Sterling Publishers
Vol. 2 No. 8 July 2008
Contents
EDITORIAL
ONE TO ONE - If you are good to others they will be good to you.
NEWS ITEMS
India to be market focus in 2009 London Book Fair
Scheme for financial assistance for book promotional activities
Paper mills increase paper prices
Pavement publishing the new trend
Expansion in market of vernacular books
Career in publishing becoming popular
RPG bullish about Books and Beyond
Green Gold to launch English comic series
Drupa 2008 print media messe develops its global significance
Publishing News, U.K. to publish its final issue
The Bookseller celebrates 150th anniversary
NBT shifts to its own building
NEWS FROM SOUTH ASIA
Asia Pacific Publishing Convention
Bhutan Book Fair
BOOK REVIEW
READERS WRITE
IBP
Dear Publishing Professionals,

Publishing is a creative business and if done properly does not require any foreign direct investment. After Indias independence in 1947, most of the foreign publishers wound up their businesses. In the current scenario, most major American and British publishers have moved in or are in the process of moving in to set up shop here, mostly to capture the growing market of the English-reading public and to cash in on the opportunity for selling their own imported books from their parent companies. Under the FDI the Branch and Liaison offices can neither publish nor re-print their books in India but these foreign publishers can establish 100% owned companies wherein they can do everything – publish, market, import and sell.

Earlier foreign companies would give rights to the Indian publishers which they have now reduced. They have established their companies in India and get their printing done in the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) – their major export country being India. There are a number of reasons for this happening; from getting duty-free paper to no sales tax and no excise to finally printing books in EPZs. These books are then marketed in India by invoicing them from their head offices. These companies therefore are enjoying all the benefits. This has placed these companies in a very advantageous position as compared to the Indian publishing industry.

We know that in the newspaper industry the entry of the foreign media is not allowed and that in the case of publishing scientific and technical magazine, only shares upto a maximum of 26% are allowed to the foreign companies.

Book imports in the past had been under the license category of fiction and education with quantity restrictions in each case, which by 1996-1997 were totally withdrawn and put under the OGL policy without any quantity restrictions. This obviously resulted in importing large chunks of remainders from the West, as some traders got themselves registered considering merely the commercial aspect. From the time that the imports have been placed under OGL, the ratio of exports to imports has diminished to 1:10.

This has seriously affected the Indian publishing industry. We are not against the free flow of literature but the situation calls for it to be done in a regulated manner. Let the intellectuals from the industry ponder over this.

It is hoped that the government will wake up and do something before it is too late.

Publishing Today has completed its teens with the June issue and is entering into its adulthood. We need all the support from the industry, which we have been receiving in abundance, no doubt.

This month I interviewed Mr Sukumar Das, managing director, UBS Publishers and Distributors, the largest organised distributor in the country. Later I learnt that he is retiring from UBS in August 2008 after completing 44 years of service. I wish him a happy, healthy and long life. I hope he will re-tyre himself in the days to come.

The July issue has been delayed due to one reason or another. Please bear with us.


If you are good to others they will be good to you.

Q. You joined UBS in 1964 and moved on to become its MD in 2001. Describe your journey in the book industry.
A.
It’s been a very interesting and fascinating journey. My romance with publishing began in 1964 and has been going strong ever since, though it was a chance encounter. At that time all my efforts were concentrated on preparing for the IAS Civil services Examination, having completed my masters in political science. But fate had other things planned for me. One of my professors fixed an interview appointment for me in a newly-started book distribution house. As luck would have it, my candid answers got me selected, and I joined UBS on 2 September 1964. Immediately upon joining, I was packed off on a 51-day tour of South India which included four states. Though I was a novice and had no idea about bookselling, I played it fair and square. The response was very encouraging and I was also successful in obtaining a large order for UBS from one of the dealers. Since then there has been no looking back. From a sales representative to marketing officer, to sales manager, to Delhi branch manager, to export manager, to export director, to additional export director, to additional managing director and then finally in 2001, Sh. Mohan Chawla made me the managing director and he himself became the chairman. My understanding of bookselling and my interaction with booksellers took place during my stint as the Delhi branch manager, but my interaction with publishers occurred when I was export manager. Surely it has been an enriching and satisfying journey all through.

Q. You have been chairman, books panel of CAPEXIL since 1992. Tell us about your achievements during these 16 years and what are your plans for the future?
A.
When I joined, I felt that there was a lack of structured trade information which prevented the exporters from exploiting the country’s huge export potential. To facilitate accessibility of such information, I started a monthly newsletter which gave country wise information and statistics. It was not only informative but proved to be commercially beneficial as well. I also took delegations around the world (except CIS and Latin American countries), which enabled us to view the publishing industry from a global perspective. These efforts urged exports to reach the 1000 million mark – a huge leap forward from the meager 330 million earlier.

For things to look up in the future there is an immediate need to bring about professionalism and provide adequate training to industry professionals, as rapid technological developments take place. Also, the marketing of sales rights by Indian publishers needs to be promoted vigorously in the years to come.


Q. You were elected secretary general, Afro Asian Book Council after Mr. Asang Machwe’s demise in June 1996. How do you plan to take the council to the next stage of development?
A.
Earlier the membership of AABC was open only to publishers and booksellers but now it has been opened to authors, translators and editors too. We have been organising important seminars and are trying to make the council broad based.

Q. From 2001–2003 you were president, FPBAI. What were your achievements during this period?
A.
During my presidentship, I organised a three-month training course and later absorbed all the participants in the industry. I also edited a book The Book Industry in India: Context, Challenge and Strategy.

Q. How far has UBS gone into digital printing/CD Rom publishing?
A.
We have not yet started digital printing/CD Rom publishing but are certainly making investments in the infrastructure.

Q. What percent of business do you do online?
A.
Not much, very little. Online business is yet to take off.

Q. UBS has seen many ups and downs; how is it going now?
A.
Going very steady; now there is no question of going down – from here the path moves steadily upward ahead.

Q. What are your future plans for UBS?
A.
I plan to retire from UBSPD (August 2008) and hand the reins to Anshul and his team to carry the legacy forward.

Q. What do you think has been the impact of globalisation on Indian Publishing?
A.
Colossal! Globalisation has changed the face of Indian Publishing. India now produces huge quantities of content which has led to the arrival of outsourcing on Indian shores.

Q. You shared a wonderful relationship with Late Sh. C. M. Chawla. Any quality of his which left a lasting impact on you?
A.
Mr. C. M. Chawla was a visionary. Every working hour spent with him revealed a different aspect of his dynamic personality. One could never stop learning around him. Of the many gems, some particular qualities of his, which had a deep impact on me, were his sharp memory, his humility and his ability to identify new talent and repose faith in them.

Q. What kind of a relationship do you share with the present generation of Chawlas?
A.
They are very much like my immediate family and we enjoy an excellent relationship.

Q. Any success mantra for young entrepreneurs?
A.
Hard work and honesty in life go a long way, and never give up hope for a bright and better future – where there’s life, there’s hope! There are no shortcuts to success and no there is no substitute for dedication.

Q. How do you manage to look so relaxed?
A.
Do I? I guess the secret is that I refuse to carry any tension home. I can switch on and off very quickly. Meditation too helps in distressing and relaxing.

Q. How does being a Rotarian contribute in your everyday living?
A.
It helps tremendously – mentally as well as otherwise. It is my sincere belief that if you are good to others they will be good to you. Also, learn to be humble as you grow and progress in life.

Q. Do you enjoy traveling?
A.
My first love is books and then traveling, which I enjoy a lot. Also my assignments take me around the world a lot.

Q.Any particular type of books that you read?
A.
I read fiction and love to read comparative religion, which gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction.

Q. How would you describe a good book?
A.
A good book is a book which has strong content, is well-produced look wise, and has wide acceptance.

IBP

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy the newsletter you have been sending me, particularly the most recent one about your trip to the Publisher's Carnival in Seoul. I was at Abu Dhabi Book Fair in March and wrote a blog from there. In case you are interested, you can read it at http://abudhabijournal.wordpress.com

Charlene F. Gaynor, CEO
The Association of Educational Publishers, New Jersey, USA

I would like to compliment you for bringing out Publishing Today. It enables me to keep abreast of happenings and trends. It is nice to see coverage of not just the English publishing scene but occasional coverage of Indian language publishing too.
K. Satyanarayan, director
New Horizon Media Pvt. Ltd, Chennai
It was a great pleasure and privilege for me to give the valedictory address at the Intensive Course on Editing. The lectures of the course were very intelligently devised and I am sure that all the 28 participants must have gained a lot. For all this, the credit goes to you and your hard work.
D. N. Malhotra, chairman
Hind Books Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi
It was a great experience being a part of the Intensive Course on Editing, recently organised by the Institute of Book Publishing. I am thankful to you for sharing your rich experience in the publishing field with us. The course has definitely helped me to update myself on different aspects of editing and publishing. I will surely be utilising the knowledge towards the growth of my organisation.
Nilesh Shinde, coordinating editor
Career Publications, Nashik


During the London Book Fair in May this year, I met my friend Eric Kampmann, president Midpoint (a distribution network in the US), and I was presented a copy of his latest book The Book Publisher's Handbook: The Seven Keys to Publishing Success with Six Case Studies.

The book is a powerful tool for established publishers as well as upcoming and would-be publishers. The book explains how technology played an important role in allowing publishing to become a vibrant business shifting from the traditional
office setup to smart and stylish desktops accompanied by easy distribution, increase in retail space with bigger bookstores, growth of online booksellers, and the exposure the internet has given to new and smaller publishers. All this contributed to the expansion of the publishing business and the smaller publishers found it a great opportunity. The book outlines the key information in the form of seven keys which a new entrant needs to know at every level of book publishing. The seven keys are:

1) The need to edit the book thoroughly and not to publish without it.
2) The importance of appearance and book design which can distinguish between seen and sold and unseen and unsold.
3) Focus on printing issues and how to find a competent and reliable printer and to decide the exact print run.
4) Determining the proper price of the book keeping in mind the production costs incurred and whether the price fixed is competitive enough.
5) Consideration of sales and distribution and how to choose the right distributor.
6) Marketing and publicity.
7) The seventh key is a combination of the first six keys. It explains the fact that you are the publisher and you have to take the call.

The book is supplemented with six real case studies which serve as eye-openers to smaller publishers and can help them become leading publishers. The book is a must-read for the industry professionals.
A great commendable treatise on publishing.


India to be market focus in 2009 London Book Fair
After the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2006 and the Paris Book Fair in 2007, now it is the turn of the London Book Fair to make India its market focus for its upcoming fair in 2009. The market focus programme highlights the publishing industry from a country or territory, providing opportunities for international business. With all eyes on India, hopefully the Indian publishing industry will stand to gain from this.


Scheme for financial assistance for book promotional activities

A scheme for financial assistance to voluntary organisations for book promotional activities has been launched by NBT, India. The organisations may use the aid to organise book fairs/seminars of Indian authors/publishers/booksellers on subjects which have a direct bearing on book promotion in India or organise training courses on a subject directly related to book promotion. They may also organise annual conventions/conferences of writers / publishers /printers / booksellers, conduct research/survey connected with the book industry, or may carry out any other activity which may be found conducive to the development of the book industry.
For details visit www.nbtindia.org.in


Paper mills increase paper prices
The paper manufacturers have increased the prices again, with the price rise ranging from anywhere between rupees 3 to 5 per kilo, resulting in an increase in production cost. The mill owners have been increasing the prices by almost rupees 1 to 2 per kilo every month since January this year. It is hoped that the industry will self-regulate rather than face an imposition by the government.

Pavement publishing the new trend
A ray of hope for budding writers! Releasing books on footpaths over cutting chai and vada-pav has caught on in Mumbai and now is all set to make its entry into Pune. Such an unconventional style was adopted when aspiring writers were not able to get their works published, thus giving birth to the publishing movement of Pavement Publishers. Dr Shailendra Vaishampayan, the activist leading the movement along with its editor Chaittaranjan released the book in Pune, Memory Remains, a novel penned by ex-IITian and Wipro manager Prashant Karhade. Pavement Publishers’ first book Saturn & I was written by Vaishampayan and was released on a Mumbai footpath.

Expansion in market of vernacular books
With the increase of retail space in the supermarkets and new book stores mushrooming everywhere, the market for vernacular books has begun to expand, offering a huge scope for more publishers to enter the market. This has helped the vernacular market for books to grow and this favourable development contradicts the general belief of declining reading habits. This is due to the exposure the books are getting now. This change has also been confirmed by Ratna Raj Sheth, proprietor, R. R. Sheth & Co. Multinational publishing houses like Penguin and HarperCollins have also started publishing in vernacular languages along with many other publishers. All these companies are scripting their vernacular chapter in a big way with an Computer Lingo INFOSURF: To look for information and news on the internet. eye on the translation market of course, which is worth $69 million. Himanshu Chakrawarti, chief operating officer, Landmark says, “Vernacular books are one of the fastest moving categories in our stores.”

Career in publishing becoming popular
Ever thought of a career in publishing becoming popular? Cashing in on the boom time of the Indian publishing industry are foreign publishers making a beeline for India to start operations here. And as the number of entrants increases, so do the career options and pay packages in the industry. With India ranking third in the publication of English books after the USA and the UK and having a large Englishspeaking workforce, it is no wonder then that a career in publishing is an attractive and inviting option for Gen-X.

RPG bullish about Books and Beyond
RPG Group has big plans for its retail venture Books and Beyond. Having recently opened its fifth fullformat outlet at Hyderabad, it plans to roll out another 12-15 stores by the end of fiscal 2008-09. CEO Sumantra Banerjee said, “We hope to grow Books and Beyond into a Rs 150-200 crore business over the next 18-24 months.” The store plans to stock upwards of 35,000 books and magazines and will also provide interactions with authors, hold book releases and so on.

Green Gold to launch English comic series
Hyderabad-based Green Gold Animation plans to launch an English comic series based on the Hindu mythological character, Chhota Bheema.

The founder and MD, Rajiv Chilakalapudi will be introducing the first issue of the comic series in August 2008 across all Indian cities as well as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. “The comic will be made keeping the Indian audience’s taste in mind,” said Rajiv.
Source: www.indianmediaobserver.com

Drupa 2008 print media messe develops its global significance
drupa, the print media fair held every four years was staged from 29 May to 11 June 2008. The 14-day fair had 1971 exhibitors from 52 countries with around 391,000 visitors from 138 countries and 3000 journalists from 84 countries. Asian and Latin American trade visitors constituted to the growth of the total visitors with 7% coming from South and Central America and 15% from Asia. These figures clearly indicate how drupa is a world beater and nothing moves in the print and media industry without it. In tune with its motto – “one drupa ends and another begins,” preparations are on for the drupa to be held in Dusseldorf from 3 to 16 May 2012.


Publishing News, U.K. to publish its final issue

Publishing News, launched in 1979, has decided to close with its last issue on July 25. It will also suspend its email news service, which currently supplies 9,000 subscribers with weekly industry updates. The closure is attributed to advertisers moving away from trade publications to online and direct sales. “This has been a sad and difficult decision to make. In common with lots of other trade magazines we rely heavily on advertising, but we are finding that book publishers have many new and different ways to do that,” commented PNL chairman and founder, Fred Newman. “All other activities of PNL will remain unaffected by the closure of Publishing News,” stressed Newman. The magazine’s innovative approach has set the highest standards in the reporting, analysis and interpretation of events in the publishing industry.


The Bookseller celebrates 150th anniversary

The Bookseller – UK’s trade magazine, launched in 1858, recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Editor-in-chief Neill Denny remarked, “My view is that the fact that we have been around for 150 years is of little real interest to readers, but that what has happened to the trade and the world it serves, clearly is.” The main editorial focus was on the commemorative issue of June, which not only contained some of the For earlier issues of Publishing Today please visit www.ibpindia.org

interesting and quirky stuff from the past but also a look at the state of the trade now and a look forward to what could be expected in the next few years. Let’s wish them a fun-filled birthday stuffed with exciting memories!


NBT shifts to its own building

National Book Trust India has shifted to its own new building at Plot No. 5, Institutional Area, Vasant Kunj, Phase-II, New Delhi-1100070. It has taken more time to shift than envisaged initially.


Asia Pacific Publishing Convention
OIC EVENTS, an Asian conference management company which specialises in conceptualizing and organising regional conferences and awards programs in Asia, will be organising the Asia Pacific Publishing Convention from 14 to 15 August 2008 in Singapore. The emphasis will be on bringing new information to publishers and experts from the digital world.
For further details visit: www.publishingconvention.com

Bhutan Book Fair
The Ministry of Education, Bhutan is planning to hold the Bhutan Book Fair in October 2008. Further details may be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Bhutan.

 

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