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Problem Solution: Harrison-Keyes Inc

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Introduction

Harrison-Keyes was founded in 1899 and made its early money publishing the works of literary giants. Throughout the years, the company's focus shifted to meet demand and by the mid-1950s, it was regarded as a leading publisher of business, scientific and technical information (University of Phoenix, 2007).

A global publisher of print products, Harrison-Keyes specializes in scientific, technical and business books and journals, professional and consumer books, textbooks and other educational materials for all levels of study. The company holds about 22,700 active titles and publishes about 2000 new titles each year. Harrison-Keyes has suffered the woes plaguing the entire industry. As competition from low-cost retailers eats into profits, publishing companies are finding success or even survival a challenge (University of Phoenix, 2007).

Issue and Opportunity Identification

The first issue is overseas outsourcing to cut down on some costs. There are certain areas of outsourcing business that need consistent attention. Concentrating on these areas will greatly increase control over the course of the outsourced project. The main attraction of outsourcing is its cost benefit element. However, cost is a very deceptive phenomenon. Companies might offer to do projects at very low costs, but there are chances of the initial cost running into a much higher overall cost. To avoid this risk, Harrison Keyes must analyze the scope and price right at the beginning of the project and arrive at a reasonable consensus on cost (Chilli Breeze, 2007).

The second issue is buy-in with customers when it comes to e-book technology. There are several models of e-books ranging from commercial e-books, and print-on-demand. In addition to these, there are agent vendors who package on-line journals, books and sell the database to industry bodies and universities with a mark-up over their cost, incurred for procuring rights. These costs would vary depending on whether the vendor has procured exclusive rights or has to share them with a competitor (Chilli Breeze, 2007).

Another interesting model is the "print-on-demand" (POD) model, which is a mix of electronic and print publishing. The book is held by the publisher in electronic form and is printed out in the hard copy form only on order. This is also done for a flat fee (Chilli Breeze, 2007).

The third problem is e-commerce software. E-commerce is a progressively impressive trend, a wave revolutionizing business and a door-way to imminent virtual presence beyond all frontiers. E-commerce is the beginning of building a global image by launching products to a fresh customer base without the need of new stores, additional employees or rapid inventory growth (Chilli Breeze, 2007).

The last issue is the economics of e-books. Harrison-Keyes might save costs associated with paper, printing and distribution, but if they want to put out quality content, they must continue to incur fairly high costs in terms of the editorial and technical staff. To capture the true value that e-books can deliver, Harrison-Keyes has to choose the business model that enables them to cast a wider net and garner more customers to cover total cost such that each customer need pay for a smaller fraction of the total (Chilli Breeze, 2007).

Some advantages of e-books are as follows: E-books has spun the information delivery model on its head to allow for information, in formats like books, journals, newsletters, magazines and research papers, to be distributed faster, better and most important, in a dynamic and interactive way. Perhaps the biggest advantages of e-books are the cost saving in printing and paper as well as better data storage and maintenance (Chilli Breeze, 2007).

The industry is in the toddler stage and by its very nature, allows for different kinds of players to be part of it. After all, if Harrison-Keyes were to break it down to the basic building blocks, anyone with a decently updated computer, quality network connection and some publishing software can publish information, replete with graphics and sound at a fraction of the cost the print publisher would incur (Chilli Breeze, 2007).

Frame the "Right" Problem

The problem that Harrison-Keys are facing is copyright protection. Harrison-Keys will put out the titles that have the strongest demand. On the other hand, Harrison-Keys are also reluctant to put out those titles in e-book formats because of copyright protection issues. Some of the best e-book readers (Adobe Acrobat and MSReader) do not have foolproof built-in copy protection. (Although Adobe does have some, as does MSReader version 2). This means that the-books can be copied and distributed freely (21st Century Publishing, June 30, 2005).

Harrison-Keys fears leads to the development of yet more proprietary software and formats that make it difficult for readers to easily access titles. The availability issues are a large part of the problem. Readers are loyal to the format they like. Given a choice in print books most customers will forego the hardback in favor of the trade paperback. And if the paperback is cheaper, well, there is no contest (21st Century Publishing, June 30, 2005).

Describe the "End-State" Vision

Harrison-Keys must focus on the issue of copyright protection. Copyright protection is any technical measure designed to prevent duplication of information. Copy protection is often emotionally debated, and is thought to sometimes infringe on some users' property rights: for example, the legal right to make a backup copy of a videotape they have purchased, to install and use computer software on multiple computers, or to upload their music into their digital audio player for easier access and listening. Harrison-Keys must insure that its uses any security measures to insure the privacy of its writers and its company (Computing Unplugged Magazine, 2007).

Harrison-Keys must focus on its customer and provide them with the benefits of e-books. Some of the benefits are e-books format offers readers even more benefits over traditional paper books. E-books can be read in a variety of lighting situations, such as on the bus, during nighttime road trips, or in bed when the person reading does not to disturb there partner. The wonderful thing about e-books is that it takes up virtually no room, in both a physical and digital sense. In many situations it is hard to carry even one book around. The storage abilities of most e-books allow readers to carry a reasonable collection of reading materials and/or reference texts. Because most people probably have a laptop with them, the convenience factor increases nearly exponentially (Computing Unplugged Magazine,

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