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Since 1995 the book industry has been taking on a brave new endeavor into unchartered territory; it continues on this path in the wake of strong online book stores. The very large bricks and mortar book stores are taking on a new approach to the way they market and sale their product. After all, it is one of the oldest forms of consumer products that follows and even older business model. Ideas and paper carried messages far and wide, but the revolution of the printing press brought forth a wider and faster spread of thought and information through a medium that is still around today. The vehicle by which the masses gather and form strong bonds through thoughts and ideas is still alive today and going through another revolution. Not since the arrival of the printing press in the 15th century has the publishing world gone through such profound change. Before the invention of the printing press, it might have taken a year or more for someone to hand copy a Bible. (Risk & Insurance 2007) The discussion of selling books under the old and new business models cannot be discussed without mentioning copyright and digital editions, or e-books. The compare and contrast of the old and new models coupled with the change in two of the more basic processes of marketing and selling books will better form an understanding of why the Internet has changed the way book companies approach a new business venture or expand an existing one and compete in an ever evolving market.
The old business model of advertising a great book started with a great publisher getting your name out there and setting up book signings and rudimentarily displaying the author’s work through simple display stands in the windows of small book stores. Today, little has changed in that way, but these activities are simply being done on a larger scale through very large chain book stores who have greater visibility. They still use radio, television, and work of mouth to advertise and promote books. Despite this tried and old business model things are a changin’ and [the book as well as the very concept of the how the printed word is produced and distributed is changing dramatically.](The Challenge of Change: 2007) Today we see book stores following a very different tune. They’ve become “meta” oriented and aimed at a more demanding consumer.
Innovations in information technology, which have fostered the possibility of new types of computer-mediated commerce (i.e., e-commerce) (The Challenge of Change 2007) The new model of marketing and selling books is based on Internet super stores such as Amazon who make inventory, distribution, and advertisement very competitive for businesses such as Barns & Noble. They’re literally at the fingertips of consumers and they no longer rely on old models to get their products advertised and marketed. Considering the rise of the network society, with its flow of information and money, where all kinds of digital media content are sold and spread through the networks, it was only a matter of time before someone started to tear the vast quantities of content of books out of their printed paper pages and attempted to generate income in the networks of the new economy. (Introducing the E-book question 2007) Taking consideration for a new approach on selling books you will most surely address an entire host of concerns, the biggest one is copyright.
Copyright is more precious than gold. It protects the author or originator of the work. It ensures the integrity of that work, and further binds its safe beginnings to its safe end. Unfortunately, under the new business model of book selling there is “one problem it (the new technology) is creating is it makes it more difficult for publishers to protect their work product, their intellectual property, particularly their copyrights,” says Chad Milton, senior vice president, national practice leader for media liability with broker Marsh & McLennan. “The stuff is so readily copyable by others.” (Risk & Insurance 2007) The old business model challenges the way the new model is protecting intellectual property. The failure of the new model to address this issue will always loom over the digital roofs of Amazon. Taking the information and converting it into digital format is a legal challenge, but not much of a technical one.
E-books have been mainstreamed for some time now and are on the heels of hardback books. This new method of making available large amounts of books to consumers is making it exceedingly more difficult for book stores to carry large inventories. Book publishers struggle to determine how to make money in this new digital world. They fret that traditional sales models don’t work, and technologies like e-books seem to give away their treasures.locks (Book Industry Takes Lessons 2007) Technology isn’t solving the greater consumer woes of e-books under this new model approach. It’s making a full return on your investment when you can take your physical product, a book, and highlight and mark the pages that ebooks doesn’t allow.
As the book industry begins to prepare itself for an even greater task of reinventing themselves and an extremely old product using an even older business model, they must come to terms with the idea that all good things come to an end. Books will always change and not only do their pages, but the way they are pushed through the masses. The Internet vehicle is always moving and changing creating extremely dynamic and sometimes volatile environments for business models in the physical world. If these book selling corporations can’t redefine their processes, then they are doomed to the pages of history.
References
Introducing the E-book Question. Retrieved September 30, 2007 from
http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:ylBES3APjsYJ:www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue6 _10/hillesund/index.html+5+ways+book+industry+changed&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=us
Book Industry Takes Lessons from Napster. Retrieved September 30, 2007 from
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,40602-page,1/article.html
Risk & Insurance Retrieved September 30, 2007 from
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BJK/is_14_16/ai_n15794196/pg_2
The Challenge of Change: A Consideration of the Canadian Book Industry Retrieved September 30, 2007 from
http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/committee/362/heri/reports/rp1031737/heri01/05-ch1-e.html