The Book Publishing in 2010
The Book publishing industry is defined as the origin of the media and the content industry. After using papyrus as support, the first book, block of wood (codex), has been created during the 1st century. Across the centuries, this sector has experienced a lot of changes such as the printing press in 1440 by J. Gutenberg. The development of technology have enhanced the ability to improve the quality of the books, the industrial throughput and the cost saving.
In the past several years, a hug and dynamic revolution is occurred in this sector. The industry has seen decline and emergence of several new products and services based on technological advancements in the world. E-books have been the result of one such advancement. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge from the papyrus format to the pixel format, will the emergence of the digitalization lead to the death of the all value chain of this industry (bookshop, publisher, author…)?
This essay has been developed to focus on various perspectives of book publishing industry in order to analyze the trends, the changes, strength and weakness in the industry with regard to products and services. The Porter five forces and SWOT model has played a significant role in identifying the status of traditional book publishing industry and the way in which e-books have changed the weaknesses into opportunities.
Reading books is a very common activity as leisure, professional and education use. The book industry was a very huge business generating in 2009 about US$ 108 billions worldwide. This business is segmented in 3 main categories: Trade books, K-12 and College. Every player (Author, Publisher, Printer Distributor and Bookstore) has a key role in the value chain of the book publishing. In analyzing deeper the traditional book publishing industry before the emergence of the digitalization, we can understand how this sector worked. Paper and other raw materials, needed to produce books, were one of the major costs in the industry because of the low supply (lack of resources) and high demand. The printer labour and the cost of equipment were also significant costs in the value chain. Thus, there was a high competition inside the industry in order to reduce cost and keep a competitive advantage in the industry. The supplier power was considered low in this industry because the publishers have a lot of options and can switch very quickly to another printer. Contrary to the supplier power, the buyer power was very high. The buyer practiced an intensive pressure to its suppliers in order to increase its cost saving. The differentiation between the suppliers was quite low. Inside the industry, the competitive rivalry was generally considered very high. There were more than 87,000 books publishers just in US. Major players such as Random House, Pearson and Hachette compete on national but especially on global opportunities in the market. This industry have been faced the emergence of the technology. Internet can be considered as one of potential substitute. In fact, people can use the digital print instead of physical print in order to read the same information. In this case, the substitute provides more adding value and the cost is lower. As the television appearance in the past, Internet has reduced the leisure time dedicated to read traditional books. The threat of entry in this industry was relatively low because a new entry should consider owning a significant starting capital to finance the equipment and enroll people having the industry know-how. In addition, the competition was very high in this market and there was not so much space for new entry.
Before analyzing the changes in the industry, the e-book should be defined. The term “electronic book” is quite difficult to define contrary to the traditional book as binding paper. This new technology can be referred to different concepts: content, hardware,…