Sterling Publishers
Vol. 2 No. 6 May 2008
ONE TO ONE - Interview with Mr. J. P. Vij.
Green Publishing the TERI way
Delhi’s First Book Mall in Ansari Road
Chandamama turns 60 years young
HarperCollins India and Mapin Publishing join hands for illustrated folk tales

Stanza Publications releases 4 volumes of short stories by women

Amit Chaudhuri to judge Man Booker
PreMedia buys GGS Book
Tata Trent buys Landmark
Activair is bought
Amsterdam declared World Book Capital
Change in postal address
Karachi International Book Fair 2008
Hemu Ramiah
C. K. Prahalad
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Dear Publishing Professionals,

The World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April unfortunately went unnoticed, failing to make any impact on the Indian readers, authors, librarians, publishers and booksellers. However, the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) and Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO) in their characteristic style, jointly celebrated by organizing a panel discussion and a video presentation of copyright and its various aspects. They also donated books to 25 students belonging to the weaker sections of the society. Publishers and Booksellers Guild, Kolkata celebrated by organising a week-long book fair to encourage the small and medium publishers by giving them equal opportunity to share space with the larger publishers. Also some authors were interviewed by newspaper journalists. But despite all the above efforts, the celebrations were far from spirited. They were a remote relative to the way the World Book Day is celebrated in Spain. People here celebrate by gifting books to their loved ones accompanied by flowers. The spirit of the celebrations brings the city to a virtual standstill and the festivities continue till midnight. Let us also strive towards such a future in which our love for books abounds with joy and celebration. With talks going on for having our own Book Day instead of 23rd April, we are surely heading in the right direction. Though it does not really matter when it is celebrated; what matters is how it is done and what impact it leaves behind. This may need ample planning in advance

But the good news is that the reading habit is catching on, and cashing in on this ever increasing book craze are the bookstores. From malls to corner bookstores at gas stations, book retail as part of the lifestyle basket is constantly gaining ground. Almost all established names in the business have readied their expansion road maps. Odyssey, a Chennai-based company is starting their mega bookstores and the first one is coming up in Connaught Place, New Delhi having a floor area of 28,000 square feet.

April also witnessed the London Book Fair, held from 14 to 16 April—short and sweet. A total of 27 Indian participants consisting of publishers and print suppliers exhibited apart from many trade visitors from India who visited the mega event. This year they increased the total space area of the fair, with the fair being organised at a single level as opposed to the multilevel arrangements made in the previous years. This was made possible by adding Earls Court Two to the existing area. A lot of new features too were added to this year’s fair. Three new seminar streams – Digitization, Children’s Books and Publishing, and TV and Film were added to the already existing seminars on international publishing, market focus, and book selling and librarian focus sessions. This year the Arab world was the market focus country and evidently most of the trade people (publishers, booksellers) were from the Arab world and were also seen at the negotiating tables of the exhibitors.

This month I interviewed Sh. Jitendar P Vij–CEO, Jaypee Brothers, the leading medical publisher in Asia.

“No competition in the field of medical publishing,”
says J. P. Vij.

Q. You are one of the leading medical publishers in Asia. Tell us about the journey?
It all started way back in 1950 when my father, Late Sh Sohan Lal Vij, started Vij and Rama Publishing House in Ludhiana where he began publishing technical books. He went through a lot of ups and downs during his lifetime. In 1957 he published a large number of Engineering textbooks and unfortunately the syllabus changed as a consequence of which he had to wind up his business and join Atmaram & Sons as production manager in Delhi. In 1969, my father (founder) and I (co-founder) decided to try our luck a second time and we re-established our publishing business. Thus was born Jaypee Brothers. But as fate would have it, in 1972 my father passed away from a heart attack at a young age of 48. I was only 16 years old then and was working and pursuing my graduation through correspondence from Delhi University. But I did not give up and my hard work and patience paid off. We now have 10 offices in India and this year started an office in St. Louis, USA. Our US office looks after the promotion and acquisition of manuscripts.

Q. What made you opt for medical publishing?
In 1969, when we started Jaypee Brothers, there was no competition in the field of medical publishing and also there was a huge demand for books on hygiene, public health, and other allied subjects. This is what prompted us to take up medical publishing and so far we have been very comfortable in pursuing this specialty and can boast of around 250 titles in a sub-specialty area like ophthalmology alone.

Q. What areas of operations do you look after?
I basically take care of the US and UK markets to interact with top international publishers for joint ventures and other future plans. Back home I am the planner of the organization.

Q. Which is a winner—publishing, importing or distribution of medical books?
Of course publishing; however, we do import a large quantity on an exclusive basis from McGraw Hill (USA), Hodder Arnold (UK) and FA Davis (USA).

Q. How many new titles do you publish in a year and what was you major title in 2007?
We publish around 300 titles in a year. Some of the titles are selling large quantities of up to 50,000 copies. There are a large number of titles which are really selling excellently in this part of the world.

Q. Which was your first medical book published?
We published A Guide to Pathology in 1969. The book was written by a student and for students, and the book is still going strong and the author revises it as the need arises.

Q. Does your list focus on text books for medical students or on reference books for doctors?
Both. We have a wonderful mix of text and reference. We have recently launched a video atlas containing DVDs related to various medical specialties.

Q. Do the publishers you import from help in marketing your books in their countries?
Yes, certainly. McGraw Hill, Lippincott Williams and Welkins, Hodder and Anshan distribute our titles on a selective basis in their countries. We also distribute some titles of Lippincot Williams and Welkins, Springer, Taylor & Francis on a nonexclusive basis in India.

Q. Have you developed any e-medical books? Tell us about your experience.
We are in the process of developing e-books in India. Our many books carry CDs/DVDs, and some books which are on-line are updated quarterly. Whatever books McGraw Hill distributes in the US are also converted shortly into e-books by them.

Q. You also publish medical journals. Tell us something about these.
At this time we have only three journals but we plan to increase to six in the coming year. Our journal, Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology has editors from Croatia and the US.

Q. Do you have doctors on your editorial board? Do they help you in selecting titles?
Yes, we have three doctors on our role. They help us with the editorial and also in sorting out the queries of our editors.

Q. Do you prefer selling rights or are you in favor of marketing your own editions internationally?
Whenever an English edition has to be sold, we prefer to sell our edition; otherwise, we are aggressive in selling translation rights in languages like Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish, Arabic, Polish etc., and have signed many agreements.

Q. Do you pay an advance against royalty to the authors or is it a one-time payment?
We do not prefer to pay advance royalty to the authors and neither are we interested in a one-time payment. We work purely on royalty percentage with the authors.

Q. What is the percentage of domestic sales to exports? Which are your major export markets?
Our major market is the domestic market and we have 80% sales in India and our exports are 20% of the total sales. However, the US and UK, Malaysia, South-East Asia are our major export markets.

Q. What special efforts do you do in marketing?
We organize international sales conferences in India every year where publishers from UK, US, Germany and other places participate and share their new programs for the year with our sales team.

Q. Any plans to go public?
Yes, maybe in a couple of years as the situation demands.

Q. Any new developments at Jaypee?
Recently, we opened our new office at the publishers’ hub at Ansari Road, which is equipped with all the latest technology. We have also started a company, AJR Medi Solutions—Publish Effortlessly by Outsourcing. The plan here is to take from the small publisher his burden and supply him with edited and printed books directly to his warehouse, as we, the bigger players have a better and suitable infrastructure to do this. The process includes, editing, pre-press, post-press, processing, data digitalization etc.

Q. In this age of acquisitions and mergers how is medical publishing fairing?
We have already initiated the process of acquiring small medical publishers in India and have recently added to our list, Arora Medical Publications, Lucknow. They have around 46 titles which are selling quite well in the market.

Q. What price did you pay for this acquisition?
I would not like to divulge into the details at this moment.

Q. Do you face any competition in medical publishing in India?
Not much. Most of the old publishers have now stopped publishing. They were previously based in Kolkata and Mumbai. We are now basically facing competition from the foreign publishers as they are reprinting their books at a low price in the Indian market. But this competition is very minor and does not affect our list.

Q. How would you describe a good book?
That’s a difficult one. I think the book which sells well and gives a real sense of satisfaction to the author, editor, and publisher that their efforts have borne fruit is in my opinion a good book.

Q. Do you find time to read and if so what is your preference?
Let me share my ‘browsing fascination’ with you. I browse through each and every book of mine. I am always excited when a new book comes and cannot sleep till I have browsed through each page of the book.

Q. Do your family members help you with your business? Also let us know about your family life and how do you enjoy your leisure time?
My wife, Raman Vij, is the director of the company and she looks after what the ladies like best – finance. She is a real motivation in my life. My son is doing graduation in publishing from Oxford Brooks in UK and will be joining me, shortly. I intend to send him for post graduation in publishing at the Imperial College, London in September 2008. He has already worked with Elsevier and Hodder Arnold for 6 months in UK.

Q. How was the idea to organize a cricket match during the World Book Fair conceived?
I was in UK with Philip Walter, Managing Director of Hodder Arnold and was discussing about our business plans when every 5 minutes he would go and check the score of an ongoing cricket match. He obviously was an avid cricket follower. I am also very fond of cricket and so we planned to organise a cricket match between Indian and foreign publishers at the time of the World Book Fair. That is how this cricket match idea was conceived and now it seems to be a regular feature at every New Delhi World Book Fair.

Green Publishing the TERI way
In an attempt to recognize the importance of sustainable development for a better environment in the future, TERI organized the first-of-its-kind event called Pathways to Green Publishing: A Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Ecological and Sustainable Publishing Practices, on 5 April 2008 in New Delhi. “The time has come to introspect on what to do in the publishing industry as cleaner and greener practices come up,” said Delhi’s chief minister Mrs Shiela Dikshit in her inaugural address. She urged the publishers and printing industry to look at ways and means to reduce pollution and to look into new technology to reduce the dependence on polluting know-how. Also speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of state for environment, Mr Namo Narain Meena said that in spite of the stringent government norms for the paper and pulp industry, the publishing industry requires to take a look at new technology and solutions to check pollution.

Some of the distinguished panel members included, Harsh Pati Singhania (J. K. Paper), R. Srinivasan (ITC), H. K. Dua (The Tribune), Sanjay Banerjee (Elsevier), Nuzhat Hassan (National Book Trust), Sumeet Anand (Argowiggins–Dalum), Ajay Shukla (McGraw Hill Education, India), Ravindra Kumar (The Statesman), Sanat Hazra (New York Daily News) and J. K. Dadoo (Department of Environment, Government of Delhi).

The bringing together of shareholders from different sections of the paper, printing and publishing industry; government; corporate organisations, academia; and media on a common ground, to express their ecological imperatives of sustainable publishing and printing practices was commendable on the part of TERI.

The day-long event aimed at finding some innovative solutions to the environmental hazards that are linked with printing and publishing in India. With the burgeoning industrial activities in the fields of paper, publishing and printing, environmental degradation has become the most critical area of concern and legislation. This event attempted to raise issues of immense concern related to the impacts of existing practices in paper, publishing and printing industries on some of the natural resources such as water and forests, and provided an interactive platform for the Indian entrepreneurs in these industries for discussing these key issues.

Recognizing the extent of environmental damage by the abovementioned industries the following alternatives were suggested by the participants to avert this trend:

  1. To reduce silver-containing wastes, it was decided to switch over to films that do not contain silver. Another commercially-viable alternative was the option of recovering silver from the waste water.

  2. The use of environment-friendly inks, for instance soy-based inks replacing oil-based inks or the use of water-based inks, in printing was considered. Also an improvement in the quality of inks would help curtail solvent emissions.

  3. Keeping in sync with the saying, ‘a sound mind develops in a sound body,’ the importance of providing a healthy environment to the workers in the printing industry was given attention, as they are the direct victims of toxicity.

  4. The various benefits of recycled products, especially recycled paper were also outlined. Recycled paper reduces dependence on landfills, increases the recovery of office paper, and reduces air and water pollution; hence, is attained the goal of waste reduction. Also the availability of tax incentives in recycling facilities would be a positive step towards green publishing.

  5. Another environment-friendly path is electronic publishing. A proximate linkage and a cooperative venture between the IT and the publishing industry could serve as an important move in the direction of green publishing.

All-in-all the event was successful in synergizing the efforts towards sustainable publishing practices and sensitizing the Indian publishing sector on various environmental implications of publishing and printing..

Let us join hands with TERI in this initiative towards pathways to green publishing and strengthen their belief of: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’

Delhi’s First Book Mall in Ansari Road
The Capital is all set to get its first book mall, a one-roof solution for reading enthusiasts and those in the book business. And what better location than Ansari Road, Delhi’s publishing hub. The 12-storey, fourtower mall will come up on a 10,000 square-meter plot, with two towers dedicated to publishing activities and a common bookstore and the other two towers will have institutions of art, culture, education and urban administration. The towers would also have museums and guesthouses.

This concept will not only provide Delhi with a common bookstore with subjectwise cataloging but will also benefit the publishers, as it would lead to healthy competition among them. Good going Delhi!

Chandamama turns 60 years young
One of India’s oldest children’s magazines, Chandamama, a Geodesic group company, recently turned sixty. It commemorated its 60 years by releasing an anniversary book — a 196 pages collector’s edition containing stories from the different genres that the magazine has published over the last 60 decades. The anniversary book was unveiled by superstar Amitabh Bachchan in Mumbai, a self-confessed fan of the magazine.

The once-fading title is all set to reinvent itself with an upgraded Web presence featuring interactive games and puzzles, downloadable wallpapers for cellphones and programmes on World Space Radio. To toast it, a 96-page comic book will hit the stands every four months starting April this year.

HarperCollins India and Mapin Publishing join hands for illustrated folk tales
HarperCollins India and Mapin Publishing have joined hands to bring out richly illustrated folk tales to reintroduce the past to children in the form of bedtime stories. In a bid to produce books that bring the rich art and culture of India to young readers, the new volumes cover a diverse range from traditional folk stories to books like The Kidnapping of Amir Hamza that retells a tale from the Hamzanama. This book introduces children to the creation of Mughal painting and also initiates them to ways of seeing Mughal art. Another book is the series is In the Indian Night Sky by Sapre, which retells Indian folk tales.

All books are priced between Rs 295 and Rs 395.

Stanza Publications releases 4 volumes of short stories by women
How different are the experiences of women living within different national boundaries — Iran, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Afsaneh: Short Stories by Iranian Women, a powerful collection of tales by Iranian women focuses on the theme of women leading estranged and desperate lives in a patriarchal and oppressive society. Richly evocative, this collection of stories conjures up the microcosm of daily life and the seasons in Iran.

Kahani: Short Stories by Pakistani Women, is an anthology in which each story reads like a veritable feast. There are a range of styles in the book from the prose poems to the seemingly moral ‘Grandma’s Tale’. The fact that the stories cover a stretch in time — 50 years — makes them richer.

Katha: Short Stories by Indian Women, contains a glorious variety of voices, some gravelly with ancient and well-worn pain, others speaking of more contemporary ironies. The collection has a composite range of themes and genres. An anthology like this proves that our hoary storytelling tradition will not suffer short-circuiting in a hurry.

Galpa: Short Stories by Iranian Women, is a collection of short stories spanning a 100 years of writing by women in a country that has been through many political and cultural upheavals. Upliftingly feminine, Galpa is, ultimately about women who break the shackles of conventional roles to liberate not just themselves but the reader as well.

Amit Chaudhuri to judge Man Booker
Writer, academic and musician Amit Chaudhuri has been chosen as judge for the 2009 Man Booker International Prize worth £60,000. The other members of the jury include writer Jane Smiley and writer, film script writer and essayist Andrey Kurkov. While the Man Booker Prize for Fiction is given to a winning novel that has to be written by a Commonwealth citizen, the Man Booker International Prize is much more global in character — any author from any part of the world whose work has been published in English qualifies — and the prize is given for a whole body of work rather than a single book.

The judges will draw up a shortlist of 15 authors they consider deserving and will have to meet and fight it out to decide which of their candidates finally emerges triumphant. The winner will be announced in the early summer of 2009. If the winning work is a translation, the winner can choose for the translator to be given a separate prize of £15,000. This is an important aspect for many regional authors in India, who feel marginalized because their work is not available in translation. “I am glad that Booker is doing something serious,” said Chaudhuri.

PreMedia buys GGS Book
PreMedia Global, a Chennai-based knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) company has added GGS Information Services Inc (US) to its series of overseas acquisitions. This is its fourth acquisition in the last 18 months.

This acquisition positions the company as a major player in the education publishing services industry. PreMedia has a revenue of Rs 150 crore and employs around 1,000 people both in the US and India. Both PreMedia and GGS Book will continue to operate independently for the near future. However, PreMedia will have the rights to continue using the GGS name and logo for an extended period of time. The company plans to enter new market segments such as magazines, yellow pages and corporate brochures.

Tata Trent buys Landmark
Tata Trent bought Landmark when Landmark Book Store promoter, Hemu Ramiah decided to exit the business. The seeds of the imminent sale were sown in May 2006 when Trent bought 76% stake in the company while allowing Hemu Ramiah to continue to run the business and remain as its chief executive officer.

Activair is bought
Publishing industry freight management specialist, Activair has been bought by an American-owned global logistics company, Barthco International. The new owner is a Philadelphia-based logistics firm dealing with customs brokerage and supply chain management.

Amsterdam declared World Book Capital
On April 23, World Book and Copyright Day, Amsterdam was officially crowned as the World Book Capital 2008. In May this year, coinciding with the Amsterdam International Literary Festival (May 18), the world’s largest book market (with over 1,000 stalls) will meander its way through the streets of the city.

Change in postal address

The postal address of Gyan Books has changed to the following: M/s. Gyan Books Pvt. Ltd., Gyan Kunj, 23 Main Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110002; Phone: 011-23261060, 23282060; Fax: 23285914; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

Karachi International Book Fair 2008
The organisers, after the success of their third Book fair have launched their next book fair much in advance from 26-30 December 2008. The stall rent for International exhibitors is $700 and a special discount of $100 will be allowed for full payment received by organisers till 30 August 2008.


Hemu Ramiah, has exited the Landmark Book Store business, lock-stock and barrel. She plans to start a retail design consultancy firm.

C. K. Prahalad, internationally-renowned management guru has been appointed as a non-executive director by Pearson — world’s largest education services company. Voted as “the world’s most influential living management thinker” recently, Mr Prahalad will join Pearson on May 1.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

–Henry Ford

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