Having spent an entire year in the classroom teaching fifth grade in New York, I know all about the short attention span of preteens and Scholastic
When I looked at the company's fourth-quarter results, a few key things came to mind. The margins are a great deal better in its educational publishing division than in any of its other divisions (children's book publishing, international, or media licensing and advertising). The division's operating margin was about 20%; the next-closest division was children's book publishing with a 7.4% margin. Attention, Scholastic. Be more like rival McGraw-Hill
With school districts adjusting curriculum and changing textbooks and reference materials as often as Britney Spears' costume changes, there's a great deal of money to be made in this market. Secondly, if the company has a choice of dealing with consumers or corporations/schools, it should focus on the big guys with the buying power (and that's not you and me).
Educational publishing was the only division with double-digit growth in the fourth quarter, yet its revenues make up only about 18% of the company's total revenues. The company should utilize books such as the madly popular Harry Potter series to get in the door of the schools and then establish a broader relationship with the school districts and teachers.
I'm not sure whether the company realizes the power that comes with its brand name. In schools, the name Scholastic carries as much weight as Nike
Fool contributor Phil Wohl spent more than 12 years on Wall Street and now concentrates his writing on more fictional characters. He has no stake in any firm mentioned above.