Electronic "publishing" has enabled consumers to download files to either a personal computer or an e-book viewer to read text in a digital format as opposed to the traditional book printed text. The advantages to the publishing industry over the traditional printed book (p-book) include reduced printing/supply chain costs and reduced time to market through streamlined editing, proofing, and printing processes. Binding, distribution and shipping are eliminated. Revisions are simple. The need for physical bookstores and inventories are eliminated. Thus, the entire supply chain is shortened. Writers can now post directly to a publishing Web- site. Readability is enhanced and multimedia is possible. Usability for consumers is increased through hypertext links.
Depositing e-books in personal libraries on the Internet allows 24/7 access and enhances portability. Out-of-print books become available, and are immediately downloadable. Searchability exists and consumers have the flexibility to download (and pay for) a single page, a chapter or several volumes. Space, physical damage and depreciation are no longer issues for either producers or consumers. User feedback and input give authors and producers quick and increased information about the market and the Web gives immediate access to international markets. Finally, the e-book expands possibilities for persons with disabilities by enabling large text formats and text-to-audio synchronization of e-books.
On the other hand, disadvantages accrue to many stakeholders along the publishing supply chain. Disadvantages include the presently relatively high cost to the consumer, if an e-book viewer or other reader device technology is required, publishers investing in new information technologies and lobbying for changes in federal and international regulations to protect the new digitized formats and mediums and dramatic strategic changes in business models for publishing houses to accommodate multiple distribution channels which include the Internet. Although there is a growing industry of e-book authors, publishers and bookstores, the lack the content presents a barrier to growth and profitability. The cause is attributed in large part to the lack of adequate copyright (content) protection in digitized content mediums such as e-books and the Web. Content providers are reluctant to make digitized content readily available until technology can provide adequate protections. The strategic changes necessary for effective on supply chain management in the publishing industry, with specific focus on e-books and "print on demand" requires that issues such as technology and technology regulations be addressed before larger gains can be attained.
The Strategic Use of Information Technology in the Transformation of the Publishing Industry on a Single Distribution Channel Mass Producer of Printed Books to Multiple Distribution Channels
The phenomenon of "disruptive technology" was first identified in Clayton Christensen's book The Innovator's Dilemma. (Christensen, 1997) Christensen found that neither mismanagement nor rapid technological progress was to blame in certain industry failures. Rather, the companies he studied failed to deviate from traditional principles of management, such as listening to customers and focusing on product improvements that appealed to higher tiers of their respective supply chains. Christensen found that entrant companies content to establish themselves in lower market tiers tended to succeed in the management of new and initially inferior technologies. A common theme among the disruptive company failures were those that promoted a technology that did not appeal to an established firm's current customers because it typically promises worse performance according to the metrics that existing customers value. In contrast to disruptive technologies, there were those he identified as sustaining. …