Digital Think Tank Proposal (Scenario: Harlequin and Harper Collins)
Technology is the single most important business driver (Ronte 2). The influence that technology has had over the last half a century is immense. In using computer networks, mobile phone platforms, virtual stores and all the applicable technologies, the linkage between businesses and their prospective clients is now streamlined. One of the industries that have experienced a real overhaul is the publishing industry. According to Ronte, technology has triggered what is referred to as a "disruptive impact" on publishing (1). The disruptive nature of these technologies is the Internet, the print-on-demand technologies, and the greatest of them all, the e-book. The paper at hand looks at the current situations that are evident in the publishing that have impacted publishing and led to the growth of technology that in turn greatly influenced consumer behavior. The case in point is the Harlequin-Harper Collins merger/take-over.
Specifically, Harlequin, a formerly independent publishing house specialized in romance literature is now part of a larger Harper Collins publishing house but is still seen as an independent wing. The major problem is that as a wing, Harlequin is facing real problems currently crippling the romance literature publishing sector as whole. First, there is the challenge of reaching out to down new consumers, the decline of physical book clubs, and the challenge of implementing an ideal e-commerce model and lastly, the emergence and subsequent rise of self-publishing outfits.
The publishing industry dilemma faced by Harlequin (a romance publishing wing at Harper Collins, is not a new one and hence there are several workable solutions that have been applied by other similar parties, all of which have led to greater success. Ronte looks at the various technologies that have impacted publishing and proposes that the way to success is through a concerted effort towards applicable tweaks on all individual components of the publishing value chain (1-2). In doing so, he urges the publishing houses to change the way books are published by cutting down the business process and allowing the books to come from the publisher to the reader directly. The only way that this can be made a reality is through the distribution through electronic marketplaces selling to retailers and institutions like schools and libraries as a way to link up with consumers.
The need for such a measure is necessitated by the changing behavior of consumers more than any other aspect. Today, consumers are more gravitated towards using gadgets like tablet PCs, e-book readers, smartphones and other technologically advanced tools to read books. In this case, Harlequin must, therefore, make sure that it reaches out to these consumers with these technologies in mind. Next, this researcher recommends the use of online means in the creation of book clubs using various means that may include social media platforms and smartphone applications. In this way, the publishing house will be in a position to introduce a new concept of …