In an era where continuous information bombardment has become the order of the day, books serve as a tiny oasis of knowledge, enigma, and depth. Not only do they work wonders in reducing stress, enhancing knowledge, and improving vocabulary, but they also provide an excellent opportunity for mental stimulation and cognitive engagement.
However, despite the numerous benefits that books have to offer, the publishing industry that powers their production, continues to face a plethora of unprecedented challenges. Small and medium publishers have to consistently grapple with issues like inadequate financial access, high transaction costs, low R&D expenditure, and lack of market information. Consequently, the growth and development of the Indian publishing industry have remained stagnated at around $2 billion since 2012.
As a small publisher, therefore, if you want to expand your network and enhance your revenues, you would first need to identify and delineate the specific challenges that your publishing house faces. It is only then that you would be able to formulate a well-equipped redressal strategy.
Top 6 Common Challenges Faced by Small and Medium Sized Digital Publishers
1. Changing Demands
With changing times, the demands of readers as well as authors are undergoing a significant transformation. While readers are becoming more focused, organized, and tech-savvy, authors are looking to create interactive, customized content. Small publishers, however, are not able to keep pace with these ever-changing demands. In order to cater to them, publishers will have to work towards improving their functionalities, developing interactive applications, and creating multimedia content.
2. Inconsistent Revenues
The financial models of small and medium publishers that used to work quite efficiently before are simply not relevant anymore. The benefits of financial access are now being largely accrued by large enterprises whereas small publishers are left to fend for themselves. This inconsistency has dealt a fatal blow to the modern publishing business. For correcting this scenario, publishers will have to diversify their channels of financing, smoothen their accounting processes and conduct a detailed credit risk analysis. Doing so will enable them to streamline their costs.
3. Digital Disruption
The emergence of the digital era has unleashed a variety of new possibilities – especially in the publishing sector. More and more readers are now shifting to the online space. Small and medium publishers, nevertheless, have not been able to match up to this digital disruption. Instead, they have become its unintended victims! If SMEs aim to survive and adapt to the future, they will need to transform the way they create, channelize, and distribute content. The opportunities that arrive with digital infrastructure will have to be availed so that the entire publishing business can be reoriented to suit the contemporary needs, demands, and requirements.
4. Lack of Know-How
The publishing industry, as it exists today, suffers a major ‘know-how’ crisis. Be it in terms of technology, networks, staff, market, information, or access – the lack of proper knowledge, skill, and expertise is literally glaring. To top it, small publishers have very little experience of dealing with domestic or international markets that exist outside their domain. The only credible way to resolve this problem is for SMEs to invest in developing in-house capabilities. In the absence of these, such publishers will only end up flailing through the choppy waters of modern publishing.
5. Royalty Management
For small and medium publishers, appropriate royalty management has also turned out to be a major challenge. The legal documents that define the complex partnership between copyright owners and publishers need to be well-defined. Furthermore, the relationship between intellectual property rights holders and supply chain partners too has to be classified in a diligent and adroit way. Most SMEs do not focus on this aspect, thus rendering their businesses vulnerable to legal challenges. By making sure that royalties are managed in time and all legal facets are clearly delineated in the contract, any such issue can easily be avoided.
6. Increased Competition
Last but not the least, many small publishers, as they function today, have to bear the brunt of increased market competition. Such competition primarily exists because economic integration and globalization have collectively caused many multinational companies to enter new markets. As a result, SMEs in the publishing sector are left to endure many cut-throat rivalries. While this appears to be a tough situation to get out of, the truth is – it is not! Publishers, across the board, just need to make one small change in their operations – they need to specialize! By developing specialized niches in their publications, small and medium publishers would be able to fulfill consumer demands and still stand up to the competition.
To Sum Up
As the world of manual publishing steadily begins to take a step back while being replaced by digital technology, small and medium publishers, across the world, will continue to face a multitude of challenges. Be it inefficient revenue models, limited sponsorship options, unsuitable delivery channels, or restricted staffing requirements – publishers who’ll prefer to stick to their age-old guns, will certainly not be able to keep up.
In such a difficult scenario, the only way for the publishing industry in general and small publishers in particular, to survive, would be by identifying their specific challenges and rectifying them with the assistance of modern tools and techniques. Doing so would enable them to adapt well, perform better, and thus, keep their businesses thriving.
So, what are you waiting for? Get down to addressing every common challenge coming your way and gain a decisive edge over your competitors now!
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