| Vol. 3 No. 7 June 2009
| Dear < Publishing Professionals >,
We should be pleased that after long discussions and a number of
meetings IGNOU has finally announced the admissions for the Post
Graduate Diploma in Book Publishing. The last date for the receipt of
application is 30th June. We hope we can now have more dedicated and mature professionals coming into the book industry.
Intensive Course on Editing was held from 3-10 June and this year we
had 29 participants, aged from 23 to 50 years from all over India, Sri
Lanka (2) and Canada (1). The participants appreciated the selection of
the subjects and the faculty. We had selected young and not so young
faculty members but experienced ones who have spent their lifetime in
publishing i.e; Y C Halan, Sridhar Balan, B N Varma, Narender Kumar,
Sugata Mukherjee, Dr Malini Sood, Dr Dinesh Sinha, Prof. N N Sarkar,
Urvashi Butalia, Atiya Zaidi, Sugat Jain, Jaya Bhattacharjee, Kalyan
Banerjee, Neel Mason and Chikki Sarkar. (Comments from the participants
are given at the end.)
was in Vietnam recently and visited a few publishing houses. During
discussions I came to know that publishing is still state controlled and
there are 57 publishing houses in Vietnam. I was pleasantly surprised
that they also celebrate children’s day which is the start of their
holidays, on 1st of June by organizing children’s book
exhibitions, book readings, plays, competitions and many other
activities involving children. In fact I missed the celebrations just by
two days. Had I known earlier I would have planned my trip accordingly.
During my visit to Chennai I interviewed Mr Gandhi Kannadhasan and
completed the interview on phone and email. He is a well known,
successful, second generation publisher and President of Booksellers and
Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) and of Kannadhasan
with Mr Gandhi Kannadhasan, President BAPASI and Kannadhasan Pathippagam says;
A website is an investment and not an expense.
The goose is waiting to lay golden eggs.
All we need is patience, in conversation with S K Ghai Q.
Mr. Kannadhasan, I learnt that your father was a very learned author
and publisher. Can you tell us how he started and from where you took
A. My father, late Poet Laureate Kannadhasan, was a well known Tamil poet. He studied only till the 8th
standard and read most of the books of Tamil literature. He contributed
8,000 film lyrics, 3,700 poems and 267 books. He was a journalist and
publisher of a weekly, daily and also books.
He started the
company KANNADHASAN PATHIPPAGAM to publish his works. And when I was
studying Law in 1976 I took over the company, as the Law College was
only held in the morning. Q. When you came into publishing, was it your own initiative or at the insistence of your father?
A. It was my interest and my father encouraged and supported me. He also taught me how to proofread and edit manuscripts. Q.
You are a well established Tamil publisher. Please let us know about
your publishing house and what kind of books you publish?
are in the process of establishing ourselves. We have four branches,
strategically located in Madurai, Coimbatore, Puducherri (Pondicherry)
and Vellore. Our overseas branches are in Singapore and Malaysia. We are
concerned about translation in those countries. By 2010 we will have
three more branches and God willing, two more overseas. Q.
As you are one of the progressive Tamil publishers, an exporter, and
have two offices outside India, please let us know how the inspiration
came to you to start the offices and how successfully are the overseas
operations going on?
book publishers we are all fortunate that we are welcome wherever we
go. As part of the Knowledge Industry we are more respected than those
from other industries. My experience proves this. And our overseas
branches are focused not on marketing what we have, but on what we can
get from there and on giving them what they want. Hence, the market is
very friendly and gives us a lot of feedback. We are still in the
investing stage and returns are expected from the next financial year.
There is a very good Tamil population overseas and my father commands a
lot of respect from them. So the support already exists and all I have
to do is to channelise it. Q.
You are the President of Booksellers and Publishers Association of
South India (BAPASI). Please let us know when you took over this post
and what are the initiatives you have taken to improve the lot of the
Tamil publishing industry?
became the President of BAPASI in 2006, unopposed. The Tamil Publishing
Industry was growing and the support from the Government is enormous. I
merely stood between the industry and the Government and things
I am indeed very happy to say that all this happened during my tenure as President of BAPASI. Q. Under BAPASI you organize the Chennai Book Fair. Please share with us when it began and how it has come of age?
- A Bookpark in Chennai for all the Publishers and Booksellers in
Tamil Nadu. Land has been provided free by the Government and State Bank
of India (SBI) has underwritten the project of building. The process of
allotment is on and every publishing group in the association will get a
space in the park.
- The Government is setting up a Publishers’ Welfare Board and the
budget of 2008-09 allocated funds for it. It will be active by October
2009. We want to include binders also in this segment as they do not
have an association.
- The State Library movement was buying 600 copies of a title of Tamil
books for their libraries. And our Honourable Chief Minister Mr M
Karunanidhi, increased the number of copies to 1,000.
- The CM also increased the good books and authors award by the Tamil
Nadu Government to Rs 10,000 for the Publisher and Rs 20,000 for the
- During the Inaguration of the 30th Chennai Book Fair in 2007, our
beloved CM gave one crore rupees to BAPASI, from his personal funds to
create an endowment in his name and for giving cash awards of rupees one
lakh each to four Tamil authors, one author from other Indian languages
and one author hailing from India, who writes in English.
- Directorate of Rural Development is establishing 12,000 libraries in
all village Panchayats. The first phase of book purchase of 5,165
titles has already been done; and the next phase is on. The purchase
ratio is 85% Tamil books and 15% English books.
- On our request our beloved CM had issued a Government order to allot
two book kiosks at each bus stand to sell Tamil books in Tamil Nadu.
One will be allotted on first come first serve basis and another on the
recommendations of BAPASI. All the corporations, municipalities and
panchayats had been issued this G O. More than two hundred had come up
and many more are in the process. Estimated 1,800 to 2,500 shops may
come up by June 2010.
of BAPASI like Mr K Krishnamurti, Mr A Padmanabhan, Mr K V Matthew, Mr A
Abdulla, Mr N A V Subramanian, Mr S Chandrasekar and many more are the
pillars of the Chennai Book Fair (CBF). We had a very tough time in
promoting the Fair. BAPASI started in 1972 and the CBF in 1977.
We began conducting the Fair with 20 participants, even in drive in
restaurants. In 1985, we shifted the venue to Arts College on Mount Road
and the Fair grew. In 2007, in my tenure as the President, we felt the
need to grow and moved to the present venue at St George’s School on
Poonamalle High Road with 525 stalls and the 32nd CBF 2008 saw 630 stalls in over one lakh square feet area, with a sale of around 15 crore rupees. Q.
You are politically very well connected with the Chief Minister and I
learnt that he gave you a corpus grant. How do you utilize the same? Do
you give any awards to promote professionalism in publishing?
I have already explained we do not have an award as you had asked. But
you have given me a very good idea. We honour the veterans of this
industry but have no awards for professionalism. Thanks for the idea!
Q. How do you rank yourself in Tamil literary publishing? How many new titles and reprints do you publish each year?
am walking on a very comfortable path. The path was laid by the hard
work of the earlier generation publishers, many decades ago. They had
cleared all the obstacles and hardships. All I do is walk and run. Our
strength is in reprints. This numbers more than our new releases. We
release around fifty new books every year. Q. What is your policy on vanity publishing? Do you encourage it? If so, how many such books do you publish in a year?
far as vanity publishing is concerned, it is born out of the ego of the
writer. Because money or influence or power is involved, the publisher
takes it up. But the reader knows and does not buy. So the Government
buys out of the influence of the author or the publisher. So an
opportunity for a good book is lost. This will be the last thing I will
do as a publisher. Q. Do Tamil publishers use ISBN and barcoding? What effect has it had on the business?
A. Yes, we have started using the barcode and ISBN. The process has just begun and the effects are not visible yet. Q. How many new Tamil language books are being published annually?
we submit to the State Library, the statistics are available from there
and also from the submissions made to Delhi Public Library under the
Delivery of Books Act. The mandatory requirement for our submission is
around 4,500 to 5,800 titles annually. Q. What is the impact of globalization on Tamil language publishing?
from abroad and dealership enquiries. Tamil authors from abroad are
keen on having their writing published here as well as in their country
they are residence of. New authors, multinational players and Indian
players want to enter the Tamil book publishing industry. Already
Westland-Tata has come out with two titles of Sir Jeffrey Archer and he
himself released the Tamil translation of his book in Chennai a few days
ago. Communication with publishers abroad and authors has become
effective and fast. They have started to believe in Indian enterprises. Q. How do you think shopping mall culture has increased the sale of regional language books?
Landmark has two shops in two malls in Chennai. And they are doing
well. They sell Tamil books in good quantity. Tamil books have a
separate display area and it is wonderful to find people browsing
through them along with English books. Q. Many Tamil people are settled abroad. Do they help in the export of Tamil language books?
definitely. It is because of them that Tamil movies are released at the
same time throughout the world. And they also import books. But there
is no organized distribution network or organized retail. So, we are
trying to organize this distribution and retailing. When this is in
place, for export alone to the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, France,
Singapore, Malaysia and Australia we will have to increase our print
run by 5,000 copies. Q. How is your publishing house meeting the social responsibility towards society?
do certain things that are best left unmentioned, as there will not be
much value in what we do or have done, if we publicize it. But to
motivate others we mention a few. Our Central Prison needed books and
all our titles have been given free of cost and all new releases reach
them likewise. We have adopted three rural non-profit libraries and we
send ours, as well as other books to them.
We take care of our
employee’s children and their education. We are trying to give back to
this society as this society supports us by buying our books. Q. Tell us something about your website and online selling.
website is helping us to introduce us to our overseas buyer and rights
sellers. Nothing much; no online trading as our books are low priced.
But a website is an investment and not an expense. The goose is waiting
to lay golden eggs. All we need is patience. Q.
Do any family members help you in publishing? Also, do you find time to
indulge in reading for pleasure? If so, when, and which is the last
book you read?
son Murali Kannadhasan is engaged with me in this business and sits
next to me. He is an MBM from Victoria University, Australia.
He likes to publish, though he reads lesser and lesser. But reading will
catch up with him I suppose. Yes, reading is for pleasure. I loved
reading the book, The Secret; and I would love to publish it in
Tamil. But this comes second. Reading has made me what I am now.
Recently I read Sir Archer’s book translated in Tamil. Good translation
and well produced. Westland- Tata had done it. I wish all good books in
English could be made available in Tamil as the man in Kanyakumari also
needs it. Q. What would you consider a good book?
book is a good book. As the author who had penned it certainly
contributed something there that will be of your interest. But we do not
have the patience to read till we find what we want. It has to be on
the first page. When I was a boy, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
by Richard Bach was a talked about book. I read it without being able to
understand it. But I underlined some lines. I am surprised that they
reflect now in my life. All books are good. I love the pictorial edition
of Kamasutra. Books are a part of my life. Q. What is the controversy regarding the copyright of your father’s works with the state government?
I want to forget and I know that I cannot. Our core strength is my
father’s books, hence our cash bills are more than credit bills. My
father passed away in 1981. One fine day I saw in the evening papers,
that the Tamil Nadu Government wanted to nationalize the writings of my
father. I strongly condemned the move and issued statements in papers
and television channels. The Honourable Chief Minister was shocked to
see this and issued a rejoinder and the move was dropped.
wrong in going to the Press. When the CM treats me like one of his sons
and has given me all the support and encouraged me to do what all I
wanted, to the Publishing Industry, I had done him a wrong. This guilt
will live with me forever.
He is like a godfather to me. And I
am one of the very few who call him Appa, which means father. I should
have gone to him and told him about the move. His love for me is so much
that he calls me by my name wherever he sees me. When he talks to me he
always mentions some of the incidents he shared with my father.
This is what happens, when you are emotional and there are no elders at home to guide you. I miss my elders so much.
Publishing Perspectives – a weekly newsletter
On June 1st German Book Office (GBO) launched Publishing Perspectives,
a weekly international e-newsletter. The newsletter has as its stated
purpose, to help publishing compete in a global economy and advances the
importance of technology and international relationships to publishing.
The newsletter will be edited by renowned publishing journalist Edward
Nawotka. To subscribe, log on to www.publishingperspectives.com
| 7th IPA Copyright Symposium 2010 The
Copyright symposium will take place in Abu Dhabi from 28 February to 1
March 2010 on the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2-7 March
2010. Hachette India One
of the biggies of the international publishing scene, Hachette has also
dropped anchor on Indian shores in May this year by publishing its
first title My Friend Sancho, by blogger Amit Verma. Next in the pipeline is Madhulika Liddle’s murder mystery set in Mughal India. D N Malhotra, President Emeritus FIP on FDIs Fiery
as usual, Malhotra opposes the Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) in book
publishing as he believes that foreign publishers will eat into our
cultural entity and small publishers will be wiped out of business. He
feels that behind the façade of supporting fiction in Indian regional
languages, these international giants will make a bid to take over the
burgeoning textbook market of the country. According to him, the only
hitch in the plan of the foreign publishers is the lack of penetration
in the market due to the absence of an organized distribution network.
(Courtesy: The Hindu, Metroplus, New Delhi, 16.04.09)
GBO Booksellers Program The
German Book Office is instituting a week long program from 15-22
October coinciding with the Frankfurt Book Fair from 14-18 Oct with a
view to giving foreign booksellers an insight into the German Book
Trade. The program would also help them to efficiently import and market
German books. It will help participants garner experience and build
their own network. The last date for receipt of applications is 15 July
2009. Indian children’s book publishers’ delegation to Germany In
an effort to further trade relations in publishing, the GBO took a
delegation of 7 chosen children’s book publishing candidates from the
Indian publishing industry to visit Germany from 17-22 May. The
participants were: Madhu Singh Sirohi (TERI Press), Ravi DC (DC Books),
Gaurav Ghai (Sterling Publishers), Jai Saxena (BPI), Anita Roy (Young
Zubaan), Atiya Zaidi (Ratna Sagar) and Sayoni Basu (Scholastic India).
The publishers visited renowned German publishers like Oetinger,
Carlsen, Campus Verlag, Beltz and Gelberg among others. This visit will
hopefully result in more Indo-German publishing tie-ups, entailing the
exchange of culture, knowledge and literature. Moscow International Book Fair 2009 India
will be the Guest of Honour at the Moscow International Book Fair to be
held from September 2-7, 2009. This will be part of the year long
Festival of India in Russia. CAPEXIL will be giving the MDA grant for
participation in the Fair to its members. To make this a resounding
success, the National Book Trust (NBT) has designed an Indian
Pavilion—Books from India—where a collective exhibit of recent books
published in India in English, Hindi and other languages will be
displayed. For more details visit: www.mibf.ru Turin Book Fair 2010 India
will be the Guest of Honour in Turin Book Fair (Italy) in 2010. The
fair will be held from May 14-18. FIP will organise the Indian Pavilion
and will arrange the decoration and organize cultural events. The timing
of the Fair is from 10 am to 10 pm on weekdays and till 11 pm on the
weekend. A unique feature of the Fair is the International Book Forum, a
separate area specifically meant for negotiating rights to
publish/translate books. For more details visit: http://en.fieralibro.it Multinationals in regional language publishing A
welcome trend in bookshops and bookstore chains, is the increasing
visibility of regional language books. Multinational English language
publishers like Penguin and HarperCollins are dipping into the
potentially burgeoning regional language market. Both now publish
translations from world literature and original works in regional
languages—Penguin has a tie-up with Yatra Books and HarperCollins works
through its own Hindi imprint Harper Hindi. Minakshi Thakur, editor,
Harper Hindi says, “When you are publishing in India, doing English
where there are so many language writers and so much writing in Indian
languages, it sort of feels incomplete if you don’t enter the language
market.” Books as pieces of decoration Nowadays
book buying is sometimes governed by looks rather than literary merit.
More and more fancy offices and homes take the advice of their interior
decorators while buying books for display rather than be guided by the
literary or informative value of the tomes. As a designer puts it
“Coffee table books are usually display books. If you have a cabinet,
these are the ones that are displayed in front, and are not necessarily
read.” Raghu Rai’s India, Bachchanalia, Still Reading Khan, Illustrated edition of Kamasutra
and 88 Hussains in oil; top the list of such tomes. Even though
typically the sale of such books is slow, they are after all big ticket
items with prices ranging from Rs 800 to Rs 15,000. Fabindia to sell children’s books Fabindia
has tied up with Young Zubaan and Apeejay Press to enter the world of
children’s publishing. They will be bringing out new titles every month.
The books have been divided into categories like Pre-Scool, Early
Readers and Advanced Readers to suit various age groups from less than
three years to 12 years. They are working with authors and illustrators
whose works are about traditional Indian tales, colours and motifs. The
price range is from Rs 50 to Rs 450. NBT & UNICEF strengthen oral storytelling tradition The
National Book Trust (NBT) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
are collaborating on a project called ‘Documenting Oral Storytelling
Tradition (DOST)’. The project aims at scientifically presenting
children’s stories, puzzles, legends, folk and traditional games as
supplementary reading material. NBT Director Nuzhat Hassan said that
this initiative is in order to “attract children to the country’s
storytelling tradition.” DPB to publish Disney Comics in Hindi and Malyalam Diamond
Pocket Books’ children’s book division Diamond Junior has tied-up with
Disney for publishing Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Comics in English,
Hindi and Malyalam every month. The first two issues of each are in the
Sarah Odedina, publisher, Bloomsbury Children’s List will be in India
at GBO for the two day “Writing for Children Master Class” workshop (3-4
July ’09). Along with Anushka Ravishankar, she will be conducting the
workshop aimed at refining and deepening writer’s understanding of the
children’s book market. Sarah began her career in the rights department
of Penguin Books. She moved to being Rights Director non fiction and
Orchard Fiction in Watts Publishing Group in 1992. As publisher at
Bloomsbury she has handled the likes of the renowned J K Rowling. She
has extensive experience, both in editing and publishing new authors, as
well as in the selling and buying of rights.
The programme was excellently planned and organized. The course covered
editing in detail as well as other aspects of book publishing.
One remarkable thing I noticed is the active involvement of the
participants throughout the course. A number of queries were raised in
all the sessions... I also noticed that the attendance was almost full
throughout the programme.
Dr Geeta Rani Arora
I personally found the course beneficial for myself as now I am more
equipped to make things better for my organization and my team; as I
feel I can now guide them better... Also I liked the entire arrangement
and the time management was excellent. The faculty called was very good
This course... I feel will really benefit the upcoming talent and also give the industry better equipped people.
Another very important and praiseworthy point is your willingness to
accommodate requests and needs of the participants… When one of the
participants suggested that a real (and not virtual) trip could have
been arranged to a publishing house, it took only one minute for Mr Ghai
to invite participants to visit his publishing house the next day!
In a nutshell, the Course was very good, beneficial, and I feel very satisfied.
The course was enriching and well planned.
Indeed the workshop was an enriching experience. It gives ample
exposure to the participants, especially the freshers, to the varied
areas of book publishing and editing. For me it was a very insightful
experience as the sessions were conducted by well experienced and well
known names in the industry.
I have learnt so much and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.
Association of Publishers in India, (2001), President: Mr Sanjiv Goswami, Secretary: Mr Ajay Shukla, Joint Secretary: Ms Kalpana Shukla, Number of Members: 27, Office Address: C/O Cambridge University Press, Cambridge House, 4381/4, 3rd Floor, Ansari Road, New Delhi 110 002, Email:
, Phone: 011-23359946, Fax: 011-23358716, www.publishers.org.in, How often you meet: Monthly, Activities:
The Association represents and promotes by all lawful means the
interest of books, journals and electronic publishers and also protects
their interest by promoting India as a preferred destination for
production and BPO activities, KPOs, Intellectual Property and more
importantly, appraising the learned community about the development in
the Publishing Industry. • API also works together with various other
Associations such as American Associations of Publishers, Publisher
Association UK and helps the region in the implementation of
Intellectual Property Rights and helps in better understanding of the
requirements of the region as per international standards thereby
opening opportunities for further investment by Global Publishers in
India. • The Website is being developed to open up better communication
at the global level and will also help in making our activities
accessible. This website will also act as a forum for existing members
to highlight their achievements and activities and would also serve as a
source for news regarding the Indian Publishing environment. • API is
also a member of ASSOCHAM which in turn supports API on a larger
platform for liaison with the Government. • API has been interacting
from the beginning with various bodies, on issues relating to printing
such as piracy, EPZ etc. • API is committed to protection of copyright
of their members and fighting piracy, whereby promoting a healthy
business environment. • The association has coordinated various meetings
of the members of other associations during their visit to India. • Brief History:
Association of Publishers in India (API) was incorporated in the year
2001 and was registered under the Indian Society Act as a Society. API
is a representative body of foreign publishers to deal with all matters
pertaining to the promotion and advancement of the foreign publishers
with a presence in India, Do you issue a newsletter if so in which language and periodicity? Yes, we used to publish one organ of ours. It used to come out twice a year. Named after ‘PUSTAK BARTA’ in Bangla language.
Tripura Publishers Guild, (1990) President: Mr Samiran Roy, Secretary: Mr Subhabrata Deb, Number of Members: 25 Office Address: ‘Sanjib Villa’, J.B. Road, Agartala, Tripura-799001, Phone: (0381) 2307500, Fax: (0381) 2323468, Email:
, How often you meet:
Executive committee generally meet once in a month and general body
once in a year atleast besides Extra-ordinary General Meetings may be
called anytime to address different issues, Activities: Primary:
To Promote Book reading habit among the mass and to introduce writings
and writers of North Eastern states to other parts of India. To come
under one umbrella for betterment of publishing in the state. Brief History: Established
in the year 1990 with only 6 publishers of Tripura. It is an
organisation for publishers exclusively. At present it has got 25
publishers as members. It has a 9 member executive committee comprising 5
office bearers. It used to organise several Book and Publication
related programmes throughout the year besides organising seminars.
During the National Book Week it used to organise Agartala Pustak Mela
(14-20 Nov) every year for 10 days at the Agartala Rabindra Bhavan
Complex. Guild organises Book Bazar during World Book Day (23rd April)
every year. With collaboration from the National Book Trust India it has
already organised short term Publishing Course at Agartala for 10 days
also co-organised Manubazar and Dharmanagar Book Festival with NBT
Collaboration. Besides this, Tripura Publishers Guild Collectively
represents Tripura in the major Book Fairs of our country such as
Kolkata, Delhi, Guahati, Silchar etc. Guild members used to produce
atleast 300 titles every year from Tripura in Bangla, English, Kokborok
(major tribal language of Tripura) and other minority Tribal Languages.
Some of our member publishers used to publish science related books,
History based books and some concentrate on Literature and Translation
works. Do you issue a newsletter? If so in which language and periodicity?
The Bangalore Booksellers & Publishers Association (Regd.), C/O.
B.I. Publications Pvt. Ltd., 147, Infantry Road, Bangalore-560001,
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