says Vineet Sharma of Parragon Publishing India, in conversation with Varsha Verma.
Publishing industry in India has come a long way. The content and production quality has improved tremendously, new genres are adding every now and then. The industry seems to be in a happy space. So, what have been the changes in the industry and what are the trends within, shares Vineet Sharma of Parragon Publishing India.
“There is a lot more content available now – both global as well as indigenously produced. The quality of Indian content is world-class. In mythology alone, a lot of publishers are doing a real good job. Infact, we have Indian content packaged in international quality formats. The designs and aesthetics have transformed significantly,” shares Vineet. \
On production quality…
“In non-fiction illustrated publishing, the notable characteristic is the production parameter and this has come a really long way. The production quality has improved a lot and there are so many product innovations. Infact, the printers are doing a wonderful job. It has a huge impact on the consumer buying decision,” tells Vineet.\
On children’s publishing…
Since Parragon is a leading children books publisher, what factors does Vineet keep in mind? “Since these books are for curious minds, they have to be more visual and very lexigraphic. For me, visual expression is more important, and so is the format of story-telling. There should be some learning in each book. For example, Parragon offers encyclopedias for children aged 8-12 years, which is more visual and had information snippets to highlight the message or important topics,” he replies. \
On language publishing…
Publishing in various regional languages is a growing area and lot of publishers are now seeing its potential. “Parragon publishes in 12 languages, bringing global content to Indian consumers. We even publish coffee table books in regional languages, which have been well received. We also offer well-researched Indian mythology books, rewritten in regional languages. We have around 60-70 titles in regional languages and are planning to add 17-20 titles this year,” tells Vineet.
On print vs digital…
“Digital is not a challenge for publishers like us as we are more into touch-and-feel books, which are possible only on non-digital platforms. Infact, sales of our physical books is going up. We have books on newer subjects and sale of our hardbound books is growing,” he shares.
Also, Parragon is well-known for licensed books. “Such books can never be replaced with digital platforms as they are already an extension to it. Even parents like their children to read print books,” he adds.
Online retail sales…
“Sale of books through online portals is increasing but we need to feature our books like a fashion product so that consumers can get an insight into the book they are going to buy. This is definitely a growing area and we need to cash on it,” he said.
Vineet feels that one area where our industry is lagging behind is the pricing, which is not keeping up with the inflation. “We need to realize that industry is based on interdependence, in sync with each other. For the industry to flourish, we need to set the economic fundamentals right and in sync with economic realities. So, publishers should not offer books at extremely low prices. There should be a healthy competition.”
Another important challenge Vineet shares is the dearth of skilled manpower. “We need more HR development programmes as talent pool is limited,” he says.
Parragon Publishing is trying to diversify into different subject areas. “We are headway into business books. We also offer books from anthology to astronomy. We wish to keep market ignited and offer good quality, well-researched books at affordable prices,” concludes Vineet.
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