Sterling Publishers
Vol. 3 No. 8 & 9 July & August 2009
Contents
EDITORIAL
ONE TO ONE with Asoke K. Ghosh, CMD PHI Learning
PUBLISHERS ON PUBLISHING
NEWS ITEMS
Children's Books by Nita Mehta Publications
Innovations in Children's Books
An Indigenous Self-Publishing Website
Dolphin Publications Stocks High End Books
Booker Cash and Carry Stores in India
Railway bookstall makeover
From manuscript to E-book
The Gita Deck
Comics-A click away!
Current Books changes from partnership to corporate identity
Mapin Publishing changes address
2nd Intensive Course on Editing - Comments by participants
INDIAN BOOK INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS
Delhi State Booksellers & Publishers Association
"22nd Condensed
Course for Publishing
Professionals"


for details visit
www.ibpindia.org
Dear Balram Shukla,


I visited Cape Town Book Fair in June, and found that it is one of the better organised Book Fairs in the African continent. The venue is in the heart of the city, easily approachable in an air-conditioned hall, stalls clearly marked, and well laid out, with all the facilities one looks for as an exhibitor and a visitor. It is a small fair in one big hall. It is jointly managed by the Frankfurt Book Fair and the South African Publishers and Booksellers Association. It is a selling fair but trade also comes from the neighbouring countries i.e., Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Mauritius. I could not meet anyone from East Africa, West Africa and Northern Africa. The fair authorities invited some twelve publishers from other parts of Africa but it would have been better if they had invited major booksellers and importers also. It will certainly boost the trading and result in more exhibitors in future. A number of professional events were planned during the fair. I feel the fair has a great future and can become the Frankfurt of Africa in the years to come. Moreover, Cape Town is a beautiful city with mountains and sea beaches, shopping malls and plenty of restaurants at the Waterfront, which is only a kilometer from the fair.

India is a guest of honour country in the forthcoming Moscow International Book Fair to be held from 2nd to 7th September this year. National Book Trust is coordinating the event. Capexil is organising MDA for the member exhibitors. As usual, we Indians try to do everything at the last moment. There is a Punjabi quote 'Bua aiye janj, Beno kuri da kan', the marriage procession is at the gate and you start piercing the ears of the bride. Let's hope for the best, I have my doubts.

The new government is now fully settled and they have given the impetus to higher education - STM, management, accountancy, architecture, education and social sciences. They have planned more than four hundred new institutes to be established in the near future. This will create a great demand for educational textbooks and supplementary reading material in these subjects. The publishers can prepare themselves to take this opportunity - it will be an advantage otherwise we will again lose out to imported textbooks from other parts of the world, mainly US and UK. Let's try our best.

This month I have interviewed Mr Asoke Ghosh, CMD of PHI Learning, a doyen in Indian STM Publishing and the former Vice President of International Publishers Association.

We have received twenty books on book publishing for the institute's library from Mr S.S. Rana our former course director. Thank you Mr Rana.


with Asoke K. Ghosh, CMD PHI Learning and Former Vice President IPA says;

Our STM books are accepted all over the world. The quality of our content and production is at par with that of any good international publisher. in conversation with S. K. Ghai


Q. You have achieved a memorable success in book publishing. How you happened to come into this profession?
A.
My parent's influence in my formative years created in me an appetite for books. When I lost my father I was 11 years old, and came under the care of my maternal grandfather. I started growing among the many books written and published by my maternal uncle Dr Durga Das Basu, author of the legal multivolume classic Commentaries on the Constitution of India. Dr Basu, a leading expert on Constitutional Law, was a Judge in the Calcutta High Court and a National Professor of Constitutional Law. I began taking interest in his books and in course of time, started learning, proof reading, copy editing etc. by helping him in his work. Meanwhile, I completed my course in Printing Technology and Graphic Arts from Jadavpur University and my graduation at Calcutta University. Then I joined Times of India and there I learnt the many nuances of magazine and newspaper printing. This coincided with the formation of a publishing house in India by Prentice-Hall Inc. of USA, and I had the opportunity to meet Mr Leo Albert, Chairman of Prentice-Hall International and its President, Mr Kenneth Hurst. Thus, I made my entry in the new company, Prentice-Hall of India, to take care of its operations.

Q. Can you recollect any experience of significance or memorable occurrence in your early years with Prentice-Hall of India?
A.
I had a thrilling experience of working for a few days with the Founder and Chairman of Prentice-Hall Group of Companies, Richard Prentice Ettinger who was also a Congressman in the US House of Representatives. I had also on many occasions worked with Leo Albert, as well as Kenneth Hurst here in India and in the USA.

Q. As a founder member and Past President of the Federation of Indian Publishers, can you say something on its formation?
A.
There had been no associations exclusively to take care of the interests and problems of publishers. The Federation of Publishers and Booksellers Association of India (FPBAI) which was started in 1953 was predominantly for booksellers whose interest was focused more on book trading and importing. In the 1960's expansion in book publishing was phenomenal, both in terms of number of titles and in the emergence of new publishers. I still remember the meeting of stalwarts in book publishing like Shyam Lal Gupta, O.P. Ghai and D.N. Malhotra, where it was decided to form the Federation of Indian Publishers. In 1973 it started functioning with Shyam Lal Gupta as its first President. Soon thereafter FIP received the official recognition from the Ministry of Education and Foreign Publishers' Associations. International Publishers Association (IPA) sent its Secretary General and his team for a mandatory inspection and soon afterwards IPA gave recognition to FIP and also made FIP's office in New Delhi, as IPA's headquarters for Southern Asia.
It is interesting to know that the FIP headquarters building was inaugurated by IPA President Manuel Salvat who came specially for this purpose. The inauguration was attended by Prentice-Hall's Kenneth Hurst, and McGraw-Hill's Mead Stone and Stan Kendrick who also flew to Delhi for this occasion. It tells a lot about the young FIP's international standing.

Q. You have been the Chairman of the Delhi Book Fair for long now. How is the fair contributing to the development of the book industry? What is your vision for it in the coming five years?
A.
When Delhi Book Fair was started in 1995 its success picked up momentum each year and justified our expectations. We have been organising the book fair in air-conditioned halls, but the constraint now is that only a limited air-conditioned space is allotted to us. Now we are trying to get more space and it seems we will succeed. We must remember that Indian authorship is growing, as also the students, teachers, readers and institutions. We are making efforts to publicise the Fair more extensively within India and outside.

Q. As the Chairman of Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO), please give your opinion on its present position in the international field.
A.
IRRO was established in 2000, and was registered in June 2002 as a Copyright Society under the Indian Copyright Act. At a historic meeting in Oslo in 1984, IPA and STM together formed the International Forum for Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO). As Member of the Executive Committee of the IPA, and of its Copyright Committee and as Member of STM, I was the witness to the deliberations to establish IFRRO. It is a source of pride for us that IFRRO has recognised our IRRO by inducting us as its Member. Presently we are working for its awareness among the authors, publishers and institutions in the country. We have signed bi-lateral agreements with Japan, Argentina and others. With English being the widely used language in India and in the Indian publishing scenario, we need to sign agreements with UK and USA who are the most important English publishing countries. The Government of India is in a better position to publicise about this organisation and its services to all the concerned organisations of learning and research, like universities and other scientific, technical, medical and agricultural institutions. We are initiating certain measures and I hope it will be working in full swing in due course.

Q. You were on the Executive Committee of IPA for a number of years and its Vice President for four years. What do you think have been the most important events during your tenure?
A.
With the help of Shri D.N. Malhotra and Shri O.P. Ghai I was able to bring IPA Congress to India in 1992, but we had to work very hard and consistently for it. The IPA Congress in India was positively a success, and there were around 600 foreign participants who came to India. It was inaugurated by the President of India, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, and His Excellency Mario Soares, President of Portugal was the Guest of Honour. I still remember, during his speech Dr Sharma referred to my name as Emperor Asoka, and quipped that it was king Asoka who was the earliest Indian publisher, alluding to the emperor's edicts in public places for people to read! We were also excited when the Dalai Lama addressed the audience. At that time we saw many Chinese delegates walking out of the hall. In 1984 the IPA Congress was held in Mexico, and I was the co-chairman with Mr Akiro Norita, Chairman, Sony Corporation in the session on electronic and digital publishing. There, Mr Norita predicted that we would in future, have a compact disc in which all material could be stored; which later became a reality! In 1996, the IPA Congress was held in Barcelona where it celebrated the 100 years of IPA. For this event, the renowned and controversial writer, Salman Rushdie who was under threat from extremists, was brought in secretly to address publishers. His was one of the best ever addresses that I have listened to. During his address, he cited examples of India and lauded its democracy, heritage and culture. Another very important international event that I attended and addressed was the Hundred Years of Berne Convention organised at Heidelberg, Germany in 1986.

Q. What are your views on the entry of Foreign Publishing Companies into India?
A.
Our country has always welcomed publishers from all over the world. This is not new. In fact, soon after the independence many foreign publishers began coming to India and set up their publishing offices. Our own company started in the year 1963 in collaboration with one of the largest publishing houses of the USA. I do not see any problem in foreign publishing houses coming to India as long as they follow the rules and regulations of the country.

Q. How many new titles and reprints do you publish each year?
A.
In the last fiscal year we did 300 new titles and 725 reprints. The print run of each reprint varies from 1,000 copies to 30,000 copies. The expected trend is to produce more titles in the coming years.

Q. Are you developing e-books? How has your experience been so far?
A.
We started developing e-books with quite a few titles based on prospective demand. The initial response is encouraging. We are planning to do more e-books to cater to the emerging market.

Q. Share your views regarding the export of Indian STM books to the developed and the developing world.
A.
Our STM books are accepted all over the world. The quality of our content and production is at par with that of any good international publisher. To explore more into global markets, both in the developed and developing world, we have to invest enormously for promotion and product improvement consistent with their expectations. Please remember our scientific manpower is continuously increasing, and there are going to be more and more IIT's and other engineering colleges. Publishing and publishers' effort must also grow along with these.

Q. You have been the Chairman of CAPEXIL Books Panel, you have been in the FIP's International Committee and also in IPA's International Committee. The export of books and print materials in 2008-09 was around Rs.1000 crores. On the global scale our share is practically insignificant. What will you suggest to increase book export to higher levels befitting the size of the Indian publishing?
A.
We have to increase the publication of books immensely. The number of titles we export has a correlation with the number of titles produced. As I said just now, we need to spend more on promotion and content/product enrichment. Our government needs to give us support like UK does for their publishing. Book export of UK is the mainstay of the country's publishing industry. Their Government has established the British Councils all over the world which lend highest support to book promotion. It is not surprising that UK's book export is the highest for any country in the world and the industry prospers mainly on exports. The British Council's promotion of British books and the support given for book export are something that can be emulated by the Indian Government.

Q. Have you started selling online? What has been your experience?
A.
Yes, we are promoting and selling books online. We do this on our own from in-house facilities as well as through online agencies. The online promotion and selling is encouraging.

Q. Do you prefer selling rights or are you in favour of marketing your own editions internationally?
A.
We do sell rights in languages. However, we prefer to sell our own editions where it is required in English language as our prices are very reasonable.

Q. How is your publishing house meeting the social responsibility towards society?
A.
The very nature of our profession calls for meeting social responsibilities, particularly from the head of the publishing house. As a publisher, I take this responsibility seriously. I am a Rotarian, and I am also associated with other voluntary and charitable organisations. I have set up Rimjhim Ghosh Foundation in memory of my younger daughter for providing education, health care and other relief to the needy, especially the girl children. I have contributed, and continue to contribute towards the community, in the areas of health care, literacy, hunger alleviation, education and many other areas of need. They are numerous to list every item here. Above all, I am deliberately pricing our books lowest for the benefit of the economically weaker sections of society.

Q. Do any family members help you in publishing?
A.
My wife and daughter are fully involved in the operation and the management of PHI.

Q. What would you consider a good book?
A.
MAs an academic publisher, I feel a 'good book' must satisfy the objective - it should help the teacher to teach and the student to learn. This is also our mission statement. It must also be affordable in price, as otherwise it will be inaccessible and meaningless to the millions of students.

Q. What are the new ideas you are introducing in PHI Learning?
A.
The growth of the company depends on how well it can adopt new ideas. As the head of the organisation, I always like to adopt new ideas in order to expand my publishing programme. We try to be innovative in the matter of the content of the books, their presentation and marketing. This certainly requires team work. We are also trying to cover all the subjects and disciplines on which an academic publisher is expected to have books.

Q. If you have a number of tie-ups with international publishers, share your experience and how cooperation is mutually beneficial.
A.
Yes, you are right. We have many publishing partners. As you know, the partners in business will always be there as long as mutual interest is looked after. Our partners are benefitting from their tie-up with us, just as we are benefitting from our association with them. Our partnership with all our international publishers is based on this quid pro quo, and this is what business is made of.


"The Indian publishing has come of age and we publish approximately 83,000 titles in a year in all languages but it is painful that we do not have proper distribution channel so that the books can reach the reader even in big cities. There are not enough bookshops in metropolitan cities and the situation is still worse in towns, sub-towns and villages. In fact, in sub-towns and villages, there are hardly any bookshops. The literacy rate is going up and there are readers in all places, even in villages, who would like to read books of their choice."

R C Govil, President, FIP
FIP Newsletter, Vol. 3, July 09


"My call has always been to make it easy for a mother, whether it is cooking or teaching her child. This laid the foundation for Nita Mehta Publications."

Nita Mehta, CEO, Nita Mehta Publications
FIP Newsletter, Vol. 3, July 09


"The sheer volume of passengers who pass through platforms makes railway bookstalls an important destination on the publisher's map."

V. K. Karthika, Publisher and Chief Editor, HarperCollins India
Outlook, 13.04.09


The profile of the railway traveler has changed-especially those who travel by Shatabdis. They are educated, middle-class professionals. And more of them are travelling by train than ever before. Publishers are eager to catch their eyeballs.

Anantha Padmanabhan, Vice President, Sales, Penguin India
Outlook, 13.04.09


"In the present scenario, we have observed that publishers are conservative about the choice of books they produce. The level of risk-taking has gone down and until the market recovers, they are going for mass-market choices."

Akshay Pathak, Director, German Book Office
Financial Chronicle, 29.06.09


"At a micro-level, more books have been published on the world economic situation and books such as Paul Krugman's Return to Depression Economics have been snapped up by people wanting to find out how to cope up with the new situation."

Mike Bryan, CEO and President, Penguin Books
Financial Chronicle, 29.06.09


"To tide over our business through retail chain stores, we are going to new markets. We are now looking to smaller, local distributors in the country and working in collaboration with institutions to customise to their demands".

Sunil Patki, Managing Director, BPI India
Financial Chronicle, 29.06.09


"Enrolment in educational institutions only grows up during periods of recession. As such our operations have not been affected by the slowdown".

Rekha Natarajan, Sage Publications
Financial Chronicle, 29.06.09


"This year there have been several books on the Kashmir issue, Maoists and Naxalites and the current politics around us. Our literary works are reflective of our society."

R. Sriram, Founder of Crosswords
DNA, Mumbai, 27.06.09


"Software engineers have reduced the frequency of their trips to book stores since the recession."

Vidya Virkar, MD, Strand Book Stall, Bangalore
The Financial Express, 28.06.09


"The main slowdown has come from book retailing. In the last two years, we saw many large format stores open in metros and mini metros. That expansion was put on hold late last year. Book retailing took a big hit."

Kapil Kapoor, Director, Roli Books
The Financial Express, 28.06.09


"People are feeling the pinch of money and are becoming judicious. However, with a little more time at their disposal due to cut in jobs, they prefer to read."

Ravi Dee Cee, MD, DC Books
The Financial Express, 28.06.09


"Non-fiction is picking up. The Secret by Rhonda Bryne continues to be on the bestseller list. Self-help books provide people solutions to their difficulties."

Anuj Bahri, CEO, Bahrisons, Delhi
The Financial Express, 28.06.09


"Marketing has become very big. It is the most important part after editorial. There are so many writers and you have to distinguish yourself."

V. K. Karthika, Publisher and Chief Editor, HarperCollins India
The Week, 05.07.09


"The stakes are much higher now. Even writers like Amitav Ghosh have to promote themselves. Publishers want to ensure that they get their money's worth, too."

Renuka Chatterjee, Chief Editor, Westland
The Week, 05.07.09


"The major demand in India is for books that are connected to the syllabus somehow, or to the knowledge greed of the parent - so innovation is not really required, and content remains fairly standardized."

Madhu Singh Sirohi, TERI Press
The Hindu, 07.06.09


"Though the Indian art scene is lively and brilliant, there's lack of understanding how children's picturebooks work. Publishers rarely involve illustrators in the creative aspect of putting a book together. We don't even realise how vitally important a layout is - we simply get artists to work separately on their drawings and then somehow insert them in between text."

Anita Roy, Editor, Young Zubaan
The Hindu, 07.06.09

Children's Books by Nita Mehta Publications
Nita Mehta, the renowned cookbook author, has now entered the children's book publishing scene. These books are written in a simple language, with large illustrations that would appeal to children. She has already published 60 such books with genres ranging from mythological to historical.

Innovations in Children's Books
The website IandMyStory.com now makes it easy to make your child the protagonist of a story. You simply log on to their website, choose the story and fill out a form with personal details of the child and you receive the book within a week. The website has been launched by Delhi's Virtual store, in partnership with Vienna's AIV Ventures. As of now the website offers eight stories that can be 'individualised'. The titles are available for two age groups: 5-8 years and 9-12 years. Hard back books are 9"x12" and priced at Rs 389, inclusive of delivery.

An Indigenous Self-Publishing Website
IIT graduates, Jaya Jha and Abhaya Agarwal have founded pothi.com, a print on demand (POD) service. They provide a simple cover design tool, a price estimation tool and an online store for marketing the books. One can print according one's own requirements and budget, and each book printed can also be personalised.

Dolphin Publications Stocks High End Books
Indus, the bookstore at Grand Hyatt luxury shopping mall, now stocks collector's books like the two feet long definitive biography of Pele. Earlier these books were only available on online stores like amazon.com but they have now been brought to India by Javahar Gangadharan, Director, Dolphin Publications. Handsomely priced between Rs 55,400 and Rs 1 lakh, these books will attract collectors and enthusiasts alike. Gangadharan, plans to hold an auction to attract attention to these books.

Booker Cash and Carry Stores in India
The Booker Group, UK's leading cash and carry wholesaler will be setting up shop in Mumbai in the next few months. They establish the chain stores through the automatic route 100% by FDIs. They plan to set up about 20 stores in cash and carry format in India in the next five years.

Railway bookstall makeover
Railway bookstalls across the country have undergone a quiet but aggressive makeover with bigger publishers waking up to the potential of what was until recently treated as a little cottage industry. Gone are the days when travelers could only find Mills and Boon romances and James Hadley Chase novels among the flurry of magazines. Big publishers are now targeting the readers at these stalls and one can find the most recent of titles available there. Arvind Sharma of A.H. Wheeler and Co. who run bookstalls across North India, says, "Authors who do well in the market find a place in our stores-whether they write bestsellers or more serious fiction."

From manuscript to E-book
A number of international publishers have now been bitten by the fast forward bug as they try to make the most of a book while the situation it depicts is still fresh in public memory. Some believe that it is the effect of the 24-hour news cycle while the fast forward publishers like PublicAffairs, say that, "People can't wait a year to get timely information on critical subjects." On the other hand many publishers maintain that books are not meant to chase headlines. While the argument continues, books like Barack Inc:Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign, have already hit the market in e format within a month of them being submitted to publishers.

The Gita Deck
India's age old wisdom in the form of the Bhagvad Gita, has been reinvented or couched in many modern ways. The most recent to hit the bookshelves is a 68 card Gita Deck. Each card contains a verse of the Gita and has beautiful illustrations on it.

Comics-A click away!
A number of comics publishers have put up their websites to attract children and keep them updated as to their new works. The growing list includes Raj Comics, Hindi Comics, and Amar Chitra Katha. A unique site called webcomics.com also guides new aspirants in building their own comics website! The addresses are http://www.rajcomics.com , http://www.hindicomics.com, and http://www.amarchitrakatha.com Join the bandwagon!

Current Books changes from partnership to corporate identity
Current Books, established in 1952 as a publishing concern, has been changed to Current Books India Pvt. Ltd. They publish Fiction, Literary Studies, Children's Literature, Poetry, and books on Self-Help, Indology, History, Culture, Feminism, Religion and Mythology, Popular Culture.

Mapin Publishing changes address
Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd. was established in 1984. It publishes books on Indian art, culture, history, biography, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reference books and New Age writing. The publishing house has changed its address to 502, Paritosh, near Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Usmanpura River Side, Ahmedabad 380013, India. Tel:07940228228, Fax:07940228201; Email: mapin@mapinpub.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



"First of all, I must thank you profusely for a very useful course on editing which was attended by all the participants with great enthusiasm. It was a huge opportunity for most of us to learn, not only from the guest faculty, but also from the useful inputs of the interactive participants, some of whom were quite knowledgeable and had good experience in the field. It is heartening to note that some of the participants are keen to extend the relationship forged during the course and have sent encouraging emails to all the colleagues in the course. The real benefits are likely to accrue from the intensification of the bonding developed in the course which may be, or rather should be, on long term basis. Each one of us should undertake to ensure that the value creation of the course should not deplete with the passage of time. We have to keep in touch and help each other in the realisation of our objectives for which we got together in those six days in early June, 09."

J K Mathur


Delhi State Booksellers & Publishers Association, Established: 1942, President: Parmil Mittal, Secretary: K. K. Saxena, Executive Secretary: Subhash Jain, Office: Own, Members: 350, How often do you meet?: Once a month; Activities: Primary; To promote and protect, by all lawful means the interests of the publishers and booksellers in relation to their business of supplying or dealing in books and also to create a healthy atmosphere for the sale and distribution of books. Secondary; To improve and maintain the status of the Books trade and its relations with other trades and the public and to promote fellow feeling among its members. Do you issue a newsletter? Yes; Language: English, Periodicity: Quarterly Address: 4760-61, First Floor, 23, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002, Email: info@dsbpa.in This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Phones: 43502211, 43568322, Fax: 011-43502212.
History: Delhi State Booksellers' & Publishers' Association came into being by force of circumstances. It was as early as 1942 (during the Second World War) when the Government of India promulgated an ordinance called "Anti-profiteering" ordinance. Under this ordinance the trade people were allowed just 15% margin of profit, over the landed cost.
This provision very adversely, affected traders, more so those traders who were NOT direct importers, but got their requirements locally from importers. This was particularly difficult in items of stationery in which some booksellers were also dealing. Government created an "Enforcement Department" who dealt with defaulters, very strictly and severely. To face this situation it was found emergent to get together and form some sort of joint body. As a result, to start with, just a few Booksellers like Oxford Book & Stationery Co., New Book Depot, E.D. Galgotia, S. Chand & Co., Dhoomimal Ramchand etc., got together. Mr P.J. Vachani was the first convener and to start with meetings were arranged in his house in Connaught Circus. Later on meetings were arranged at business premises.
Thus, just a handful of people started the Association. When it came to making it a regular Association with its constitution, memoranda etc. it was felt that business people dealing in stationery exclusively should be separated from Booksellers and they should form a separate "Stationers' Association."
Thus came into being the "Delhi State Booksellers' Association", with just about half a dozen members or so. Mr Sital Primlani was appointed its first President with an Executive Committee to help him. Once the body was formed it started growing stronger and stronger by the relentless efforts and sincere hard work the Association was doing, and people started joining the Association. Then came the Partition of India. Many booksellers flocked into Delhi and some, like The English Book Store, Rama Krishna & Sons, and scores of others joined the Association.
It was felt later that publishers should also be brought together along with the booksellers; more so as some of the booksellers were also engaged in publishing. Thus the name "Delhi State Booksellers', & Publishers' Association" came into existence. A Constitution and Memorandum was framed and the association which started with a handful of members has since grown and now has over 300 members, and is doing extremely good work. It has acted as office of the secretary GOC for about 4 decades. Today DSBPA is recognised by all Government departments, universities and its allocated colleges.


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