Which digital formats and platforms to convert to... pdf, ePub, Kindle, etc..
Lipton (2014) in his study assessed the current norms of the digital printing industry with focus on publishing and copyrights in America and European Union. He reveals that popular eBook formats are few rounding up in single digit figures. In case of United States, the industry frontlines such as Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble are quite open to their users in order to pave way for easier reading. Due to this simplistic idea, the nuisance of multiple file formats to be used is cut down as most book readers don't like to shift from one file format to another. It's just too much nuisance and hassle for a reader.
In case of European Union, he adds that the digital eBook market is slowly growing as publishers are indulged in different file formats; working between their advantages and disadvantages. The file formats are a problem in case of Europe where companies use some particular file formats and not others. Hence file formats play a significant role in case of Europe digital market (Lipton, 2014). At this point in time, PDF and ePub are widely used book formats for digital media. Parent Press Inc. should concentrate on both of them.
List of recommended suppliers, lead times and costs per book?
Mithas et al. (2013) assesses the competitive digital market and argues that the digital market certainly impacts the conventional value chain and profit models of any book market (Mithas et al., 2013). This is true as we have seen on occasions that big companies like Apple and Google enter an industry and completely ruin the market's established names. Old companies are seen shutting down as new ones replace them. Mithas asserts that digital "firms are unlikely to consider the noisy industry norm worth emulating because of competition coming from different industries, changing identity of players in the industry, and more frequent entry and exits (pg: 517)."
The digital book publishing is spearheading strongly due to the fact that sales are rising and consumer's interest in them. The impact of digital publishing is evident in USA where Barnes and & Noble as vested interests in both eBooks and hardware sales. On the other hand, Kindle is going strong with hardware, software and electronic reader devices with its own variety of options.
Half of the digital media thinks that a price cut down is necessary in comparison to paperback books in order to jumpstart the business. The publishers think in order to kick start this digital market, the rates of the books should be less. Mithas continues, "Firms may tend to diverge from the industry norm as a means of differentiating their competitive positions. Just as firms maintain their competitive positioning through differentiation in prices, quality, and/or services (pg: 516)"
Trivedi in his review of eBook industry asserts that the book publishers have their own reasons of keeping the price of books relevant to the price of a real book. The publishers have to pay up the production of electronic books. In addition, they also have to deal with, "providing notice to consumers of licensing terms, developing branding of their content, and promoting access to that content" (pg 955). Another reason for rising eBook costs are both demand and quantity of ebooks. As Trivedi (2011) writes, "Both the demand for, and cost of, e-books rose dramatically from 2002 to 2008, which is likely due to the fact that there are now many more e-books available (pg 950)."
He further adds that the amount of electronic devices can increase in the market as the purchasing of eBooks is on the rise, deeming that electronic devices are bought solely for reading purposes. But some publishers think that a certain design of models can become a nuisance for attaining success. Some problems with Digital Rights Management (DRM) issues exist, which include writer's fees and sorting out other legal formalities (Trivedi, 2011).
Therefore, the list of recommended suppliers for Parent Press is the top digital publishing companies including Apple, Barnes and Noble and Amazon along with individual writers and other smaller publishing firms. The cost of books should be decided, keeping in mind the highly competitive environment, writer royalties, VATs, other legal formalities as well as the cost of the paperback version of the book.
What quality assurance measures need to be put in place?
The eBooks are changing the face of the book industry. For all parties at work, it's a huge undertaking, but the optimists, like Trivedi (2011) think that the current direction, with a little alteration, is good to go. The reason behind this is that, every company can step into the digital market after establishing a solid foundation and that they can lose sufficient share and profits if they don't step into the digital market (Trivedi, 2011). At this time, the primary task for Parent Press Inc. is to prevent making the same mistakes as the music industry did as warned by Trivedi in his study on DRM and digital publishing industry.
Therefore, a new business model will be needed with a broader variety of content and necessary details about copyright. For meeting these challenges successfully, Parent Press Inc. should adjust their business processes. In order to combine the content with proper care, the editors will need to familiarize themselves with an eBook. The legal department should work on the digital model a bit and design fee structures adjusting the change. Parent Press Inc. should also be focusing a lot more on content providing services as well. Hence the employees should be toying with these ideas as they build on it and fortify the model.
2. Strategic advice on deciding which backlist titles to convert
Which criteria should they use to prioritize the conversion of their backlist?
Production planning is the key due to intense competition and lack of resources. Khaledi and Reisi-Nafchi (2013) in their study found that most digital production houses have come to appreciate Digital Production Planning as it helps out in designing the best possible strategy. Parent Press Inc. should adopt the following backlist production and conversion strategy. The company should aim to do all backlist conversions together at-once and do them in a cost effective manner. In order to achieve this goal, Electric Book Works. (2014) points out that short-listing of key titles they feel are financially lucrative and whose returns on investment (ROI) are higher needs to be carried out. These shortlisted titles should be converted to eBooks using their in-house resources. For the less lucrative titles, Parent-Press should leave the conversions to Google Books and allow them to handle the conversions. This may end up dividing the future revenues earned from those eBooks as Google will retain and earn subsidiary rights as well. However, since Parent-Press does not pay for the conversions, this strategy to outsource lesser lucrative titles to Google may be worth the effort (Electric Book Works, 2014).
3. Guidance on where and how to sell the eBooks
Can they sell the eBooks on their own website, if so how?
In case of Parent Press Inc. selling eBooks can be very lucrative for that matter but of course there are some pros and cons alongside. Kenner in his study asserts, "We all want it -- a website, a comment feed, a place for people to connect, and now, social media buttons, too -- but how do we get there? Miles stand between a vision for digital infrastructure and a functioning platform." The functioning platform in this case is a fully functional website that fulfills all the current trends.
Tian and Martin (2011) in their study on market forces that can impact eBooks business make their case by asking companies to be innovative in their digital publishing approach. They assert, "At the end of the day, no matter how cutting edge the technology or how innovative the marketing campaign, unless companies have a business model that delivers a competitive product or service to consumers and results in profitability, there is no point in being in business. It is clear that the publishing industry should be working as hard as it can to develop new and innovative business models that meet the needs of readers (pg; 237)."
They point out that suppliers need to be selective in choosing which books to sell with DRM rights. This is because DRM can turn out to be pricey for an average eBook. They argue that one way to prevent this situation is not to apply DRM on these eBooks. This can actually be profitable in other ways as well, as one can sell all forms of files such as Kindle and ePub files (Tian and Martin, 2011). Another way to make a successful eBook selling website as indicated by Tian and Martin is to allow users to create their own personal accounts so returning customers can easily buy and download books from the website (Tian and Martin, 2011).