Sterling Publishers
Vol. 6 No. 11 - 12, October - November 2012
ONE TO ONE with Ajay Mishra, a leading distributor, bookseller and publisher of Orissa
Publishing Industry Associations in New Zealand
Dear Publishing Professionals,

Frankfurt Book Fair 2012 was held from 10-14 October. This year New Zealand was the guest of honour so I am giving some interesting facts and an article about the book industry there from the literature I got from the fair authorities and the daily newsletters. Mr Kevin Chapman, president New Zealand Publishers Association and managing director Hachette NZ was responsible for organising it from NZ side. The Guest of honour programme has been long and varied. At the fair there were 70 writers and more than 100 performers from NZ who delivered at the special pavilion made at the forum.

I have also included an article by Vinutha Mallya‘s on 10 things you need to know about selling rights as FBF is primarily rights fair.

S. Chand group celebrated the birth centenary of their founder chairman Shri Shyam Lal Gupta ji (1912-1989) fondly called Babuji on 29 September at a grand function at FICCI. They also released a birth centenary volume, which highlights the achievements of Babuji as a publisher,educationist, parliamentarian and philanthropist. He published academic textbooks which replaced the foreign books being used in institutions in all subjects and exported these books to Africa and Middle East in large numbers, as an educationist, he established Shyam Lal College in Delhi and as a parliamentarian he was an active member and asked questions which helped the publishing industry. In recognition of his numerous achievements in different works of life, the government of India honoured him with Padmashree.

Sugata Ghosh vice president and commissioning editor Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd. since 2005 has moved in september 2012 to Oxford University Press, New Delhi as director academic books and journal publishing.

Unexpectedly I met Ajay Kumar Mishra a publisher in Oriya language and my distributor of academic books in Cuttack, Orissa at the Educational Conference organised by the Federation of Educational Publishers in India recently. I had not interviewed any body from that state till now so I decided to interview him for One to One. They are one of the organised, systematic and true to their words organisation in the state.

In 2013 Brazil will be the guest of honour at Frankfurt Book Fair, I will give some interesting insights of the industry in the next issue.

with Ajay Mishra, a leading distributor, bookseller and publisher of Orissa
SKG. Congratulations on getting awarded as the Distinguished bookseller of Eastern Zone from Federation of Educational Publishers in India. How do you feel about it?
We are very happy but we are missing our father,Late Shri Chandra Sekhar Mishra who passed away recently on 22nd September. We got the news when he was still alive and was looking forward to coming to Delhi to receive this award. Infact we also got an award from the Federation of Indian Publishers in 2007. It is good that our fraternity recognises our efforts and services to the industry.

SKG. Please let us know how your father started this business and when?
Our father did his graduation and joined theRailway Protection Force in 1953. He was among the only three candidates selected from Orissa. He served there till 1960, when he resigned and started his own business of cloth merchandising from Sakhi Gopal, a town in Orissa. He suffered some setbacks and closed his business and started a book selling concern A K Mishra Agencies in 1979. He practically started book selling from zero capital by borrowing money to buy the books, selling these and making a profit. He was very particular to clear the accounts of every publisher bill wise. I being the older son, also joined the business from the first day itself. My uncle Shri Mahender Nath Mishra also started a publishing house under the imprint of Lark Books but is not very active now.

SKG. I learnt that your father named all his children with the initials of A K. Any particular reason?
We are four brothers Ajay, Ashok, Arun and Amit and all our sisters initials are also AK. We have also named all our children’s initials as AK. A is the first initial of alphabet and K stands for Kumar for boys and Kumari for girls -so he kept the name of the all the children like that.

SKG. How you have divided the work responsibilities between the brothers?
There are three major departments i.e. Finance, Inventory and Selling- retail and wholesale. I look after retail selling and finance along with Arun. Arun and Amit look after inventory and stocks. Wholesale is being looked after by Amit and Arun, Ashok looks after the showroom at Bhubneshwar. In fact all the brothers look after the business together. All of us brothers stay together also.

SKG. How many publishers and distributors are you dealing with and where all do you distribute?
We are dealing with all the major academic and trade publishers and distributors in India -around 300 in all. We are catering to 400 booksellers throughout the state and also serve the institutions regularly. We have a turnover of around Rupees 20 crore ( 200 millions) only in Orissa, one of the not-so-developed states of India. Our Registered and Head office is in Cuttack in our own building having 20,000 sq ft area and a showroom in Bhubaneswar to serve our customers. We are planning to open branches in various cities of Orissa. We have a staff of 50 people working in the various departments.

SKG. Are you into publishing ?
We have started our own publishing by translating bestsellers in Oriya language. Our first book was Wings on Fire by the past President of India A P J Kalam. We have had five reprints and it is still selling. Seeing it’s success we have translated all the eight titles by A P J Kalam. Infact we have started paperback publishing in Oriya language. We started publishing under New Age Publications but now we have converted to A K Mishra Publishers (P) Ltd. We have our own DTP and editorial department but commission all printing to outside printers.

SKG. Do you have plans to start your own printing press?
We have no plans for a printing press at the moment.

SKG. What are your future plans?
We will be publishing mostly textbooks and selected trade books. We have joined hands with various publishers - Pearson, Macmillan , Viva, Manjul and Sterling. We are also associated with National Translation Mission, where we pay 10-15% royalty. We are publishing Indian Constitution by Austin (OUP), Outlines of Indian Philosophy by M. Hiriyana (MLBD), Early India by Romila Thaper and Political Theory by Sabine (Penguin) and Hemadpant‘s Sai Satcharita by Indira Kher ( Sterling) in near future. We are contented people but work hard for development. We are working towards getting ISO certification as well.

SKG. Do you have plans to start ebooks in Oriya language?
We will do that eventually but it will take time.

SKG. What are your hobbies?
I enjoy reading and travelling. I read nonfiction, biographies and original writing and travel almost every month on account of business and pleasure within India or in Orissa itself.

Our passion for the written word defines us as a nation. Publishing in New Zealand has long been the overwhelming driver of cultural and creative pursuits. Whether attending a film, watching television, going to the theatre or even computer gaming, one consistently finds that the spark that ignited these arts began with a book. If creativity has been the vehicle of culture, publishing has been the fuel that propels it forward. Reading is New Zealand’s most popular cultural activity, placing publishing right at the heart of both our culture and our creative economy. We New Zealanders spend an average of 44 minutes per day reading outside of work, purely for pleasure. And we love to buy books, with 44% of all adults buying at least one book a month. Our second most popular activity is visiting public libraries, with 1.4 million of us heading in to check out a book in a three-month period. Central to our culture, our publishing industry also makes a significant economic impact. In 2010, New Zealanders spent more than $240 million in our country’s bookstores, and much more stocking up schools and libraries with essential texts. Publishing is one of the largest creative industries in this country, alongside music and film. And New Zealand publishing lies at the heart of those other creative industries, providing our film-makers with powerful stories such as The Vintner’s Luck, Once Were Warriors and Whale Rider. The Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) is the hub of the publishing industry, oriented around understanding and solving 21st century challenges, provoking debate, and bringing publishers closer to their audiences to ensure that book publishers not only respond to demand, but lead readers to places they had never imagined.

  • The book publishing industry employs over 1000 people, publishes over 2000 New Zealand titles each year and revises a further 3500 titles.
  • The New Zealand publishing industry turns over an estimated $350 million a year. Around 75% of the turnover is domestic sales and 25% is export.
  • In evidence from 27 nations, it has been shown that children growing up in homes with lots of books stay at school for three years more than children from homes without books, independent of their parents’ education or wealth.
  • Access to books at home is the key determinant of a child’s reading ability, National Literacy Trust research has confirmed. Research, involving more than 17,000 children, showed 80% of children who read above their expected age level have books of their own. Only 58% who read below their expected age level own books.
  • New Zealanders borrow over 50 million books each year from our public libraries - twelve for every man, woman and child.
  • In 2012, New Zealand as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair will get to show Germany, and the world, our enormous creative talents -from novelist Lloyd Jones to children’s writer Joy Cowley, WETA’s Richard Taylor to bestselling author romance writer Nalini Singh, from historian Aroha Harris to cartoonist Dylan Horrocks. This honour, and this exposure for New Zealand’s creative economy, is a powerful reflection of the strength of our publishing industry.
Of the over 2000 books published every year, a small number have an impact far beyond the dreams of their authors and publishers.


Publishing industry associations in New Zealand
Foreign Language Translation Grants
Creative New Zealand in partnership with the Publishers Association of New Zealand offers grants of up to NZ$5000 to support the translation of New Zealand literature. The application process is simple and is completed online. To find out more about the application and assessment criteria, go to:
Publishers Association of New Zealand
The Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) is a trade group representing more than 80 international and independent book, educational and digital publishers in New Zealand. Its website includes a directory of New Zealand publishers with contact details and areas of interest.
New Zealand Book Council
The New Zealand Book Council represents and promotes New Zealand writing and writers. Its website has extensive information on New Zealand writers and the literary landscape including festivals and resources.
Publishers Association of New Zealand

Vinutha Mallya is Editor in Mapin Publishers, Ahmedabad Publishing Perspectives, FBF .

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