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Poster: Bharatbook Date: May 24, 2008 1:55am
Forum: toronto Subject: World Outlook for Books 2006-2011 : Bharatbook.com

This study covers the world outlook for books across more than 200 countries. For each year reported, estimates are given for the latent demand, or potential industry earnings (P.I.E.), for the country in question (in millions of U.S. dollars), the percent share the country is of the region and of the globe. These comparative benchmarks allow the reader to quickly gauge a country vis-à-vis others. Using econometric models which project fundamental economic dynamics within each country and across countries, latent demand estimates are created. This report does not discuss the specific players in the market serving the latent demand, nor specific details at the product level. The study also does not consider short-term cyclicalities that might affect realized sales. The study, therefore, is strategic in nature, taking an aggregate and long-run view, irrespective of the players or products involved.

This study does not report actual sales data (which are simply unavailable, in a comparable or consistent manner in virtually all of the 230 countries of the world). This study gives, however, my estimates for the worldwide latent demand, or the P.I.E., for books. It also shows how the P.I.E. is divided across the world’s regional and national markets. For each country, I also show my estimates of how the P.I.E. grows over time (positive or negative growth). In order to make these estimates, a multi-stage methodology was employed that is often taught in courses on international strategic planning at graduate schools of business.

What is Latent Demand and the P.I.E.?

The concept of latent demand is rather subtle. The term latent typically refers to something that is dormant, not observable, or not yet realized. Demand is the notion of an economic quantity that a target population or market requires under different assumptions of price, quality, and distribution, among other factors. Latent demand, therefore, is commonly defined by economists as the industry earnings of a market when that market becomes accessible and attractive to serve by competing firms. It is a measure, therefore, of potential industry earnings (P.I.E.) or total revenues (not profit) if a market is served in an efficient manner. It is typically expressed as the total revenues potentially extracted by firms. The “market” is defined at a given level in the value chain. There can be latent demand at the retail level, at the wholesale level, the manufacturing level, and the raw materials level (the P.I.E. of higher levels of the value chain being always smaller than the P.I.E. of levels at lower levels of the same value chain, assuming all levels maintain minimum profitability).

The latent demand for artists’ chalk and crayons, modeling clay and other modeling material, tempera colors, fingerpaint, block printing ink, and watercolors excluding drawing and India ink is not actual or historic sales. Nor is latent demand future sales. In fact, latent demand can be lower either lower or higher than actual sales if a market is inefficient (i.e., not representative of relatively competitive levels). Inefficiencies arise from a number of factors, including the lack of international openness, cultural barriers to consumption, regulations, and cartel-like behavior on the part of firms. In general, however, latent demand is typically larger than actual sales in a country market.

For reasons discussed later, this report does not consider the notion of “unit quantities”, only total latent revenues (i.e., a calculation of price times quantity is never made, though one is implied). The units used in this report are U.S. dollars not adjusted for inflation (i.e., the figures incorporate inflationary trends) and not adjusted for future dynamics in exchange rates (i.e., the figures reflect average exchange rates over recent history). If inflation rates or exchange rates vary in a substantial way compared to recent experience, actually sales can also exceed latent demand (when expressed in U.S. dollars, not adjusted for inflation). On the other hand, latent demand can be typically higher than actual sales as there are often distribution inefficiencies that reduce actual sales below the level of latent demand.

As mentioned in the introduction, this study is strategic in nature, taking an aggregate and long-run view, irrespective of the players or products involved. If fact, all the current products or services on the market can cease to exist in their present form (i.e., at a brand-, R&D specification, or corporate-image level) and all the players can be replaced by other firms (i.e., via exits, entries, mergers, bankruptcies, etc.), and there will still be an international latent demand for artists’ chalk and crayons, modeling clay and other modeling material, tempera colors, fingerpaint, block printing ink, and watercolors excluding drawing and India ink at the aggregate level. Product and service offering details, and the actual identity of the players involved, while important for certain issues, are relatively unimportant for estimates of latent demand.

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