|Vol. 6 No. 7-8; June- July 2012
|Dear Publishing Professionals,
June was a hot, hectic and eventful month; come july the rains are here and weather is much better.
The publishing industry remains vibrant and interesting through out the year!
University of Calcutta in collaboration with National Book Trust and
Publishers & Booksellers Guild,
Kolkata has started P.G. Diploma course in Book Publishing
Studies for the session 2012-2013. I hope the
PGDBPS will have a good response as this is a unique
course and one of its kind. Moreover, publishing
is not only a respectable and financially
rewarding career option but is a dynamic industry with a high
demand for skilled and well-trained
professionals. I am sure this course will fill this vacuum by some
For more details visit their website www.caluniv.ac.in/academic/csbp.html
holding the first Publicon last year, FICCI has announced the IInd
Publicon 2012 on Digital Publishing
from 3-4 September. They have invited papers on various aspects
of Digital Publishing by August 10.
Leonard Fernandes of Cinnamon Teal has also announced the second
conference of Publishing Next
in Goa to be held from 14-15 September. This time there will be more
sessions. For details visit their website
Registration is open for both the conferences.
These developments will help in bringing professionalism to the publishing industry.
My friend Amar Nath Varma has completed 60 years in the book industry I have written about his journey in the following pages.
have interviewed Mr Rajinder Kumar Gupta of Laxmi Publications, he is
one of the Czar's of Indian publishing. I hope you enjoy reading about
him as much as I have enjoyed interviewing him.
with R.K.Gupta, a leading educational publishers.
Q. How did you come into publishing when you have studied Engineering and were in service in Ranchi?
Ans. Yes, I did Mechanical Engineering and joined the Heavy Engineering
Corporation at Ranchi. After working for a year I was not comfortable
in a job and so I resigned and joined my father’s business in 1973.
Q. Was your father in the publishing business?
Ans. My father, Late Sh. Har Prasad Gupta was working as clerk in civil
services of the Indian Army. He resigned from the Army in 1946
and started Laxmi
Kitab Ghar at Sonepat, Haryana as a bookseller. The partition of India
took place in 1947 and all schools and colleges were closed for a year
the mass migration. There was no business and my father started
newspapers and magazines to sustain. As people settled, educational
institutions started opening
and my father’s business began. He started publishing
school books, written by local authors and for
local schools of the district only. He
also started some textbooks in Mathematics for undergraduate
classes written by
local lecturers. He started a branch in Rohtak in 1960 and then in
1963 as these cities were the educational hubs and whole sale markets of
books of that time.
With three places of selling, his self-confidence grew and he
started publishing more Mathematics
textbooks for under graduate classes of Panjab
University. At that time there was one single university
of the Punjab (Punjab,
Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh at present). He started with
Solved Series in Mathematics and then in other subjects. My older
brother Sh Suresh
Chander Gupta joined my father in 1960 and I joined him in 1973. My
father also started a branch
in Delhi in Chawri Bazaar in 1971. In 1977, my father
divided the business among his 3 sons and
gave us equal share -so I started Laxmi
Publications and my elder brother started Saraswati House.
Our younger brother Madan
Gupta was with our father. My father also started a small printing
press and book
binding house just to meet our requirements in 1954 at Sonepat and ran
it till 1990.
He passed away in 1995 at the age of 77 years. Our younger brother
couldn’t continue to
run these due to his health problems.
Q. How did you come into limelight as a publisher ?
Ans. After publishing of some books for schools and some Mathematics
textbooks of colleges, my father thought of publishing solved series
books in Mathematics for under graduate classes of Panjab
University. He being an
established and number one bookseller of Sonepat had knowledge on which
more. At that time the two most popular solved series in market were
by Gill and Made Clear by Arjun Singh published by publishers of
Jalandhar. He was looking for
a well established Author. But no author was ready.
Finally he took a risk on a young person of 25
years of age, N.P. Bali, who had never
written a book but was popular among college students of
Gurgaon as a tuitionist. At
that time he had passed only B.Sc. He wrote one book on Dynamics for
B.Sc. Ist year,
which was part of 6 books series (Algebra, Coordinate Geometry etc) in
and was published in 1965. That book sold well in the first year itself.
That boost the morale of both
of us—new author and a new publisher and he completed
series of 20 book on Mathematics for the
classes Pre-university, B.Sc. Ist, 2nd and
3rd years (At present classes XI, XII and 2 years of B.Sc.).
Within 2 years that
series, named Golden Without Tears by N.P. Bali became number 1 in
3-4 years, my father stopped retail business and became well
established as a publisher.
Q. How has your journey in publishing been?
Ans. I learnt the minute details of publishing from my father and
having an engineering mind, I learnt fast. We got some books as our
share from father in 1977 and started publishing school, college
level text books and
guide books in various subjects. Now we have 11 branches in the major
capitals of India. This way we are able to reach our customers easily
and get our books adopted
throughout India. We have more than 50,000 sq ft space in
Darya Ganj, the hub of Indian publishing
in New Delhi, for our head office and
publishing units and godowns. The space is owned by us
and not rented. All our
branches are housed in our own properties having 70000 sq feet area all
We don’t believe in renting a place right from the beginning which has
paid well. I am
enjoying my journey in publishing.
Q. Which is your bestselling title?
Ans. We have 20-25 titles which sell more than 30,000 copies a year.
However, our bestseller is ‘Fluid
Mechanics’ by Dr R.K.Bansal. We sell more than
100,000 copies of this title in a year. We first
published this title in 1984 and
sold only 700 copies in the first year. With the passage of time
and having the best
content, we are now selling more than hundred thousand copies a year.
royalty of the author is more than Rs 80 lakhs. This book has a unique
history. When I first
approached the author, he was a young energetic professor of
Delhi Engineering College and I
asked him if he is writing any book. He told me that
he is but will not give it to me as I have no
standing in the market for Engineering
books. I told him that the established publishers have already
published on the
subject and they will not be interested and even if they take it up,
they will not
promote it whole-heartedly whereas I will promote and go out of my way
to get it adopted. On this
argument he finally agreed and I gave him a token advance.
The rest is the history. Both of us are
Q. How many major publishing units do you have?
Ans. We have two -Laxmi Publications which my older son Saurabh Gupta
is looking after and New Age International which my younger son Saumya
Gupta is looking after. We took over the company
in 2003 from an advocate Mr. Desai,
partner of Mulla & Mulla Co. Mumbai. Both the companies publish
educational textbooks and compete with each other as well.
Q. Do you export your books?
Ans. Yes we export all over the world but not in large quantities.
Recently we have completed a World
Bank project in Ethopia, for printing books
according to their curriculum to the tune of Rs 20 crores.
Q. What is your annual turnover?
Ans. We have crossed over Rs 100 crores in 2011-2012 in both the
companies. We have been quoted as among the 500 fastest growing
companies in India by Inc, India 2011 (Indian edition of Inc.
the leading US magazine
that focuses on entrepreneurship and growth) and we are at number 372
according to the journal.
Q. Are you starting ebooks?
Ans. Yes , at the moment we are not that active but have started. Finally we will have to do it.
Q. Do you publish Sanskrit books?
Ans. Yes, again it has a story which I would like to share. Kurukshetra
university changed the syllabus of mathematics in 1974. I wanted to
have it as early as possible so that we could prepare the books
well in time. I went
to Kurukshetra and met a board member, Mr. Parmanand Gupta, who was kind
give me the same. So just to thank him I asked him if he was writing any
book which I
could help publish. He told me that recently Hitopadesh had been
introduced in the syllabus and
he could write a textbook on the same in Sanskrit. I
thought about it and agreed to publish the
same just to make connections with him.
That book was a hit in first year itself. After that we have
published many books in
Sanskrit by the same author which sell reasonably well.
Q. What is your actual role in the publishing business?
Ans. I look after the editing of the textbooks, see if they cover the
curriculum and take decisions on what to publish and what not to
publish. Here I would like to share an experience. When I contacted Dr.
in 1984 for the book; “Fluid Mechanics”, he had already worked very hard
the same. When I glanced through the text I told him that you have
covered the examples but
have not given the theory - so the students will have to buy
two books -one for theory and one for
examples. But if it will cover the theory then
the students will be buying only one book and also
no book in market is available
which has only theory. After discussions he agreed and worked for
three months on the
manuscript and wrote the theory part as well. The book became a
Q. Any landmark decision in publishing which paid well later on?
Ans. In 1990 Central Board of Secondary Education invited books of
classes XI & XII in almost all subjects. We submitted the same and
our books were approved, and we were able
to sell quite a lot and continue to do so.
We also published guides (Reference Books) on
the subjects which are regular sellers.
We don’t have to do anything and these sell automatically due
to its contents.
Booksellers come, pay in cash and get the books. No samples, no
no efforts in getting these recommended and selling well year after
year. Our guides are popular
throughout India since 1990.
Q. What according to you is a good textbook?
Ans. A book which helps the student and sells well is a good book.
Q. How is life and how it is going?
Ans. Life is fine. Saurabh is staying with me and Saumiya my younger son, who stays in Noida brings my lunch to office.
Q. Do you have any hobbies?
Ans. I used to love skiing in my younger days and formed the Ski
Association of Delhi in 1982 and became it’s secretary. In 1985 a few
well-known people of India formed the Winter Games Federation of
India headed by Mr.
K.P.Singh Deo, state defence minister Govt. of India. In 1992 I became
this and became it’s secretary in 2002 till 2010. In 2006 I was
appointed Chief de Mission for
Winter Olympics Torino and again in 2010 for
Q. What is your daily routine?
Ans. I still work for 10 to 12 hours a day and enjoy doing the same.
STAR PUBLICATIONS COMPLETES 60 YEARS
Mr. Amar Nath Varma made a small beginning by launching a bookshop in
the by lanes of old Delhi in 1952. He started publishing Star Pocket
Book series in
1958 in Hindi and Urdu. He also started make your own home library Apne
Ghar Mein Apni Library Yojna. It became a success
and enrolled several thousand
members in a few years. Star group became a Pvt. Ltd. Company in 1969
and moved to a specious office at Asaf Ali
Road in central Delhi. Star started to
promote and marketing Hindi as well as other regional languages books
not only in India but all over the world.
Star was the pioneer in organizing a first
exhibition of Indian publications in China in 1981 and opened a new
market for Indian publications. In 1984, with the success of marketing
language books in UK and Europe started a regular bookshop in London, UK
under the banner of Indian Book Shelf which is being managed by his son
Sunil Varma. In 1996 started a manufacturing unit
under Star Print O Bind for
providing print services to publishers in the world. Star publications
bi-lingual dictionaries and have brought out seventy such dictionaries
in more than fifty languages.
The group also started a stationery shop The Writing
Shop in south Delhi in 2011 and has also started
manufacturing office stationary for
distribution to the corporate and in the export market. The Star group
years and is being assisted by his sons Anil Varma who looks after the
export marketing, Sanjay Varma looks after the manufacturing unit and
finances. The Star group has many
plans in the times to come for their growth.
This e-journal is brought to you by INSTITUTE OF BOOK PUBLISHING www.ibpindia.org
Please re-distribute freely to your industry friends. Please Click Here to send your comments and suggestions.
|For previous issues of Publishing Today, Please visit www.ibpindia.org
|Our www.ibpindia.org newsletter policies:
1. The www.ibpindia.org newsletter is provided free of charge, and you are under no obligation to buy anything.