E-Commerce Business Report on the Book Emporium

E-Commerce Business Report on the Book Emporium

 


Introduction

Publishing is the process through which one produces and disseminates literature or information. The publishing business operates on a profit motive; hence the players need to make rational decisions regarding the publishing process (Woll, & Raccah, 2014). Traditionally, publishers go through a rigorous process to compile their work before sending them to the publisher. Ordinarily, the process would take several months before the publisher releases the final product to the market. The process of publication often begins with an evaluation where the author has to present his/her book proposal to the publisher for review. Thereafter, the author submits his/her manuscripts for review by an internationally or a locally acclaimed anonymous referees. Finally, the author and the publisher commit to an agreement to publish the book. Secondly, the book undergoes an editing phase where the publisher and the author make possible corrections to comply with professional standards of writing and presentation. The editing process involves checks for style, consistency, illustrations, and language among other aspects. The third step in publication process is where the publisher and the author cooperate in marketing the book. The marketing process involves a choice of the title and sub-title, the signing of contracts with libraries and bookstores among other places. Then the book enters the production phase where the publisher undertakes printing and typesetting among other activities. Lastly, the book undergoes the publication process. The publication process involves the general release of the book to the market via different media such as a book launch. Nonetheless, the rise of internet technology has resulted into online publication business. According to Keegan (2013), online publishing has created an opportunity for publishers to make profit. This is because online publishing enables individuals to shorten the publication process. Furthermore, digital technology enables publishers to develop excellent book cover designs within the shortest time possible thereby making publications easier (Greco, 2013). Owing to the process involved in the publication of books, this paper is designed to offer an e-commerce perspective of the Book Emporium.

A SWOT Analysis of the Book Emporium

A SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of The Book Emporium would help indicate the company’s competitiveness in the market.

Strengths

The Book Emporium would have several advantages over the conventional printing press-related processes. First and foremost, the Book Emporium would run at lower operational costs. It would require one to use digital technology which does not require too much hardware and equipment. In this case, one would only require a computer to design and edit the work. In addition, the Book Emporium’s business model would provide room for one to edit the manuals and design the book cover independently. The company may sometimes offer the clients an opportunity to carry their books through CD-ROMs, flash disks, DVDs, and PDF for printing elsewhere. This implies that the organization would not require a conventional printing press to function for customer to obtain copies of books. As such, The Book Emporium would spend little on infrastructure and equipment thereby minimizing the cost of operations. At the same time, the Book Emporium has a well-trained workforce especially technicians and designers. The technicians and designers would enhance the company’s competitiveness because the electronic publishing would depend entirely on technical and design services. As such, the Book Emporium would profit from the technical and design services of the employees.

Weaknesses

The Book Emporium’s reliance on the internet implies that the organisation would suffer from unprecedented internet related crime. Cybercrime is a major crime that could affect organizations relying on the internet for operations; for example, the Book Emporium is more likely to be a victim of online piracy. Individuals may hack into the company’s website to steal soft copies of books and cover designs.

Secondly, the Book Emporium has a weaker financial position. The company is currently struggling financially therefore unable to compete favourably with other e-publishers in the United Kingdom and in the world. As such, The Book Emporium cannot manage to raise adequate capital to expand its business. In addition, inadequate financial position makes it hard for the company to hire and retain qualified staff to aid the expansion of its business operations.

Thirdly, the digital and online publication may reduce the company’s business prospects. Most large-scale publishers employ digital production in combination with the conventional printing press and production technologies. For example, Amazon employs both digital and conventional publication approaches to conduct its business. As such, Amazon profits from the sale of both digital and hard cover books. Nonetheless, the Book Emporium cannot compete with larger publishers like Amazon.

Lastly, the Book Emporium specializes in the publication of English-only books and literature books. The company is thus unable to publish books written in Arabic and Chinese languages. This is in spite of the fact that countries such as China are rising economically with increasing level of literacy thereby making such destinations better market for the company’s products.

Opportunities

The internet is saturated with a number of opportunities for the electronic publishers. First and foremost, the Book Emporium stands to gain from a growing number of people preferring online editions to print literature. The management of the company should work out ways to include the sell of digital books to its product line. Apparently, the sale of digital books is a profitable business.

Secondly, the Book Emporium should capitalize on internet marketing because it is the cheapest. The ever-increasing internet prevalence in the world offers sound business opportunity for the Book Emporium. As such, the Book Emporium should explore internet-marketing opportunities for its own good.

Additionally, the Book Emporium would benefit from online payments systems such as PayPal. Online payment systems may be integrated into the company’s website so that online purchases are done via online payment platforms. In such case, the Book Emporium would be able to serve both local and international players.

Threats

There is a decline in the reading culture. According to Morrison (2012), very few people prefer reading compared to those who prefer listening to direct speech deliveries. In fact, very few people buy books nowadays. As such, the future of the online publishing and marketing of books is bleak.

Secondly, the global economic volatility is a threat to the company. The 2008 economic downturn had negative effects on the economy and the buyer’s purchasing power. According to Peacock (2011), the UK economy alone has lost over 2 million jobs since 2008 recession. Such figures indicate that more than 2 million potential clients have been out of work since 2008. At the same time, the poor state of the economy implies that authors cannot procure the Book Emporium’s services.

Thirdly, the Book Emporium is likely to suffer from a potential slowdown on the popularity of the e-publishing business. According to Morrison (2008), the future of e-publishing and marketing is weak owing to the price turbulence in the sector. Apparently, one could charge an e-book author about £22.30 and £89.75 to get one’s manuals fixed into an e-book in 2012 (Morrison, 2012). However, the current increase in the number of self e-publications implies that the prices of e-book publication would reduce to comply with the market forces.

PESTLE Analysis for the Book Emporium

Political

The Book Emporium relies on the stable political state of the United Kingdom. The political stability in the United Kingdom is subject to the maturity of UK’s democratic institutions. As such, the stable political state implies that The Book Emporium will benefit economically from stable political situation. Equally, the political condition of the United Kingdom and most of the English speaking countries, which forms a larger part of its customer base, is stable. For example, The United States has stable democratic institutions similar to India and Australia. As such, The Book Emporium would not experience closure of its offices due to political tensions because there will be no political tensions in the UK and other English speaking countries.

Economic

The UK economy is currently recovering from the 2008 economic crisis. The economic outlook for April 2014 and the entire year are positive. According to CBI (2014) report, about a third of the UK firms believe they would expand their operations in the coming 12 months. Nonetheless, CBI (2014) reports that the global economy is still experiencing sluggish growth and would likely affect the economic state of the United Kingdom. However, the economic recovery of the United Kingdom implies The Book Emporium’s business would thrive.

Social

The Book Emporium is likely to benefit from the rise in online reading culture and digital publication. Apparently, there is a rise in online reading culture in Britain and elsewhere in the world. This implies that The Book Emporium would benefit from the publication of online books. However, The Book Emporium would suffer from an overall decline in a reading culture. According to Morrison (2012), a growing number of people prefer listening to live speeches than reading books. As such, The Market for books is likely to shrink and this would negatively affect The Book Emporium’s business in the long-term.

Technological

The Book Emporium thrives in the United Kingdom where there is sound telecommunication technology. The internet access in the United Kingdom is one of the highest in the world. The prevalence of mobile internet devises in the UK is also one of the highest in the world. Above all, the UK is an industrialized country and stands and acquiring relevant technological assistance to further The Book Emporium’s operations would be easier. As such, The Book Emporium would benefit from the technological advancements in the United Kingdom.

Legal

The UK society has sound legal systems that would enhance fairness in the industry. The Book Emporium’s competitors such as Amazon also operate in western countries where there are sound legal institutions. As such, The Book Emporium is likely to benefit from such sound legal framework if it operates in lawful manner.

Environment

The Book Emporium’s business would be friendly to the environment. Currently, most businesses operate under the guise environmental sustainability. Equally, the international community has come up with a framework that wants to limit greenhouse gas emission and prevalence. Physical books are products of trees and other vegetations. Nonetheless, The Book Emporium’s business strategy is eco-friendly because it relies entirely on online applications. As such, The Book Emporium is likely to earn the heart of environmentally friendly customers.

Possible E-Publishing Platform Strategies for the Book Emporium

NetIS E-Printing Platform  

NetIS™ is the leading e-publishing platform because it has additional applications. NetIS integrates Digital Rights Management (DRM), Web Content Management (WCM), e-commerce tools, and information retrieval into one single platform (CDI Systems Ltd., 2014). With NetIS e-publication platform, the publisher is secure from hackers because the system monitors the online activities all the time (NetIS, 2014). NetIS enhances a secure transition of print material to digital literature. In addition, NetIS offers its clients a secure back-up system that enhances data security. NetIS provides e-publishers with tools that enable one to distribute and sell premium products with ease. NetIS’unique combination of tools and applications would enable the Book Emporium to publish and sell content in at once and make it easy to use. As such, NetIS platform enables the content owners/authors to exploit the World Wide Web (WWW) with little fear of misuse or unauthorized use of the content. As such, The Book Emporium may use NetIS services in most of its operations. This is because NetIS is software that guarantees maximum security; the Book Emporium can also explore the software to minimize costs, efficiency, and safety. For example, one may use NetIS to type, edit, and distribute content with ease.

The NetIS Offline™ is a tool that enables users to operate offline with utmost security. This is in spite of the fact that NetIS offline operations are often at risk from hackers. NetIS has modified its operations to eliminate threats through an administrator interface where the user has control over the security of its operations. In this case, one can easily create an offline platform through online configurations. Apparently, once one has configured and indexed application and NetIS with proper rights, one can easily employ simple wizards on the interface to define the application generator, configuration, look and feel, and security methods among other applications.

As such, The Book Emporium may exploit NetIS offline applications into its business model. In this case, the company would conduct all the book-processing processes such as editing, cover design, and bespoke designs among other utilities on NetIS and import the product on its website for the customers. In this case, one would provide a period in which the process is to take place. After that, the Book Emporium would print the book using its conventional way, publish it online, market and distribute it through its website.

Lulu E-Printing Platform 

Lulu is a self e-publishing platform where it could help The Book Emporium publishes books on behalf of its clients. Lulu helps content owners to self-publish e-books, photo books, and calendars among other literature (Loton, 2010). Lulu would enable The Book Emporium to publish books in different formats to suit different groups of readers. Lulu also offers the ability to use images and various paper types and binding techniques. With Lulu, the author or owner of the content not only owns the content, but also decides about the price at which to sell the product.

Lulu would offer the best e-publishing platforms for the Book Emporium because it lets the user to exploit its diverse applications at his/her wish. First, Lulu.com is primarily a book printer. This implies that the user would be responsible for the majority of the processes involved in the book design. That is, the user of Lulu.com is responsible for writing, copyediting, designing covers and images, distribution, production and promotion. In this way, The Book Emporium may adopt some of Lulu’s services in the design of the book at a low fee and print it elsewhere. This is because Lulu production services are expensive. Apparently, Lulu charges £4.84 for the design of a paperback of a book or £6.05 for a hardback cover. Lulu does not charge any upfront charges because the charges are for those people who print the books with the company. However, The Book Emporium will not rely on Lulu’s printing system because it operates one. In this case, the strategy would involve importing the books to the Book Emporium’s website for the clients to access it.

Adopting and Modifying on Amazon’s Strategies

Amazon’s business model has close resemblance to the strategy proposed for the Book Emporium. Amazon deals in physical books, kindle, and e-books. Amazon’s kindle version enables readers to access books through the tabloid (Amazon, 2014). The Book Emporium may adopt Amazon’s business strategy by publishing and marketing e-books on behalf of its clients. Using NetIS, the Book Emporium may offer e-book sale services for the Book emporium’s clients. For example, The Book Emporium may collaborate with Apple, Kobo, Barnes, and Noble to help content owners publish their books online at a fee. This is because Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo would enhance the book owner’s profit margins relative to their sales (Finder, 2014).

Additional Areas of Improvement and Adoption

The Book Emporium should enhance its capacity through staff training. Studies indicate that organisations become more competitive when they have well trained staff (Smart, & Conant, 2011). The Book Emporium’s staff has little knowledge and training on e-publication business. As such, the training would involve core business areas such as cross-platform publication, digital book cover design, copy editing, online security and security systems among other elements. This would imply that The Book Emporium’s workforce would have to attain adequate training on e-commerce and its utilities. The goal of the training would be to orient the IT department and other employees on better ways of minimizing risks to enhance The Book Emporium’s competitiveness.

The Book Emporium should also higher additional and well-seasoned staff in the IT and production department. The current employees have little knowledge on using digital book design technologies because their operations have been based on the conventional manual publishing and marketing strategies. As such, The Book Emporium should hire additional technologically savvy staff in the information technology section to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the website operations. This is because The Book Emporium’s new website would require excessive use of online tools to protect it as well as enhance its efficiency (Rajaraman, 2009). As such, The Book Emporium would enhance its competitiveness through the adoption of secure online platform.

The Book Emporium should enhance its presence on the social media. According to Hanna, Rohm, & Crittenden (2011), the rise in the use of social media platforms has revolutionized the aspect of advertising and marketing. Indeed, online social-media based marketing is slowly becoming the cheapest form of advertising in the modern age. For example, viral advertising has become the panacea in many instances where users use social media friends to spread information about certain firms, products, events or personalities (Chu, 20110. Viral advertising is common on Twitter and FaceBook. Through the Facebook, people often create a fun page about a given product or issue and requests others to share it with their friends. For example, one may create “The Book Emporium: Excellent E-Publishing and Marketing Platform” fan page. After creating it, one would go ahead to request friends to like or share the page with their friends. In this way, many people come to know about the existence of The Book Emporium and can now conduct internet search about it and its services. At the same time, one may create Twitter account for “The Book Emporium,” twit it or encourage others to follow it on Twitter. Eventually, many people would come to appreciate the existence of the Book Emporium’s website and learn more about the Book Emporium’s services and products through internet research.

In addition, other social media platforms would also prove vital for the Book Emporium. YouTube video based advertisement. Nowadays, smart video advertisers employ video overlay skills to market their products at cheaper cost compared to the conventional advertising (Guo, Mei, Liu, & Hua, 2009). In most instances, one usually overlay a short video advertisement on a popular video song or film to reach out to the target audience. The strategy behind the video overlay advertising is that those who want to sample or read about the video would first watch the ad before proceeding to the sample music video.


Financial Strategy

The Book Emporium should adopt sound and efficient financial strategy. The Book Emporium’s financial strategy should mirror the company’s business model, which happens to apply cross-platform strategies. The current pricing strategy that bases on a 30% flat rate fee on all books sold is the same as that one employed by Apple where the seller of an e-book earns 70% of the price of the book (Finder, 2012). However, Smashwords charges 10% for publishing the book and the retailer gets 30% while the owner of the content gets 60% of the sale proceeds (Finder, 2012). Nonetheless, The Book Emporium’s pricing strategy should not only be competitive, but also enhance an efficient revenue collection.

The Book Emporium should create a platform where e-books that attract little design input, but with marketing, copyediting, publishing, and standard cover design should attract a fee of 20%. Print books that involve the conventional copyediting, design, marketing, and publishing should attract a 30% fee. At the same time, the Book Emporium should offer cover designs for several books at a flat rate of 5% for print versions and 3% for e-books. The Book Emporium would be required to charge its traditional 5% surcharge for book editing. Nonetheless, The Book Emporium would have to use its IT staff to design cover pages other than hiring freelancing services. This is because freelancers are expensive, but localising the design process would enhance the company’s revenues.

Conclusion

The Book Emporium would require several changes to its business to benefit from its planned change in business model. The business model should reflect the business environment and the internal arrangements such as revenue capabilities, staff competitiveness, and the state of the rival business community. The Book Emporium would rely on digital and online technologies which would enhance quality and minimize costs. The company already has a dedicated staff, but also requires adequate staff retention strategies to enhance the organization’s competitiveness. The Book Emporium may use various online publishing platforms that enhance security and efficiency. The company would suffer from additional online piracy. The online business environment and the explosion of e-publishing put the e-publication in uncertain position because the competition is stiff. NetIS would be the appropriate online publishing platform for the Book Emporium because it provides secure online publication platform.

Nonetheless, the Book Emporium may employ the use of cross-platform services by exploiting online platforms services such as Lulu and importing the final product on its website. The Book Emporium should further explore the social media advertising to minimize costs because social media is cheaper. The Book Emporium should adopt various pricing benchmarks to enhance its efficiency. The pricing policy should be different in compliance with the various services offered by the company. Lastly, the company should enhance its competitiveness through hiring IT professional, train the current staff, and advance a staff retention policy.

 

 

References

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