The importance of good quality textbooks in the formative years of a child cannot be ignored. Private publishers are putting their heart and soul into bringing the best textbooks, which are curated by the best of editors, digital content creators and developers. A recent news in media about making NCERT books mandatory for all classes in CBSE-affiliated schools, created quite an uproar. Here is more about the issue. A furore was created in the K-12 education publishing market after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) issued its Circular No: Acad-07/2017 dated 14/02/2017 to make NCERT books available to affiliated schools of CBSE for the academic session 2017-18. The circular stated that the textbooks will be printed and supplied by NCERT for all classes and affiliated schools can make their requests online at their official website The circular also stated that the link will be available for online indent till February 22, 2017.

The following day, few media companies carried articles which misinterpreted the circular and provided incorrect information about the usage of NCERT books in all CBSE schools. They said that CBSE has made it mandatory to use NCERT books for all classes. This created a lot of confusion amongst all stakeholders – publishers, teachers, students and their parents.

The fact…

The CBSE offered schools with an option to buy NCERT books online keeping in pace with the Digital India initiative and this is no way says that the books are mandatory for all classes. Few prominent publishers met the honourable Union Minister of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India Prakash Javadekar, who assured that Ministry of HRD or CBSE has no intention to make NCERT books mandatory in CBSE schools. He also acknowledged the role of private publishers and assured that no such decision would be taken without public consensus.

Schools and teachers: best judges for content

Moreover, schools and teachers are well equipped to decide what is best suited for the overall holistic development of the students of their respective schools. In this competitive environment where students are under pressure to constantly improve their output, there is a need to provide students with the best quality content in their formative years so that they are able to cope with the pressures of college life and achieve their aims thereafter. Also, college cut-off marks are soaring every year making it imperative that students are well-equipped to score as well as compete with fellow students from other boards.

Private publishers: quality is prime

The role played by private publishers cannot be ignored or underestimated. In addition to providing high quality books, private publishers also support teachers by way of workshops/trainings/teacher resource material/lesson plans/digital content/web support/question papers/worksheets, etc. Besides this, the publishing industry employs the best of editors, digital content creators and developers as a part of their endeavour and commitment to create international quality books at the lowest possible price. Textbook prices in India are amongst the lowest in the world, even lower than some developing nations. The large number of students in India and the volumes enable private publishers to provide textbooks at fairly low prices.

Quality comes at a price…

Government textbooks are subsidised on tax payers money and only best offers hence they would always be priced lower than textbooks published by private publishers, as the publishing industry in India per se does not get any special incentive or subsidy from the government even though it is committed towards providing high quality textbooks and contributing to the education of the future citizens of India. Textbooks published by private publishers are made available on time as per the demands and requirements of schools, teachers and students across the country through its wide network of stockists, distributors and retailers besides their own stock points. The publishing industry employs millions of professionals, directly and indirectly, who are striving hard to create and offer high quality content for the betterment of students and the country at large.

Spending money on buying quality books is an investment not only for the better future of the students, their families but also for the country. It is time to seriously consider the implications of depriving students of good quality books, thereby preventing them from competing with the best in the world.

Claudia Kaiser, vice president - Business Development, Frankfurt Book Fair, shares her views on the South East Asian publishing industry, in conversation with All About Book Publishing. “In countries like India, there is little bit of e-book selling, which will change in the long run, as technology, and therefore opportunites, develop further.”

South East Asia is an important market as it is an area of more than 600 million people. The books which are very popular here are Children’s books with illustrations, non-fiction, fiction, business & management, tells Claudia Kaiser, vice president - Business Development, Frankfurt Book Fair.

On readership…

“Reports show that children who use books to study, study better and have better results. At the same time, children who grow up with stories and are used to listening to stories are often more capable of dealing with difficulties in life,” tells Claudia.

“There are 10 different countries in South East Asia and the readership habits and literacy rate are different in every country. In countries like Laos and Combodia, the literacy rates are rather low whereas in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, the literacy rates are high. They have a lot of initiatives towards it. For example, Vietnam has a book street all year long, where the whole street has only bookshops, which are crowded till almost 10 in the night. They also have different literary events happening every year. Myanmar is also following suit and low cost cialis they are also planning a book street. They have a national book day, which is highly celebrated with lots of activities,” shares Claudia.

Talking more about the different initiatives taken by different countries to promote readership, Claudia shares, “In Indonesia, they promote 15 minutes reading every day before the school starts and this initiative is promoted by the ministry. They have mobile libraries or libraries on ship or boats which travel to different islands as there are 17,000 islands, some of the villages and population are hard to reach, so they have such an arrangement to reach them.”

Claudia further shares that the South-East Asia has a young population and the publishers buy a lot of copyrights. “At least 70% of the publishing market is translations from other countries. So, India forms a good opportunity to sell rights. Besides, Indian culture is very well known but books also need their space. So, I think there is a good potential for Indian publishers to sell their rights as well,” shares Claudia.

On education publishing…

“We have the government schools, which are often weak but there are lot of private schools as well. The upcoming middle class people want to send their children to the best schools. In some countries, home schooling is also popular. In such areas, there is a good potential for textbooks if they meet the quality standards,” tells Claudia.

On Storydrive Asia in Singapore…

The first Storydrive Asia was held in Singapore from November 10-11, 2016. “We wanted to create a meeting place for all of South East Asia, to meet with international players because book fairs in every country are very important and offer very good opportunity to meet publishers from that particular country. Singapore, obviously, is a best place to be as it is a hub and infrastructure is great there. It not only focuses on traditional publishing but also new media forms and creative industries. We want to focus not only on regional publishers but also new business opportunities for other people who own the content. What kind of opportunities are there now and very good site which will be there in the future? We create this platform. The first Storydrive Asia attracted approximately 150 people every day. Story Drive Asia was a conference. We plan for a bigger event in the coming years. The two-day conference ran four parallel tracks. These focussed on traditional publishing- new normal (which gave new inputs to traditional publishing), cross media business, workshops and match making sessions. It was really interesting and the concepts were innovative, with interesting panel discussions, key notes and videos, etc,” shares Claudia.

South East Asia vs. other countries

Talking about the major differences between South East Asian market and rest of the world, Claudia shares that here we talk print but in Germany, the focus in development is on digital - but for now ebooks represent only 5% of the turnover with publications. “Then, in Germany, we have the Booksellers and Publishers Association which represents the interests of three industries: book selling, publishing and wholesaling. Whereas in India, we have 5 or 6 publishers association, the strongest being Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) and the Association of Publishers in India (API). There are so many regional languages in India and the publishing industry is so vibrant, which is not so in other South East Asian countries like Indonesia.”

On challenges…

Briefly talking about the challenges in the South East Asian market, Claudia enumerates piracy and dysfunctional distribution system.

GBO India

German Book Office (GBO) New Delhi, which began its operations in 2008, is a joint venture between the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. As such it has a dual mandate of promoting the activities of Frankfurt Book Fair in the South Asian region along with the cultural aspect of promoting the exchange of German and Indian (including neighbouring countries) literature between the two. They also promote the growth of the publishing industry worldwide, with conferences and workshops.

“We will continue to do what we are doing now. India has a bigger presence in Frankfurt Book Fair, not only in English but the whole international publishing community and we would love to see India’s presence in a consolidated manner rather than an individual presence. We have national stands of Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, America, UK, and France... so we look forward to India to come as a country as well,” she adds.

“Besides, we come up with approximately 89,000 titles every year in Germany. We translate from other languages, we have schemes for translation funding and we wish to create more opportunities for such translations in India,” she adds.

Trends in publishing industry…

“Internationally, I think there will be more consolidation in the market. In Germany, we had an issue with collecting societies, which used to return money equally to publishers and authors. Internet is a great winner, with online bookshops like Amazon, Tolino (part of Tolino was taken over by Kobo, the other part still remains in German hands), etc,” she shares. “In countries like India, there is little bit of e-book selling, which needs to change as this is the model of the future.”

Another important trend in India is that there is a good market for service providers in India. “But, there needs to be more visibility for the Indian products in a more upbeat manner in the international market,” she adds.

“Last but not the least, there are lot of opportunities in print and print is on the rise in India, which is a very encouraging factor,” concludes Claudia on a positive note.

Sesh Seshadri, managing partner & CEO, Overleaf Books LLP, recently attended the BETT show in London. The visit was primarily to immerse himself in the experience, walk the halls in order to learn, touch & feel the range of digital solutions for Primary & Secondary schools, Colleges and Universities. Here, he shares few of his experiences and innovations he saw at the show. We know that these are challenging times for schools with budgets being tightened and teachers facing the challenge of having to deal with technology in education. How will schools choose resources and embrace emerging technologies?

Those in the education space know that every day we hear of a new technology enabled product or service that promises to change our lives. This may be true when we look at our behavior with respect to mobile phones. We wake up and reach over to our phone before our coffee or tea. When TV arrived, we complained and said that reading habits have dropped. But no one is talking about the distraction/encroachment that digital technology has brought on us. In this context, we should review the impact of technology on our children and how they learn. The advancement of technology should be seen as a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference in the educational system. It is clear that teachers and teaching staff are the real essence of our educational engagement and will continue to be the medium through which +REAL learning will be meted out to our children, whether it be print, audio-visual or digital learning. Technology has become a central part of teaching and learning in many countries. In India, we might say that doesn’t mean it should be front and centre in the classroom.

Digital learning solutions

I recently attended the BETT show in the UK, which brings together people, ideas, practices and technologies to enable educators to become game changers. There were many seminars, product displays and demos. BETT showcased the state of education technology around the world. The adoption or likely adoption of emerging education technology was loud and clear. What is the cutting-edge innovation and what is being debated in education and learning methods? There were too many digital companies providing easy, engaging and effective learning solutions. Not surprisingly, every company promised 360 degree solutions for in-school and after-school learning.

Exclusively for schools and families, cashless online payments were a great product. India should look at this technology closely. This will record every single payment the school collects and will bring transparency to the system. Good technology to bring an end to capitation fee, donations and other fraudulent fees that parents typically have to shell out today.


The accepted terminology for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, has been STEM for a while now. Recently Art + Design have been identified as emerging faculties as well. With the addition of Art + Design, STEM has now transformed to STEAM.

What’s more?

There was also an evident proliferation of technology like Robotics, Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR). Their applications are not completely clear in the education space just yet but I don’t doubt that they will have an influence.

The major attraction at the show was Raspberry Pi, the low-cost, (just over a) credit card sized computer that was developed to encourage kids to learn how to code. Priced around Rs 2999, this has sold over eight million according to the Raspberry Pi Foundation which is a UK based educational charity.

On a concluding note…

Should we look at technology for technology’s sake? If teachers are the influencers of child’s education, let them have access to best content in the form they like. The question is: is the technology galloping forward exponentially? How far will it help Indian students, schools and colleges – maybe something for the tarot card readers to deliberate over (Not digitally I hope)!

Says Sugata Ghosh, director, Global Academic Publishing, Oxford University Press, in conversation with Varsha Verma. Regional language publishing is seeing a spurt in the growth and many bigwigs are now eyeing its potential. Oxford University Press is one such company which is now working towards their regional language publishing programme. “We will formally launch our Indian Language Publishing Programme in January 2018, beginning with two languages – Hindi and Bangla and will later push forward to other languages like Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Marathi and Gujarati,” shared Sugata Ghosh, director, Global Academic Publishing at Oxford University Press.


Sugata Ghosh, director, Global Academic Publishing, Oxford University PressOn asking about the kind of books they will publish, Sugata replied that these books will be academic reference titles which also cater to the civil services aspirants and general reference and serious non-fiction books. ‘The publishing programme will have two kinds of products – translations of existing books, which include the classics we have been pushing into the market and newly commissioned books. We will follow both print and digital versions,” he added.

Why regional language publishing?

“As of date, other publishers are trying to disseminate only printed format of the knowledge, which is the logistical side of publishing but the philosophical side of the programme is equally interesting and important for us. We have a largish programme across the globe which is called the Oxford Languages Programme, which is heavily subsidised by the Press. That is very close to Oxford University Press’ (OUP) mission to disseminate research. In South Asia, we strongly believe that it lies within the languages. If the languages start to die, it will give very difficult time for research in general and advancement of scholarship on which the world survives. In this backdrop, OUP, which has been into 100 years of its existence in India with many vernacular dictionaries, thought it is the best time to get into the regional language publishing, which constitutes almost 70% of our readership today,” told Sugata.

He further explained, “A large crowd of our country cannot access works of the top scholars of the country due to language problem. These works are majorly in English and even if translations are available for some works, the quality is not up to the mark and readers are deprived of the actual flavour and depth of the work. Thus, we are putting a lot of emphasis on the quality of translations. We are very excited to take some of our very good authors to the local languages to reach the larger audience. This will include not just the established ones but also young fantastic authors.”

Another important point Sugata mentioned was that business runs on stakeholders. “The most important stakeholders of this business are the authors, distributors, market and the readers. We found there is a huge gap between the experiences all the stakeholders get from a regional language publisher. We want people to know how global publishing works and how it is moving from a print-oriented to content-oriented publishing,” he said.

On Hindi & Bangla…

“Hindi is the third largest language and Bangla is the seventh largest language spoken in the world. Besides, one of our neighbour countries also has Bangla as their national language, which gives us ready market as well. The Hindi belt is equally big like English. We feel there is substantial market for these languages in West as well. So, these languages fit very well in our mission and also the need of the region and the world,” he said.

“We are even looking at possibility of getting the books printed and developed locally from respective regions, due to speciality and knowledge base. This will bring the regional flavour into the book. This might be expensive, but we want to do it correctly,” shared Sugata. “We will also look at reverse publishing, wherein we will translate original books from Hindi and Bangla into English,” added Sugata.

The formal launch…

“We will launch the Hindi books at the New Delhi World Book Fair 2018 while the Bangla books will be unveiled at the Kolkata Book Fair 2018. We are looking at around 20 titles to start with and by the end of the year, we should have around 40 titles each in both languages,” he said.

On asking about the pricing of these products, Sugata replied that prices will be market-driven. “Quality comes at a premium but there has to be value behind it. So, though we have not decided upon the prices, but they might be slightly lesser than the English versions,” he said.

Talking about the distribution set-up, Sugata shared that they will use their existing channels and local distributors. For example, they will tie up with local distributors in Bangladesh and West Bengal for Bangla titles.

The Oxford University Press advantage…

“Unlike other commercial organisations, where the life of the book is 5-6 months, Oxford University Press believes that a book is timeless and we work to keep it alive even if the sales go down. We create something where this content can be moved to a new platform. We have been doing this for English language content and we might use the same thing for regional languages as well,” told Sugata.

“There are fantastic readers in both the languages, who are simply waiting for this kind of content at affordable price and impeccable quality, which Oxford University Press is willing to offer,” concluded Sugata.

An upcoming distributor wishes to foray into publishing, while a publisher seeks to become a distributor, but they do not have the required know-how. Here’s where the role of publishing consultant comes in. Here, Sahil Gupta of shares how they can help publishers, authors and technology companies to overcomes the hassles and grow together, in conversation with Varsha Verma.

Sahil, with its digital publishing consultancy knowledge, intents to help publishing companies to adopt highly competitive and flexible publishing operating models, and drive publishing cost reduction in order to grow their businesses. “We work with a number of retail and distribution partners in India and abroad, guiding and enabling publishers from planning and budgeting, to finished products, including apps, IT infrastructure, and for sale of print and ebooks,” says Sahil Gupta, publishing consultant, specializing in digital rights and ebook sales. He advises publishers on all aspects of digital publishing through this consultancy business.

An experienced negotiator, with expertise in digital contracts for both selling and acquiring ebooks and other digital products, his expertise includes copyright law and publishing rights, including complete understanding of digital technologies & publishing.

Service for publishers…

“We are aiming at optimising the small and mid segment publishers, who have amazing good content but are not able to sell them enough due to some hurdles either in their resources, infrastructure or their work culture. Our main purpose is to advise, consult and connect them to appropriate vendors and chalk out a plan to overcome their problems,” told Sahil.

“One of the major challenges for the publishing industry is ‘being digital,’ which is no longer an add on to the physical publishing business. Over the next ten years, the entire environment in which content is used and transacted will undergo a complete overhaul.

Publishers need to reengineer their businesses and for this they will require new systems to take the new digital enterprise from product to consumer. We help publishers connect to the right technology partners, who are not only cost-effective but can also provide quality services, told Sahil.

“Moreover, we can help publishers get in touch with the technology providers who offer services like book editing, checking for original content, print on demand, marketing and promotional software, email marketing , social media marketing etc,” he added.

Besides, can also help publishers in promoting, marketing and selling their product globally through eBook vendors such as Apple, Google play, Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, B&N Nook, etc. “We can also help you in listing your product on book aggregators such as and,” told Sahil.

Service for authors…

“Many a times I have seen authors with an excellent manuscript, with poor editing, which makes it difficult for them to find a publisher. At, we help them to vet their manuscripts and find the right publisher. We also help them bring out an ebook, told Sahil.

Service for technology providers…

Technology companies play a vital role in the publishing industry in this digital age. “We help technology companies in designing apps and test packages related to the publishing industry. Besides, we also help them connect with the publishers,” told Sahil.

Looking ahead…

“Many a times, publishers do not have clauses for ebooks in their contracts, which can become a big problem in future. So, we help in legal vetting as well. These are just a few problems; infact we get to know of different problems at both micro and macro levels. We are looking at more collaborations in the industry so that the overall industry grows,” concludes Sahil.