What's the real value in the publishing business? For years, you might have thought it was books - paperback and hardcovers - and maybe some ancillary products. The value in publishing has to do with stories and information, or intellectual property. Stories have been shared for hundreds of years; it's only relatively recently that businesses were founded to capture economic value from them. That economic value came in the form of physical books. As the physical nature of books has changed, the nature of publishing has changed and companies are adapting to survive.

If the real value for publishers is in intellectual property, are there other ways to deliver it? Random House recently launched a television division, describing it as an extension to the relationship they have with their writers. The company started a film division in 2005. Macmillan and other publishing houses have done the same. These companies considered the value in their businesses - which is not the same as products - and looked for alternative ways to deliver it. What can other businesses learn from their decisions?

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