consumers as a good source of information.
Most of the products from the book publishing industry are considered high quality.
High level of literacy especially in the Developed nations with most people having the requisite education to read wide range of books.
Books are essential in education sector. Most education institutions use books in their library system.
Strong Financial base.
Diverse industry with a number of specialists understanding their niche market. Weaknesses
Mature industry with no immediate driver for change. Hence, some of the companies use cost reduction strategies rather than innovations to expand the market.
The younger generation are spending less time in reading and utilize other media such as the internet, television and games.
Literacy is note universal.
Limited innovation capabilities.
Buyers of books are not often end-users e.g. public libraries, schools, and universities hence companies are not in a position to influence the end users.
Large number of small farms hence increased competition.
High wastage in sales distribution channels.
Slow responds to the threats and opportunities created by the internet.
Extend strong brands into online services.
Growth opportunities as economies develop
Making content available through mobile devices.
Introduction of digital editions such as e-books
Increasing range of books that are delivered via the internet.
Use of internet as a tool for sales and marketing.
Reduction of barriers to entry through the use of technology.
Using the internet as a medium to establish direct relationship with consumers. Threats
Consumers are spending more money and time on other media at the expense of books
Changes in priority in government spending may imply less money allocated for education and academic books purchases.
Vulnerability to piracy as technology becomes widely used.
Expectation that content that are often paid in print will be available for free online.
Increased VAT in print product increases the prices.
Blue Ocean Strategy
According to Kim & Mauborgne, business enterprises can succeed in creating opportunities in areas that are unexplored “blue oceans” CITATION. One of the weaknesses identified in the book publishing industry is that the market industry is matured with no immediate driver for change. Therefore, most of the giant companies have focused on cost reduction strategies rather than use of product innovation which may be useful as it helps in increasing the overall market size. This should not be the case; instead these companies should focus on value innovation coupled with pursuit of product differentiation and low cost strategies.
Therefore, book publishing companies should come up with strategies that are value based and could help in value innovation as it could help add value to the company, buyers, and its employees. On the same note, such strategies could help in finding new demand and creation of healthy competition within the industry. Despite the fact that the book publishing industry is already developed, companies could still find the unexplored market with little competition or low competition that is not enough to meet consumer demand.
Main Companies that Operate in the Book Publishing Industry
Some of the major companies in the book publishing industry include:
McGraw-Hill Education is one of the largest american book publishing companies located in the United States. According to CITATION, McGraw-Hill education is among the “big three” education publishers that produce tailored education content, software for all the levels of learning. The company produces trade publications and reference for business, medical, engineering among other professions. According to CITATION, McGraw-Hill have operations in approximately 28 countries and employ approximately 4,800 people across the world, its products and services are available in over 60 languages in more than 35 countries CITATION.
McGraw-Hill education has expanded over the years due to their acquisition strategy not only in the publishing industry but also on other areas such as broadcasting (Acquired time-life broadcasting in 1972), financial services (Acquired standard & Poor’s in the year 1966). Some of the acquisition in the trade industry include California test bureau, the Ryerson Press, the Economy Company, Random House Schools and Colleges, among others.
Scholastic corporation is among the giant education companies in the America and globally. The company is popular in publishing, selling and distribution books for teachers, schools, students and parents. The company is created on three segments that is children book publishing and distribution, education and international books. The company holds publishing rights to one of the popular productions such as the hunger games and harries porter. According to CITATION, Scholastic Corporation is the largest publisher globally when it comes to distributing children books, print and education materials for pre-K to grade 12. Apart from schools the company distributes its books via reading clubs, online sales, and fairs.
Thomson Reuters Company is a multinational mass media company owned by Woodbridge Company. According to CITATION, Thomson was ranked Canada’s leading brand in the year 2010. The company has its operations in more than 100 countries across the globe and employees approximately 60,000 employees across the world. The company has grown over the years through acquisitions with other companies such as Seamlogics, vhayu technologies, Hugin Group, Breaking Views among others. Apart from publishing content, the company has diversified to other industries such as data mining, foreign exchange among others.
Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House (PRH) is among the most popular brands in the book industry formed through a merger between two big companies the Random House and Penguin Group. According to CITATION, the company is branded “the world’s truly global trade book’ publisher. The company produces adult and children fiction and fiction books in print and digital format in the United Kingdom, Canada, US, New Zealand, Australia and India. The company also has an employee base of approximately 10000 across five continents. The company houses some of the famous titles and authors. According to CITATION, the company has 70 Nobel Prize laureates and numerous most wide read authors. The company has many divisions and imprints such as DK, Crown Publishing Group, Penguin, and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group and RH International CITATION.
Pearson Education is British-owned company dealing with education publishing as well as providing assessment service to schools, companies as well as schools. The company was founded 18 years ago and owns popular media brands such as Addison-Sesley, Peachpit, Prentice Hall, Longman, eCollege,, Scott Foresman, potropica among others. According to CITATION the corporation generates about 60% of sales in North America and operates in approximately 70 countries. Pearson has also partnered with other major higher education publishers to develop CourseSmart for selling college textbooks in etext format via internet platform. On the same note, the company has partnered with other companies such as GreyCampus and New York State Department of Education among others.January 10, 2018