Walker & Company Case Study

Great Essays
The global book publishing industry earned a revenue of $80 billion in the year 1996, with over $25 billion accruing to the US market. The books were published for 3 segments; educational market, professional market and the general public known as the trade segment. Walker & Company were a part of the trade segment and this category was further classified into 4 groups:
1. Large publishers that covered almost all segments:
These achieved economies of scale in marketing, sales and distribution.
Examples include Hyperion, Disney Press (Disney), Little Brown (Time Warner), Harper Collins (New Corporation); Simon & Schuster (Viacom) and Bantam Doubleday Dell (Bertellsman).
2. Medium sized publishers that specialized in one segment:
This segment
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New Distribution Channels:
The internet emerged as one of the most successful channels of distribution by listing Amazon.com as one of the top book sites on the internet. Not only did it allow the customers to reach out to a large collection of books in a more efficient manner but it also provided access to those who previously could not access certain books or were not interested in books. This allowed expansion of the market and capturing the market share of other modes of distribution. Other new emerging channels included discount stores and warehouse clubs.
Walker & Company was a medium sized book publisher founded in 1959 by Mr Walker (late) and is now majorly owned by his 3 sons, Ramsey, Sloan & Tim with Ramsey taking over as the chairman of the company after his father’s death. The company employed 31 employees and 45 commissioned sales employees & was one of the few companies which had survived the industry over the past 35 years. The day Ramsey took over the company; he noticed several issues in the company that needed to be resolved.
Firstly, although the company was relatively small, it published a vast number of titles, that is, 150 new titles every year across 20 different segments with a total of 1000 active
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While large publishers enjoyed a 15% ROA, Ramsey set a 10% ROA goal for his company. Additionally, he wanted to set free cash flow goals based to decreasing working capital.
 Editorial Segments of Walker & Company:
After the major transformations brought about in the company in 1991, the company published 100 new trade books a year in 5 segments:
1. Non Fiction: Walker released 20 new titles a year in hardcover & paperback including health, baseball, history and humor. These were mainly sold to bookstores and required immense publicity. Longitude was a part of this segment.
2. Mystery: Walker released 20-24 new titles annually in hardcover only & these were sold to public libraries and few specialty stores.
3. Westerns: Walker published 6-8 new historical western titles a year in hardcover and these were sold to public libraries only.
4. Religious & Inspirational: Walker published 14-17 new titles only in paperback and were sold to religious book retailers and wholesalers.
5. Children’s Book: Walker printed 25-30 hardcovers and 5-8 paperbacks in this category and these were sold to general and specialized retail book stores, wholesalers and

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