Sterling Publishers
Vol. 2 No. 10 September 2008
ONE TO ONE - “The world is a book and he who stays at home reads only a page.” - Says S. K. Ghai in an interview with professor G. S. Jolly
50% Stake in EuroKids picked up by Educomp
MBD Alchemie all set to open 1100 Knowledge Centers
A Bookstore exclusively for the Arts
Boi-thek – Den of books
Country's First Book City in Ghaziabad
Library at the Click of a Button
Fellowship in Memory of Tejeshwar Singh
Workshop by TERI and German Book Office
Industry Statistics
“21st Condensed Course
Publishing Professionals”

for details visit
Dear Publishing Professionals,

Finally on the third of this month, the much awaited news arrived; my friend Mr Debojyoti Dutta from Kolkata called to inform me that I had won the election for the Chairmanship of the Books and Publications panel of CAPEXIL. It was certainly good news and time to celebrate. My efforts of the past one and half months had been well rewarded. I am very thankful to every one who helped and assisted me during this period.

Lately, I have been noticing a favourable trend in the translation and publishing sphere in which a network of institutions devoted to funding the translation of its country’s literature to other world languages is growing. Almost every European country offers translation grants. Many Asian countries have established or are in the process of establishing programs as well. The average grant is between 70–100% of the total translation fee. Some of the recent organisations to have begun this program are:

• Literature Translation Institute (LTI), Korea which has come up with its program, Translation and Publication Grants’ for supporting their overseas publishers along with promoting Korean books to readers worldwide.
For further details visit:

• Haven Cultural Center for Translation, Publishing, and Arts has decided to provide subsidy for English translations for Arabic literature.
For further details

• German Book Office offers funding, which is available from their foreign office and the German Publishers Association, for translation of books from German to English and regional languages. For details contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Delhi Book Fair which concluded on September 07, failed to draw crowds primarily due to the lack of media publicity. Participants at the fair complained about the decline in their sale figures as compared to earlier years. I hope the organisers will become farsighted and will pay attention to this important aspect in the future.

This month it was my turn to be interviewed. Mr G. S. Jolly, a publishing consultant and professor at College of Vocational Studies felt that this was the right time for me to be interviewed as I had won the CAPEXIL elections and also because I had been the one interviewing the professionals each time; it was high time that the publishing industry got to know the interviewer himself!

“The world is a book and he who stays at home reads only a page.”
S. K. Ghai, CMD, Sterling Publishers talks to Prof. G. S. Jolly on being elected as Chairman Books and Publications panel, CAPEXIL.

Q. Congratulations on being elected as the Chairman of the Books and Publications panel of CAPEXIL. What are your plans for increasing the export of Indian books?
Thank you. Though at this moment it is too early to discuss export plans, however, I do feel that the government should revive the MDA grants to the publishers for their individual-cum-sales study tours. CAPEXIL should organise buyers and sellers meets panel-wise so that the meetings should result in business.

Q. Tell us about your decision to enter publishing? Was it impulsive or was it a well-considered one?
After schooling, I wanted to head for engineering but for that I was required to go out of town. My mother prevailed upon me and I joined B.Sc. at D.A.V. College, Jalandhar (Punjab). During that time my father, Shri. O. P. Ghai was a partner at University Publishers and so I started working part time at the company as a salesman. After completing graduation I joined the company full time at a salary of Rs. 200. This was my first brush with publishing. Not only did I start liking the work, I fell in love with it and I have remained in love ever since.

Q. How and when did you start Sterling Publishers?
Sterling Publishers was incorporated on 24 November 1964 when I was still in my final year of college; in fact, one of my friend’s father helped me get the company incorporated by spending a mere sum of Rs. 679 as the registration fee. Though I had joined University Publishers, I spent my evenings and early mornings working towards getting Sterling up and running. After 6 months, I left University Publishers and concentrated all my efforts to put Sterling on rails.

Q. You successfully built up a colossal publishing empire with an impressive list, starting absolutely from scratch which is no mean achievement. Please share with us the secret of your success?
It is the commitment, sincerity and hard work, which have gone a long way in taking Sterling where it is today. When we started, at that time Lal Bahadur Shastri had been elected the Prime Minister of India. Mr B.S. Gujarati, a librarian, approached me with a collection of editorials on Shastriji, the compilation of which became the first book of Sterling. Surprisingly the book did well and we went into reprint also.

In 1966 I moved to Delhi and began publishing academic books on Social Sciences and Humanities, mainly Ph.D thesis. We also started working with USIS under their PL-480 program of providing low-cost reprints of University level textbooks for the Indian market. The market for academic books was and still is mainly colleges, universities, institutions and libraries. As we had to deal with such Institutions, the cash flow was slow and erratic. So in 1972 we started Sterling Paperbacks keeping in mind the three Es – entertainment, education and enlightenment.

Q. You market your books and give subsidiary rights globally. How do you manage to do it?
We participate in International Book Fairs – Frankfurt, London, Bologna and many others and I also make marketing trips to various countries. I love travelling as it gives me an opportunity to meet with new and different people. I firmly believe that “The world is a book and he who stays at home reads only a page.” Working with this in mind I have been able to develop our export business and marketing of subsidiary rights.

Q. How would you describe a good book?
I believe a good book is one which can be shared with somebody. What better way to share a book than to gift it. A good book is the best gift for all occasions. Though the trend is to send cards, but a book has a life of its own and one can imagine the life of a card.

Q. Since its first issue in October 1969, Indian Book Industry made remarkable progress and became the only respectable professional journal of the Indian publishing industry. We no longer hear of it now. Why?
Indian Book Industry was a vision of my father, late Shri. O. P. Ghai, an individual who placed publishing before the publisher. He believed that for professional knowledge to be useful it was required to be spread far and wide. During that time, no serious professional journal was available in the market except for the Indian Publishers and Booksellers published by the Bhaktals. Indian Book Industry became the only professional journal in the country catering to the needs of the publishing industry. It was quite a tedious job to bring out an issue monthly, so the responsibility of bringing out the Indian Book Industry was handed over to FIP in 1990 as at that time they wanted to start a new trade journal. But sadly only one issue was brought out and after that it was discontinued. Since then no trade journal has come up except journals on book reviews, like Biblio, The Book Review.

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. The Institute of Book Publishing established by Shri. O. P. Ghai in 1985 has been providing training by organising courses and seminars for the benefit of publishing professionals. You have carried forward this legacy with enviable success. What vision do you have for the Institute with the ongoing technological advances in the publishing industry?
A Festschrift volume Indian Publishing since Independence was published in honour of my father on his 60th birthday. The book was edited by Mr D. N. Malhotra and Mr. Narendra Kumar. During its release my father said, “What I am today is due to publishing; henceforth I will contribute in bringing professionalism to publishing.” This is how the Institute of Book Publishing was born. He started a 1-year PG Diploma course in book publishing and ran this course for one year with only five students. But this course did not draw much attention, so he re-introduced it as a Condensed Course for Publishing Professionals in 1986 and presently I am carrying forward the legacy. We get participants from our neighbouring countries, from Africa and the Middle East, and now from Europe too. The 21st Condensed Course will be held from November 10-19 this year. I feel it is my humble tribute to my father in continuing to organise such courses. Moreover, this helps me keep myself updated with the latest developments in the publishing field.

Q. When and why did you launch the e-journal Publishing Today?
After the 19th Condensed Course for Publishing Professionals concluded in November 2006, I felt that there was a need to get more actively involved with the publishing fraternity. After discussing the idea with friends in the industry, I launched the first issue of Publishing Today in December 2006. Since then I have made it a point that each issue carries an interview of a publishing professional and news about the publishing industry both national as well as international. During the 18th New Delhi World Book Fair this year, I presented the book, One to One: Glimpses of the Indian Book Industry which is a compilation of all the interviews that had appeared in the journal since its commencement.

Q. Where do you see Sterling five years from now?
We would like to make Sterling a leading Indian publisher and we plan to consolidate and make our manufacturing unit a world class one so as to be at par with global competition.

Q. You are an author, an educator, a publisher and a printer. How do you manage all these by yourself?
For me these are a passion and one always has enough time for one’s passion. I enjoy working and now my sons – Vikas and Gaurav assist me. Vikas looks after the printing and Gaurav looks after the day-to-day running and the children’s publishing program. This way I now have six hands and we are all working together towards a common goal; also this way I am able to take out time for my writing and for the institute.

Q. What effect do you think will globalization have on indigenous publishing in India?
Positive I think. Globalization will keep us abreast with new developments in technologies and enable us to compete with the big players of the publishing world. It will open up new avenues and markets for exports and the sale of rights. It will improve our production standards and marketing strategies. I am sure that with the vast educational base and the large number of potential buyers, India will definitely be a force to reckon with; all we need is to accept the challenge and organise ourselves methodically.

Q. In this age of information explosion the problem of protection of intellectual property and copyright assumes great importance. As Chairman, Copyright Council of the FIP, do you think that publishers should have their own additional arrangements to check and curb piracy and copyright violations?
With amendments in the copyright laws, India has become very strict in this regard. We have to bring this point to the notice of our authors and also educate our editors that if they come across an uneven style of writing they should check its authenticity on the internet so as to eliminate the possibility of piracy. We have to organise more seminars and workshops for the awareness of Copyright laws.

Q. How do you visualize the Indian publishing industry five years from now?
The Indian Publishing industry is passing through a golden era. There is a saying in marketing: ‘What is seen, sells.’ Prior to the Indian markets opening up, the exposure to books was minimal. Books were seen only in bookshops, which were few and far between. The retail revolution in the country has opened new vistas with books being available everywhere. These days, bookshops are not the only place where books are sold. Retail revolution has provided extraordinary opportunities with the opening up of multiplexes, shopping malls and large retail stores which has given a new lease of life to the marketing of books.

Q. How would you describe your journey so far?
I have spent 44 years of my life in publishing and can say with all humility that I have enjoyed every moment of it. It is with the help of the blessings of Shirdi Sai Baba that I am making my vision of publishing come true.

Remembering A Visionary: A Tribute to C. M. Chawla
Size: 19 cm x 24.5 cm; Pages: 112 + 24 plates; Hardbound; UBSPD, New Delhi.

This book is a collection of letters from publishing professionals on how they remember the legendary figure – Shri C. M. Chawla. He started the distribution of books at a time when there was no systematic distribution of Indian books in India and abroad.

The best way to write about this book is to quote professionals from different aspects of publishing. Here are a few:
“The more I came in contact with him, the greater was my admiration for him. His role in the formation of the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) is unforgettable. He was one of the founding fathers and one of the earliest patrons of FIP.”

“The slogan that drove him was ‘any book, anywhere, anytime…’ ”

“C. M. Chawla was a living legend. Enthusiastic, practical, visionary, and a wonderful human being, these are the attributes that describe C. M. Chawla best when I think of him today. His contribution to the Indian book trade through distribution, through development of human resource, and through publishing quality books is well known. He will always be in my memory not only as a colossus of the Indian book trade, but also as my friend, philosopher and guide.”

Asoke K. Ghosh
Managing Director, PHI Learning, New Delhi
“Once I offered to dedicate a book to him as a ‘thank you’ gift for selling my book Management Thoughts on a large scale. His reply was an instant “no thanks.” He said that it should remain as a business relationship. I did not like his comment at that time, but later felt that he was right and that was his style. I learnt from him to be the same outside as you are inside, i.e., to be transparent.”
Promod Batra
Author & Publisher, Think Inc., New Delhi

“He always spoke a few words but each word was weighed with wisdom. He was not only the inspiring force for the UBSPD family but for all the publishers and booksellers dealing with us.”
Balram Sadhwani
Branch Manager, UBSPD, Bangalore

If you want to know the history and growth of Indian publishing and bookselling, then this book is a must read from cover to cover.

Computer Lingo
Blast: An advertising or marketing message sent in bulk,
especially via e-mail.

50% Stake in EuroKids picked up by Educomp
Educomp Solutions took a stake of 50% worth 39 crores in EuroKids International, a pre-school chain. “The company will have an option of increasing the stake to 74% in future,” said Shantanu Prakash, Educomp Managing Director. The deal includes purchase of existing company shares and an infusion of additional capital into EuroKids for expansion. With this, Educomp is set to become the largest pre-school operator in the country.

MBD Alchemie all set to open 1100 Knowledge Centers

Online educational academy MBD Alchemie, a venture of the publishing major MBD Group, expects to open 1100 MBD Alchemie Knowledge Centers across India by September 2009. For starters, it will be setting up 10 such centers across the country by June 2009, as part of its initiative to overcome accessibility issues for e-learning.

A Bookstore exclusively for the Arts
Recently Vadehra Art Gallery opened an art bookstore and a reading room at Defence Colony. At the Vadehra Bookstore one can go through over 1000 publications, neatly stacked into categories. And then there are catalogues of auction houses that give insights into the art mart. “We hope to fulfill an educational role,” says Parul Vadehra, director, Vadehra Art Gallery. She coordinated with museums and galleries across the world to source publications and approached artists to produce collateral products like postcards. “These products can introduce the work of masters to the uninitiated and act as memorabilia for others,” says Vadehra.

Boi-thek – Den of books
A new bookshop was recently born in Kolkata, very near to its very famous College Street. Formally it is called Charchapad – also the name of its imprint, but informally and generically, it prefers to be called a boi-thek (den of books).

In the short time that it has opened (July 2008), it has earned itself the title of “little Barnes and Noble” from a Bengali gentleman living abroad. “We cannot, however, take back books after readers have read them over a fortnight or so,” says Charchapad’s editor, writer Raghab Bandopadhyay, underlining the huge differences in funds and resources from the giant American bookstore chain.

Not one to be restricted by its modest means, the den has decided to be choosy about the kind of books it stocks – not the bestseller novels but serious books by authors who respect and care for the Bengali language. It also plans to provide a platform for all genres of ‘good’ new writing. As another initiative, it is trying to bring back in print, writers who had long gone out of it.

Country’s First Book City in Ghaziabad
Good news for lovers of the book world; Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) has plans to build a Book City for them – a first of its kind in the country. This proposal was put forward to GDA by both the literati and organisations related to literature which the GDA has decided to present to the Board. The city is expected to be ready in a year and a half. Apart from housing bookstores of different publishers, visitors will be able to buy books as well as sit and read them.

Library at the Click of a Button
It’s ‘happy reading’ time for Delhiites with the launch of the first-of-its-kind venture of a dot com library. Set up by a young couple, book lovers in Delhi and the NCR region can now have access to a well-stocked library at the click of a button. Friends Of Books ( a book rental portal, allows subscribers to choose from a collection of over 3500 books (and growing) and have them delivered and picked up from their doorstep. The icing on the cake – there are no late fees!
The couple hopes to take this venture to other cities soon, after establishing a name for it in Delhi.

Fellowship in Memory of Tejeshwar Singh
Sage Publications has announced the Tejeshwar Singh Memorial Fellowships to honour Tejeshwar Singh – a legend. He was Sage India’s managing director for 25 years. “We feel a debt of gratitude, and offering this scholarship will be a way of showing our respect,” says Stephen Barr, President, Sage International. The scholarship will be for areas that Singh built publishing programmes in – ranging from social sciences to Indian management. Worth Rs 60,000 a year plus Rs 50,000 travel allowance, the aim is to bring out the best of Indian scholarship for young academicians – applicants have to be below the age of 40. Their brief: to author a book at the end of the 1-year fellowship.

Workshop by TERI and German Book Office
The workshop titled Successful Entrepreneurial Models for Adoption of Recycled Paper in the Publishing Process which was jointly organised by TERI Press, the publishing arm of TERI and German Book Office on 17 September 2008 at TERI, New Delhi concluded successfully on an agreeable note. This workshop was the first of its kind in India and was also the first workshop being organised by the Green Publishers’ Guild.

The workshop brought together professionals from the publishing and the paper industry in an endeavour to exchange observations and views about the benefits of using recycled paper in the publishing process. The speakers were: Ms. Rita Tandon, Scientist E-II, Central Pulp and Paper Research Institute; Mr R. Srinivasan, General Manager, Century Pulp and Paper; Mr Akshay Pathak, Director, German Book Office, New Delhi; and Ms. Madhu Singh Sirohi, Head, Teri Press. Various issues were addressed as to the shortcomings of the Indian paper industry in failing to provide good quality recycled paper for printing and publishing along with the failure of the publishing industry to use more and more indigenously produced recycled paper. Diverse opinions were presented and it was unanimously agreed that a collective effort would have to be made if any headway was to be made in the adoption of recycled paper in the publishing process.

Industry Statistics
This month we decided to feature some statistics on the publishing industry in Japan.

Number of New Titles, Copies published and Average circulation
No. of new titles
No. of published copies (thousand copies)
Average circulation (copies)
Study-book 1
Study-book 2
Source: Shuppan Geppo 2008.1 Kagaku Kenkyujo

Comparison of Total Turnover of Publications in a 5-year period
Price: billion yen

Comparison of Total Number of Copies Sold in a 5-year period
Number: thousand copies

Comparison of Total Number of Publication Titles in a 5-year period
Books New Titles
Titles of Magazines
Number: titles

(Figures taken from Country Report, Japan presented at Asian Pacific Publishers Association (APPA) Annual General Meeting 2008, May 9–12, Seoul, Korea).


As always, Publishing Today is very informative. The interview of Mr Saniyasnain Khan made a good read. I have always appreciated the Goodword publications. In fact, just the other day I was recommending them to someone as excellent material to be kept in classrooms.”
Jaya Bhattacharji
Managing Editor, Journals
Routledge, Taylor and Francis
“I have enjoyed going through all the issues received so far. The interviews with known personalities from the Indian publishing industry are very interesting. Please keep it up.”
S. K. Bindra
Veeswa Exports
“I went through the entire newsletter and enjoyed reading every bit.”
Vikas Ghai
Sterling Publishers

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