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How Does the Publishing Industry Work?

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Identification

  • The publishing industry is a huge field made up of a variety of venues. Newspapers, magazines, greeting cards, calendars, directories and books are some of the publications within the field. In spite of this vast array, the industry itself is primarily owned by a number of large corporations, many of which own multiple publications. Magazine and book publishers, in particular, are oftentimes purchased in clusters by one company.

    Over half of book publishers’ inventory is made up of scientific, technical and professional titles as these are the most marketable. The remainder is comprised of paperbacks, mail order, reference books and book club titles. Business-to-business and trade-consumer magazines are the two types of magazine publishers within the industry. These vary in size and scope depending on the type of financial backing in place.

Function

  • Regardless of the type of publication, there are only so many ways to bring a publication to press. As such, most publications follow the same procedures within their publishing process. Gathering content is the first order of business across the board. This task is typically handled by an editorial department, which determines what kinds of material to include. From there, staff writers, photographers and artists prepare the content.

    Once editorial staff gather and review the needed content, the next step is determining how to design or lay out the finished product. Newspapers and magazines follow a predetermined layout, allotting so much space for advertisements, content and images. Book publishers may have a predetermined format; however, most book orders are customized.

    As far as revenue generation goes, book, greeting card and calendar publications profit from product sales, whereas magazine, newspaper and directory publications make the bulk of their profit from advertising revenue. This involves local or nationally based businesses purchasing ad space within a publication to get more exposure for their products.

Sales & Marketing

  • Meeting market demands and expanding an existing market base are essential functions within the publishing industry. The larger publications typically have publicity, marketing or circulation departments set up to handle marketing and sales. Demographic data and market trends are studied in order to be able to present the publication in the best possible light.

    The actual distribution of a publication can be carried out in a number of ways depending on delivery schedules, intermediary needs and product type. Book publishers typically ship to distribution warehouses or directly to retailers. Because newspapers are delivered on a frequent basis, the number of distribution outlets can vary depending on the size of the company. Distribution warehouses, newsstands and individual carriers may all play a part in getting the publication to the customer.

How to Write an Industry Analysis

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An industry analysis is a component of the business plan that provides statistics about the market potential of your business, product and services. This section contains specific information about the current state of the industry and target market and might contain reference materials such as spreadsheets, pie charts and bar graphs to represent the data.

Instructions

  1. Begin with an overview of the industry. Provide statistics and historical data about the nature of the industry and growth potential for your business based on economic factors and conditions. This section should not be longer than eight lines.
  2. List the major competitors in your industry with a brief summary of their operations and similar products or services. This section can be broken down into sections, with three to four lines per business.
  3. Summarize the nature of the industry. Include specific information and statistics about growth patterns, fluctuations related to the economy and income projections made about the industry.
  4. Provide a forecast for your industry. Compile economist data and industry predictions for the next five, 10 and 20 years. This may include graphs of statistical data to better convey the message.
  5. Identify government regulations that affect the industry. Include any recent laws pertaining to your industry and any licenses or authorization you would need to conduct business in your target market. This section may include information about fees and costs involved.
  6. Explain your company’s position within the industry. Include information from your Competitive Analysis and Unique Selling Proposition as well as data for direct and indirect competition. This section can be as long as one-quarter page and may be supported by graphs, charts and tables.
  7. List potential stumbling blocks. Write a brief paragraph about factors that might negatively impact your business and what you foresee in the short-term and long-term future.