Sterling Publishers
Vol. 2 No. 11 October 2008
ONE TO ONE - “Visibility is equally important as making new contacts at book fairs.” - Bipin Shah talks to S.K. Ghai about Mapin Publishing and the Indian Art publishing scene.
Adiga joins Club Booker
Publishers protest against SEZs and FDIs
Copyright age limit may exceed beyond 60
Now a Book City in Haryana
Madhushala on wood
Penguin India all set to explore Pakistan and West Asia
Avarna: Navayana Fellowships for Diversity in Publishing
Workshop by TERI and German Book Office
Young Publishing Entrepreneur Awards
Office bearers of FIP for 2008-09
Colombo International Book Fair
“21st Condensed
Course for

for details visit
Dear Publishing Professionals,

October is the month of the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF) – the biggest trade book fair in the publishing world, held from 15-19 October this year, the fair had 33 participants and 300 trade visitors (book sellers, publishers, printers, authors, packagers) from India. We hope these participants are able to make a mark for themselves on the world scene. The advantage of India being the guest-of-honour country in the 2006 FBF has neutralized and Indian publishing has to stand on its own feet.

Reconstitution of National Book Promotion Council

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India has decided to revive the erstwhile National Book Promotion Council (NBPC). I would like to take you back to the history of the council. NBPC was set up in 1967 to lay down guidelines for the development of the book industry in the context of the overall requirements of the country. The Board was subsequently reconstituted in 1970 and functioned until February 1974. A new body called the NBDC was set up on 15th September 1983 and functioned till 3 September 1986. Thereafter, the Council was reconstituted on 6 November 1990 for a period of 3 years i.e., up to 5 November 1993. The council was last reconstituted on 18 December 1997 for a period of three years i.e., up to 17 December 2000. Now, again after a gap of 8 years our Government has woken up and the council is being reconstituted.

Very little work was done from the year 1967 to 2000. At times the term would come to an end without the council members meeting even once. Though I do not want to sound pessimistic, I have very little hope that the present body will be able to do what its earlier predecessors have not been able to do.

There is a pressing requirement for:

• Developing the National Book Policy which is still to be developed even after 62 years of independence.

• A need to limit the role of FDI’s and MNCs in the publishing sector.

• Invalidating the recently hiked postal rates by the postal department by 800% for sea post parcel and 200% for air post packages. They have also reduced the weight of a packet from 5 kg to 2 kg and the earlier tariffs need to be revoked.

Let us hope the council is reconstituted at the earliest and succeeds in holding its inaugural meeting before the general elections in the country and whatever party comes to power, we hope, will strengthen the body before reconstituting it.

Starting from this month onwards, we decided to introduce a brand new feature – New Openings in the publishing industry. You are welcome to send us your requirements. This will be a no-charge service till 31 December 2008.

This month I interviewed Mr Bipin Shah of Mapin Publishing – a leading Art Books publisher in the country.

“Visibility is equally important as making new contacts at book fairs.”
Bipin Shah talks to S.K. Ghai about Mapin Publishing and the Indian Art publishing scene.

Q. You are a successful Indian Art publisher. Share with us your journey so far.
It’s been a fascinating journey exploring the richness of Indian art and meeting creative people. Charting unexplored territory and documenting it has been especially gratifying.

Q. From being a chemical engineer to a publisher? What made you enter publishing?
The roots of publishing were established in New York in the late ‘70s soon after I graduated from the University of Wisconsin. It was during an extended holiday in India that turned the tide away from chemical engineering to publishing. Publishing seemed more exciting than chemical engineering and I haven’t looked back ever.

Q. You also worked in New York for a few years with a publishing house. Tell us about your experience there.
I worked with a small art book publisher learning the tricks of the trade. The experience at Doubleday’s international division gave me the international exposure and the two together provided me with the vision required to build an international publishing company.

Q. In 2005 you launched MapinLit and in 2007 you began the children’s imprint. How has the response been and how many titles have you published in each?
MapinLit has not been very successful, although we have published about 20 plus titles. The children’s books have taken off the ground well as it fits in more with Mapin’s expertise. There are 4 titles in the market and 4 more will be coming into the market this fiscal year.

Q. How many books do you publish in a year and what is the average print run?
We publish about 10 to 12 art books in a year and the average print run is 2500 to 3500 copies.

Q. How do you market these books and how many sales staff and offices do you have?
We market through the usual wholesalers and retailers in the Indian market. Internationally, we use a pool of commissioned sales representatives through our stockists in the US and UK/Europe.

Q. You work in close cooperation with international art book publishers and museums. Who all have you worked with and what kind of a relationship have you developed with them?
The international market has been our focus since our first book was published in 1985. It is through persistent focus on quality that we have established a reputation of being one of the best Indian art book publishers. We also develop products of interest for international publishers. Working with and establishing a relationship with international museums was not an easy task. We have focused equally on the content, editorial and design aspects and then finally on production. All three components are important. We have been associated with some of the best names in the industry – Abrams, Abbeville Press, Prestel, Smithsonian Institution, Rubin Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, to name a few. What is really sad is that such a huge industry consisting of thousands of publishers does not have a single serious journal to address its common issues.

Q. Tell us about your participation and experience in international book fairs.
Frankfurt Book Fair, Book Expo of America (BEA) and London International Book Fair are important book fairs. Visibility is equally important as making new contacts at these fairs. Book fairs also help create new ideas for publishing.

Q. You once said in one of your interviews, “There is virtually no readership of our books.” How many copies do you manage to sell in India and how many do you export on an average? Which has been your best seller?
India: Art & Culture has been our best seller. On an average the Indian market absorbs about 50% of the sales, however, the numbers have been shrinking over the years.

Q. Art book publishing is an expensive venture. Do you tie up before publishing? Tell us how it works.
Yes, indeed; it is capital intensive to publish art books. Selection of subjects and timing are crucial. We try to co-publish with international publishers and museums, as far as possible. We also package books for international publishers.

Q. Though Delhi is the book capital of the country, why did you choose Ahmedabad as the head office of Mapin?
Today with emails, high speed cable internet, mobile phones and blackberrys it really does not matter where you are. Having said that, traveling is important to meet people across the table and discuss ideas and learn from others.

Q. What do you think has been the impact of globalization on Indian publishing?
Globalization has been good for Indian publishing. It offers us the opportunity to learn and connect with the international market. Indian publishing has made a limited impact on the international scene. We need to broaden our vision beyond our shores.

Q. How is your working relationship with Malika Sarabhai in running Mapin Publishing? How have you divided the work between the two of you? Who are the other family members who also help you?
Mallika Sarabhai and I started Mapin in 1985. She was fairly active for a number of years but now she contributes in a limited manner – by way of reading and editing manuscripts. Our son, Revanta who is trained in multimedia, occasionally designs books for Mapin.

Q. What books do you like to read and are you planning to write your autobiography?
I enjoy serious non-fiction and poetry. Not everyone should write their biography and certainly not publishers!

Q. How would you describe a good book?
A good book is one which opens a new window of your mind or brings in a fresh breeze of ideas.

My best wishes to you for your noble efforts.
Saniyasnain Khan Goodword
Excellent work! Try to make it fortnightly.
Sanjeev Malhotra
International Subscription Agency
I always look forward to the IBP newsletter – it gives a lot of information in a crisp and concise manner. Kudos to Mr Ghai for his efforts in creating such a platform for publishing professionals.
Sunita Pant Bansal, Director
Smriti Books
Sitting in Pakistan, it is a treat to read about the Indian Publishing world, go through the interviews of people who matter, and the icing on the cake came in the September issue with the ‘Man’ himself – S. K. Ghai’s interview. Keep the good work going. All the best wishes.
Abbas Jaffri, Director
Pak American Commercial Pvt. Ltd, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
The interview of Mr S. K. Ghai was very interesting and knowledgeable. In fact, the story of Sterling and Mr Ghai’s time management skills for publishing, writing and teaching were something worth reading and inspiring.
Manish Arora, Director
Universal Law Publishing Co.
Stories covered in IBP are crisp and informative. Keep it up!
Jitender Nangia, Cntry Manager (India)
World Scientific Publishing Co., Pvt., Ltd, Singapore
Packed with information. Keep up the good work!
Surya P. Mittal, Director
Peak Books Pvt. Ltd
Publishing Today is an interesting and informative newsletter; I would like to continue receiving it. Not only is it informative but it also revives very pleasant memories of my attendance at the Publishing Course of November 2002.
Batul Ali, Senior Editor
OUP, Pakistan

How to Market Books • Alison Baverstock • Size: 9” × 6” • Kogan Page • Pages: 336 • Paperback • Rs 395.00 • Available at Viva Books, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi

In publishing, the key to success is marketing and here comes a book which teaches all. The author unfolds all the secrets of marketing and distribution of books.

Publishing today is totally driven by marketing. It will not survive unless its marketing is totally effective, which means it needs to be professional, relevant, properly targeted, creative and innovative. Marketing has to be professional as well as even more imaginative to compete in all areas.
Successful publishing is and always will be about attention to detail.

The topics covered in this book are:

  • Marketing in publishing: what it means and what is involved
  • ‘The medium is the message’” how to reach the market and different types of promotional format
  • Techniques for writing effective copy
  • The layout and dissemination of marketing materials
  • Direct marketing
  • Using the internet to sell
  • ‘Free’ advertising
  • Organizing advertising and promotions
  • Organizing events
  • The bottom line: how to look after a marketing budget
  • Approaching specific interest markets

This book is a bible for practicing sales and marketing professionals, salesman on the job and for anyone wishing to enter or understand publishing.

Adiga joins Club Booker
Aravind Adiga won the prestigious Man Booker prize this month for his first novel The White Tiger. He won the $87000 prize for his book which talks about a protagonist who will use any means necessary to fulfill his dream of escaping his impoverished village life for success in the big city.

At 34, Aravind was the youngest of the finalists for the literary prize. Other authors shortlisted for the prize were Steve Toltz, Sebastian Barry, Amitav Ghosh, Linda Grant, Philip Hensher.

Some have accused Adiga, who lives in Mumbai, of painting a negative picture of modern India and its huge underclass. But Adiga said he wanted to write about all aspects of Indian society.

Adiga is the fourth Indian-born author to win the prize and joins compatriots Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai. A fifth winner, V. S. Naipaul is of Indian ancestry.

Publishers protest against SEZs and FDIs

The sale of books in special economic zones (SEZs) and foreign direct investment (FDI) in book publishing have caused a controversy to erupt. The government has set up a committee of senior bureaucrats to study the aspects, as domestic book publishers have complained that books published in SEZs are sold in India at a lower price, putting them at a disadvantage. The issue would be studied by a panel comprising Dipp officials, the commerce department and the information & broadcasting ministry. Non-governmental experts would also be included in the panel. It remains to be seen what will be the outcome of all the discussions.

Copyright age limit may exceed beyond 60
After Rabindranath Tagore, now it is the turn of Mahatma Gandhi’s works. The Navjeevan Trust and bodies connected with the Mahatma Gandhi literature are pressurising the government of India to enact a law for extending this time limit beyond sixty years. The cause of their panic is the lapse of the 60-year period of copyright on 30 January 2009. Instead of being worried about the works of Mahatma Gandhi coming out into public domain, the institutes in fact should view this positively. Gandhiji’s works have been the monopoly of the Navjeevan Trust till now and if exposed in the public domain they will get a big boost by the Indian publishing industry.

Now a Book City in Haryana
Following in the footsteps of UP, Haryana too is developing a publishing city in Kundli, adjoining the Education City (also being developed). The book city is being sponsored by HSIIDC (Haryana State Industrial Infrastructural Development Corporation). Mr Y. S. Malik, I.A.S., Commissioner and Secretary (Industires, Commerce & IT), recently had a meeting with the Federation of Indian Publishers for developing the publishing city. FIP assured them their full support and gave them the model of PUJU Book city, Seoul, Korea. The Haryana government is also talking to other publishing and printing associations.

Madhushala on wood
In Kanker district of Bastar, Chhattisgarh the locals of the handicraft training centre have taken up an unusual ask. Together they are bringing to life Madhushala – the famous poetic work of the eminent Harivansh Rai Bachchan on wood! Each day the locals painstakingly carve the well-known verses to immortalise them. Once completed, the work will be exhibited in Mumbai. This project is being headed by the local trainer, Mr Ajay Mandvi, who next plans to carve the Bible on wood.

Penguin India all set to explore Pakistan and West Asia
After having started operations in China and Korea recently and in Singapore in 2001, Penguin India is exploring possibilities to expand its business to Pakistan and the Middle East countries. “Though the overall sale of Penguin’s books in India is negligible compared to that of the UK and the US, India has witnessed a tremendous growth in the last 4 to 5 years,” said the Penguin India CEO and President, Mr Mike Bryan. The publishing house is currently witnessing a sales growth of about 22 per cent, which it attributes to expansions in the retail business and opening of more and more bookshops.

Avarna: Navayana Fellowships for Diversity in Publishing
In its effort to facilitate the training of five dalits/adivasis, Navayana is conducting for the fourth year now the PG Certificate Course in Editing and Publishing conducted by the School of Cultural Texts and Records (SCTR), Jadavpur University, Kolkata. The four-month (January-April) course has had a successful rate of placement (75 per cent) in the publishing industry.

Applicants are required to be below 35 years of age. The final five dalit/adivasi Navayana Fellowship candidates will be selected on the basis of a screening test at Kolkata in December 2008. The Navayana Fellowship will offer a stipend of Rs 5,000 per month for the four-month period. Besides Navayana will also pay the course fees of Rs 6,000. At the end of the course, Navayana shall make efforts to ensure the placement of the successful candidates in mainstream/alternative publishing houses. One of the candidates shall be encouraged to work with Navayana.

Applications from dalits and adivasis must be sent to the following e-mail address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it before 28 November 2008. For further details log on to

Workshop by TERI and German Book Office
TERI Press, the publishing arm of TERI and German Book Office will present a workshop titled Measuring the carbon footprint of the printing industry in India: Management of hazardous wastes in the printing process which will be held on 31 October 2008 at TERI, New Delhi.

The workshop attempts to bring together professionals from the publishing and printing industry. The workshop is aimed at providing a common platform to publishers and printers who would be interested in learning about the current hazardous practices in printing and how to overcome them including the management of toxic wastes.

For further details visit

Young Publishing Entrepreneur Awards

British Council has launched the Young Publishing Entrepreneur Award. Send your nominations / recommendations for the Award to Samarjit Guha at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Office bearers of FIP for 2008-09
In the recent elections held for FIP office bearers for the year 2008-09, practically the same team was elected except that Dr Ashok Gupta will be the Honorary General Secretary and Shakti Malik will be Honorary Treasurer. The remaining team is as follows: President: R. C. Govil; Vice-President: Narender Kumar (Diamond) (North), Jitendra Desai (West), Debajyoti Datta (East), N. E. Manohar (South); and Hony. Joint Secretary: Sudhir Malhotra.

Colombo International Book Fair
The 10th Colombo International Book Fair (CISF), held from 20 to 29 September 2008 was a grand success and neither the political insecurity nor the sniffer dogs were able to dampen the exuberant spirit of the visitors. The book fair has come a long way from 1999 when it had only 32 stalls to the present 478 stalls this year. During its nine days, the fair received more than 7 to 8 lakh visitors. India had 20 participants including Indian publishers and MNCs based in India.

The fair is one huge book shop. It is one of the leading book fairs in the SAARC region. Fair director, Shan Rajaguru called the fair “A celebration of books.” The participants did roaring business running into millions of rupees, as revealed by an anonymous source.

We are looking for candidates with excellent written and spoken English, proficiency in other international languages and a fine eye for detail, to work on reference and directory publications:

Editorial Manger: at least three years' relevant publishing experience.

Research Associates: educational background in political economics, with strong numeracy skills.

Researchers: would be of particular appeal to a now or recent graduate.

Remuneration will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Candidates should apply within 15 days to:

The Senior Editor, Taylor & Francis Books India Pvt Ltd, 912 Tolstoy House, 15-17, Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110 001; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The following positions are currently open with Sterling Publishers for their paperback division:

Sales: We are looking for confident, driven individuals with excellent communication skills willing to grow with the company. Candidates with an active sales background will be given preference.

Editorial: We require candidates proficient in written and spoken English with an eye for detail, preferably with previous experience in the publishing industry.

Remuneration will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience of the candidate.

Interested candidates are requested to send their updated CVs mentioning expected salary within 10 days to:

The C.E.O., Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd, A-59, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi 110 020; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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