The job opportunities in the library and information science field are becoming increasingly difficult and this paper aims to prepare the library science professionals to explore the entrepreneurial opportunities in this field. This paper identifies the various entrepreneurial opportunities for the budding library science professionals associated with Library and Information Science field. Also this paper stresses to introduce the entrepreneurship as an elective subject in the curricula so that the library science professionals may chose new avenues in the field and may contribute to the economy growth of the country.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Business Opportunities, Librapreneurship, Librapreneurs, Library and Information Science Professionals.
Librarianship as a profession provides a variety of employment opportunities. Most of the library science professionals (LIS) choose employment for their career prospects. The employment avenues in the library field are limited and the number of graduating LIS professionals are increasing year by year and hence the unemployment increasing rapidly in the library and information science field. Due to unemployment in LIS field, few LIS professionals are forced to migrate to other jobs. Also the IT professionals are also encroaching into this field which is a threatening to the LIS as a career profession.
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To retain the LIS professionals in the same field and to serve Library field, there is an urgent need to explore the alternative to the LIS jobs. The best and alternate solution would be entrepreneurship, where LIS professionals may start a venture in the library and information science field and become budding entrepreneurs which shall be coined as Librapreneurs.
Entrepreneurship as a Career
Entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly popular alternative career choice in the current economic slowdown. It can play a major role in alleviating poverty, unemployment and underemployment. The LIS graduates who have burning desire to make profession as a hobby and aim to accomplish, build an enterprise, wish to be independent, enjoy freedom and challenges in this field may opt entrepreneurship as a career and become a Librapreneur. To become a successful Librapreneur, one has to work hard, has a strong vision and mission, determination, need to dedicate long hours and endless energy.
A LIS professional who interested in starting a venture in library and information science field should posses the following entrepreneurial competencies which are a combination of knowledge, skills and appropriate motives or traits that an individual should posses to perform a given task (Jain, 1998):
Concern for High Quality of Work
Commitment to Work Contract
Use of Influence Strategies
These soft skills shall underlie characteristics of a person which result in effective and superior performance of a job. Competencies may be hard and soft, but they can see in successful entrepreneurs. These competencies can be developed through proper training interventions.
The following are the few entrepreneurial opportunities for Librapreneurs. Interested LIS professionals may explore the possibilities to start a new venture and become successful and fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.
Book Publishing Industry
Book Distribution Agency
Periodical Subscription Agency
Library Software Developing Industry
Digital Book/Periodical Publishing
Subscription Agency of Electronic Book/Journals
Book Publishing and Printing Industry
Mr. Andrew Philips, CEO and President, Penguin India says "Indians love to write and Indian publishing market is vibrant, alive dynamic" (The Financial Express, 2012). According to Ved Chawla, Founder & CEO, Dreamland Publications "Indian publishing industry is a market whose size is estimated at Rs. 10,000 crores and more, with books published in more than 30 languages, approximately 90,000 titles published each year. India currently exports books and publications to over 150 countries that are estimated at Rs. 1050 crores according to Capexil report but this is not enough. India can achieve billion of dollars export targets similar of top 50 publishers and top 20 printers of the world, if well-planned guidelines are implemented."
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Publishing and Printing is a business and has the characteristics of all businesses. The basic objective of the publishing and printing industry to produce the books for education which can change the individual's social outlook and also publishing is also considered a service to the society. The primary objective of the publisher is to exist for the benefit of society, rather than for the benefit of their stakeholders i.e. to achieve both social and business objectives. Thus Publishing industry may treat as a "social business".
Hence looking into the above, the LIS professionals may think and look at an opportunity to taking up career in publishing and printing business. Based on the investment capacity, initially Librapreneurs may explore to start publishing industry as "sole proprietorship" or "partnership".
A detailed project report can be prepared based on the following important components in the book publishing industry:
Finance & Accounting
Librapreneurs may also subcontract various business processes such as printing, binding, editing, proof-reading, layout design and sales (to a distributors) which will help in developing micro-entrepreneurs.
Book Packaging which deals with entire process up to the state of printing i.e. binding, editing, proof-reading, layout design, etc. is handled by an outside company and later sold to publishing industry. It is also a viable business opportunity for Librapreneurs.
In addition to the book publishing, business opportunities in the following sub-divisions of publishing industry can also be explored:
Book Distribution Agency
A Book Distribution Agency or Book Distributors are partners with book publishers who take the book to the market through booksellers around the world. They are the vehicle for promoting book. Distributors create the catalogues of new titles that they promote to wholesalers, large retailers, individual book stores, buyers, etc.
Book distribution industry can be broadly divided into two segments, viz., Small Distributors and Large Distributors. Small distributors are those whose business focus is limited to a specific subject area or for a few publishers or to particular geographical location whereas large distributors is a center of maximum number of publishers, all subjects and they large network and franchises to market and sell the books globally.
Librapreneurs who has infrastructure such as land, small warehouses can explore the book distribution agency as a feasible business opportunity. Before venturing into this opportunity, it advised to prepare detailed project report. Even in this business one can explore the partnership among other LIS professionals.
Periodical Subscription Agency
The objective of any periodical or journal subscription area is to information needs of the subscribers of worldwide journals, periodicals, serial publications, magazines, etc. either in print format or electronic format. These agencies provide the following services:
Provide all types of information published around the world to the Indian customers
Access to current pricing of periodicals
Speedy processing of orders
Promote Indian publications abroad as leading Exporters
Faster delivery of journals
By preparing a proper detailed project report, those LIS professionals who eager to serve the society through periodicals, magazines and journals may think to start a periodical subscription agency.
A man, who is habituated to read the newspaper, begins to think of it even before he leaves his bed in the morning. The reading of newspaper as a habit is highly rewarding. It makes us alert, knowledgeable, well-versed and well-informed about the affairs of the world.
Every civil community has newspapers. A newspaper is usually an everyday publication. It contains news, opinions, advertisements, notice and information of all kinds. It also publishes all matters of general interest. It is a very useful mass medium. It keeps people aware about the current events of the world. It publishes views about national and international issues and molds public opinion. Commodity prices, share market reports, race course events, sports news, news about films, fashions and entertainments are some of its regular features. Newspaper has also columns for children and women and even for the students' preparation for examination. In fact, a newspaper is an encyclopedia, a store house of knowledge and information at the cheapest price. Thus a newspaper bears interest of every section of people and is an attraction for every kind of readers.
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Based on the recent findings of the Indian Readership Survey 2012 conducted by Hansa Research and Media Research User Council, the readership is increasingly day-by-day. The readership of daily newspapers in Hindi, English and other regional languages, viz., Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, and Bengali is increasing by 2.85 per cent across the states and country.
It is also one of the viable business opportunity, a Librapreneur can explore and make necessary initiatives to start this business.
Librapreneurs, who are interested to start a book shop, should choose optimal location, in a relatively safe, up-and-coming area with potential book lovers. Education cluster areas, viz., universities, institutes, research and development organizations, colleges, schools, etc are promising places for any book shop to do good business. Book shop on specific subject viz., management, social sciences, science and technology, etc. can also be established. Book shops can also be setup to meet the needs of the users according to the ages i.e. a book shop for children, youth where fiction collection is more and senior citizens who generally looks for the religious books.
The book shop business definitely gives profits on investments and it is suggested that Librapreneurs who have shops may launch this shop.
A stationery business can be a rewarding as well as a profitable career where one can sell writing instruments, beautiful stationary products, creative cards, etc that help people express their sentiments and also explore your creative spirit. With a stationery business you have the luxury to sell the type of greeting cards, paper products and other paper and stationery items that you like, that people will enjoy buying for themselves and their loved ones to communicate and share their special moments.
Opening a stationery shop is not only rewarding in terms of profits, but it can help bring a smile on other's face when they get the right card or the gift for their beloved. From school children to elders, everyone needs a stationery shop near them for buying pens, papers, cards and numerous other small things like glue, paper cutter, fancy paper and other important things needed by children at school for their projects.
It is a good idea to add stationery business to Book Shop or start as an individual venture. Geographical location plays important role in profits.
Book-binding unit is a service unit in which books, copies, files, register, office records, etc. are bound on job-work basis. The binding work can be acquired from various printing presses, schools, colleges, banks and other offices. If the Librapreneur does quality work, then this unit will get work on a continuous basis and can run successfully in various cities.
While lending libraries can be simple to set up, they're perhaps not as simple as one might first think. It's wise to be cautious in starting a sustainable lending library and the benefits may not be enormous.
Librapreneur should be clear about the motive in starting the lending library and define the priorities. The aim of the lending library is to serve the society at large. It is advised to figure out how many members of your society will actually use the library and how those members will grow over time. The size of the library is also plays major role. An oversized space could end up being a costly mistake while an undersized space might fail to meet the demands of your members.
Study space is critical to for a student's ability to study effectively and with concentration. It is necessary to have a place that's completely silent and set it up as study area which fits the student's specific personality and learning style. Some students need a completely quiet room free from interruptions when they study, but others actually study better listening to quiet music in the background or taking several breaks.
Most the educational institutions provide study space i.e. reading room facilities for the students, but these reading rooms are still not sufficient for the students. Starting Reading Rooms with comfortable eco-friendly environment and with minimum amenities will be a business opportunity. The investments may be huge in this venture. The Librapreneurs with good financial support may plan to setup such a venture.
Reprography/Photocopy service is a rewarding business. Presently reprography services are used by all categories of people. This is service based unit. This business can setup at commercial or residential areas. The market for this service is exponentially growing. Presently the competition in this field is very high. To sustain in this business one has to provide qualitative and quantitative services.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) defines consultants as individuals or entities able to provide special expertise in one or more technical fields. These services may be of an advisory, supervisory, or implementation nature and are provided by skilled experts with specialized knowledge and experience (ADB, 2008).
LIS professionals with strong subject knowledge, information technology and communication skills may start a service oriented venture "Library Consultancy Services" and offer various services in all corners of library functional areas viz., library collection building, classification, cataloguing, periodical processing, data entry services, library automation, digitization, training to library staff, etc.
Starting a career counseling business is a good choice if you are a people' person and love to talk, give advise and can communicate well with children, teenagers and adults alike. With the rise of career choices and too many fields to join, students need career counselors who can help them decide which career path to choose and what to decide for their future.
To start this business, you need excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills that can help you deal with people who are facing career problems and employment issues. From counseling them on how to choose the most appropriate field to choose that matches with their qualifications and dealing with their employers the best way are some of the issues that you will address as a career counselor.
Librapreneurs may explore this business opportunity as the career counseling is one of the top best businesses that are thriving and earning good revenue.
Library Software Developing Industry
A library software industry can be started having utter knowledge of library operations and software development and how to sell them to different companies on contract basis. You do not have to be perfect in this area to start the business all you need is to know the rules that are required to make it successful. Plan your business and become a part of the market. The success you dream can only become a reality if you start working on it with honesty and dedication.
In this hi-tech world, people depend entirely on technology either in personal life or for business purposes. The tasks that are part of any business are also conducted with the help of computers and softwares which make them hassle free. Your business plan should include the need of equipment, expenses and proficient employees.
Before venturing into this project it is better to study and evaluate the present library softwares available in the market and also look into the open source softwares.
The world today has turned into a global village; where everything can function very efficiently with a single click. In these calamitous times, surviving the turbulent corporate world can be possible by shifting towards an online business or ebusiness showing an exponential growth in its potentials.
Presently most of the individuals and even the Librarians are purchasing the books through online resources viz., flipkart, infibeam, amazon etc. The purchases at Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, where author is working, is procuring at least 20 per cent of the books through flipkart and infibeam.
Librapreneurs with strong Information Technology knowledge may explore to start a venture "Online Bookstore" with proper legal rights and safeguarding the online business.
Digital Book/Periodical Publishing
A digital book/periodical provides an opportunity of online browsing and reading which is easier than reading a traditional book/periodical. A digital book/periodical can be accessed at any time if you have an Internet connection. Starting a digital book/magazine is very cost effective as well as profitable. If you are interested in starting your own business then starting a digital book/magazine is a good idea.
The Internet is accessible to almost everyone therefore a digital book/periodical will be accessible to several people across the world. A digital book/periodical is also eco-friendly since this business will not produce any harmful waste. A digital book/periodical will not require a printer, ink and papers therefore you will be able to save your cost.
Starting a digital book/periodical will also provide you convenience since you can start it at your home. You just need a personal computer and a website. In order to run your book/periodical successfully, you also need acquaintance with technical skills.
If you want to make your digital book/periodical profitable, you may offer subscription to your customers. You may also provide advertising space in your book/periodical in order to earn extra income. You may place affiliated ads in your digital book/periodical in order to increase revenue.
You must also consider various legal issues associated with book/periodical publications. You must also identify a target audience for your digital book/periodical. It will depend on the type of book/periodical you will publish.
Subscription Agency of Electronic Book/Journals
There is growing demand for the subscription agents of electronic resources especially for journals. Presently the leading management institutions are planning to distribute e-text books instead of printed text books to the students as a part of the course curriculum.
The business model is almost similar to the Book Distribution Agency and the Librapreneur may think and plan to start the subscription agency of e-book and e-journal services.
An e-book reader is a portable electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital books and periodicals and they are similar in form to a tablet computer. A tablet computer typically has a faster screen capable of higher refresh rates which makes them more suitable for interaction. The main advantages of e-book readers are better readability of their screens especially in bright sunlight and longer battery life. This is achieved by using electronic paper technology to display content to readers. Some of the popular e-book readers are: Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, iPad and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet.
The e-book reader market is starting to take off and may soon go the way of music: instead of having closets full of books, we may soon carry our entire libraries around with us on slim portable readers. While there are still many hiccups along the way, the industry is definitely on the up-tick (rediff, 2012).
Looking into the above, it may good business opportunity start a business to sell the e-book readers so that Librapreneurs will definitely benefited with huge profits.
According Vikram Sampath, age 32 says "writing biography comes with its own set of unique challenges. Biographies can really drain you" (Business Standard, 2012). He is the winner of 2012 Yuva Sahitya akademi award for his biography on Gauhar Jaan. He has three intensely researched works of non-fiction books under his belt namely, My Name is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of Musician, Voice of the Veena-S Balachander: A Biography and Splendours of Royal Mysore: The Untold Story of the Wodeyars. These books are basically biographies of other people.
Based on the above statement, Librapreneurs who has writing skills may explore the business opportunity of writing biographies of others.
A Librapreneur, before starting any business should gather critical information and take decisions pertaining to various facets - technical arrangement, market, location, statutory clearances - in order that the tasks of establishing the project, and to some extent managing it later, become easy. A business plan is an outcome of an exercise meant to check the viability of an enterprise and analyze and firm up its essential parameters. There are various phrases in vogue to refer to business document (Patel, 1991). These are:
Detailed Project Report
Techno-economic Feasibility Report
Sources for Funding Agency
Financing is a critical element for the development of any businesses. Traditionally banks have played a key role in the financial system of pooling the liquidity risk of depositors and investing large of their funds. Financing the businesses by meeting the term loan and working capital requirements has been an important function of the banks. Banks have more information on the survival prospects of small units and they evaluate a project, whether large or small units in terms of its viability and creditworthiness.
Banks including private sector and foreign banks are now offering the best of services and a host of products, which were till now reserved for bigger companies. The Government of India encourages financing by the credit institutions.
The following are the some of the major resources for financing the business venture
National Small Industries Corporation
Export Import Councils of India
Khadi & Village Industries Corporation
State Financial Corporations
State Level Centre for Entrepreneurship Development
Director/Commissioner of Industries of all States
Industrial Development Corporations
Industrial Development of Bank of India
Small Industries Development Bank of India
Entrepreneurship as an Elective Paper in LIS Curriculum
In order to create an entrepreneurship environment within the Library and Information Science students it is suggested for the LIS Departments of Universities to introduce the Entrepreneurship in the curriculum as an elective paper with the following brief contents.
Introduction to Entrepreneurship
Opportunity Identification and Guidance
Identifying Financial Resources
Project Report Preparation
Conclusion and Suggestions
The above mentioned entrepreneurial opportunities are few and there are lot of opportunities in library and information science field. Also LIS professional may explore entrepreneurial opportunities based on their basic academic strength and potential in other fields.
It is suggested for the Library and Information Science Departments of all Universities to introduce and entrepreneurship as an elective paper which inculcate entrepreneurial skills among the Library and Information Science professionals.
The author wishes to sincerely thank Dr. Dinesh Awasthi, Director, EDI for his permission to publish this paper at International Conference on Creating Wisdom and Knowledge Through Shared Learning: Role of Librarians and Information Managers organized by MANLIBNET during October 11-13, 2012 at IIM Indore.
The author expresses his gratefulness to Prof. Sunil Shukla, Chief Faculty, EDI for encouraging and supporting to write and publish articles.
Also thanks are due to Dr. Rajiv Joshi, Associate Senior Faculty for his guidance in preparing and completing this paper.