The book publishing industry has been losing its market share since the inception of digital books and reading content. E-books are not only a convenient option for readers but can also be more affordable at times than physical books. However, despite this challenging scenario, there are still companies that have managed to increase their profits year-over-year by innovating their strategies and designs.
Analyzed below are dominant U.S. players in the industry, based on their performance and key ratios.
*As of 5/16/2013.
Courier Corporation (NASDAQ:CRRC) is the third-largest book manufacturer and the leader in content management and customization in both conventional and modern media.
The company took over Fast Pencil, which is in the field of developing end-to-end, cloud-based content management technology, allowing Courier to strengthen its leadership position in content management and customization for educational publishers.
For the second quarter of 2013, Courier's revenues came in at $61.8 million, a slight decline from $62.4 million in the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal. The net income for the company came in at $336,000 or $.03 per diluted share, compared to $440,000 or $.04 per diluted share in last year's second quarter. Courier said that the second quarter has been slow compared to others due to the traditional busy seasons in the education market.
For the full fiscal 2013, the company is expecting sales to be in the range of $266 million and $281 million. EPS is expected to be in the range of $.75 and $1.05 and EBITDA is estimated to be between $39 million and $45 million.
The company's biggest strength is that it is the dominating player in the industry. Its dividend record has historically been strong, and is currently at an impressive 5.80%, or $0.84 per share. Courier's P/E ratio is 17.16, which is under control compared to other industry players. The PB ratio of the company is 1.19. The overall valuation metrics also in addition to future prospects look good, given that the company is stable and consistent in paying dividends.
Educational Development Corporation (NASDAQ:EDUC) is in the business of selling children's books through multi-level sales organizations of independent consultants. The company sells its material through huge networks of 5000 retail stores, also in addition to online outlets. EDUC makes available over 1,600 different articles for children of different ages.
The profit margin of the company has been increasing and the financial health is good, along with reasonable debt levels. EDUC has a debt-to-equity ratio at 0.04, which is less compared to the industry average. The gross profit margin for the company is very strong at 61.20%, and its net profit margin of 6.68% is also above the industry standards.
The company's board of directors has approved a dividend of $0.08 per share. The dividend yield of the company has been impressive at 9.10%, which is a perfect number for income investors. The P/E ratio is 11.00, which is well within the limit, compared to the industry peers. The PB ratio is 1.00. Overall valuation of the company is good, leaving further room to grow.
What makes it a bit risky is the instability of the past two years' earnings and the company's net income, which has not increased as expected.
Comparing the ratios of both companies allow them to stand an equal chance of getting a place in an investor's portfolio. However, Courier Corporation has been consistent in its earnings while Educational Development lacks this vital feature.
Educational Development has a greater dividend yield, which obviously makes it a lucrative choice for income investors, but the fact that the company has had unstable earnings for the past two years is too big to ignore. Furthermore, Courier education's acquisition of Fast Pencil reflects a massive growth opportunity for the company.
A simple glance at the share chart of both companies says it all. Those comfortable with more risk might be most interested in the more volatile EDUC, while Courier's graph is better suited for those looking for stability.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Business relationship disclosure: Black Coral Research, Inc. is a team of writers who provide unique perspective to help inspire investors. This article was written Aman Jain, one of our Senior Analysts. We did not receive compensation for this article (other than from Seeking Alpha), and we have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. Black Coral Research, Inc. is not a registered investment advisor or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Investing involves risk, including the loss of principal. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.