Publishing

The self-publishing route has helped many novice authors get established in the publishing space. As more and more authors are taking this route, Varsha Verma of ABP finds out how the selfpublishing companies actually work. Self-publishing: Self-publishing had always been there... In 1931, author of The joy of Cooking got 3,000 copies of her cook book published by an author. It became a bestseller after it was acquired by Bobbs- Merill Company. More recently, the popular trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James was also a self-published book initially and so was Amish Tripathi’s The Immortals of Meluha. These are just a few which made history, there are many more.

Once called vanity publishing, self-publishing has come a long way...it is an easier and quicker way for authors to reach out to their readers. Few of the well-known selfpublishing companies helping authors include Notionpress. com, Cinnaon Teal, Pothi. com, BecomeShaspeare.com, AuthorsUpfront, Zorba Books etc.

“Self Publishing is here to stay and is growing in exciting ways, as is clear from the catalogue of the self publishing platform - AuthorsUpFront - I co-founded in 2014. Authors are in a position to take controls back in their hands thanks to technology. Of course editorial inputs cannot be done away with,” says Arpita Das of AuthorsUpFront.

What they offer?

Malini Nair, head of publishing services, BecomeShakespeare.com, shares, “BecomeShakespeare. com, a brand of Wordit CDE Pvt Ltd, currently provides editorial, design, self-publishing, book marketing and distribution services for English fiction and non-fiction. We provide best in class services in each of the above categories and wow)) wish to help writers improve their craft.” While, Naveen Valasakumar, CEO, of notion.com shares, "We offer free to use publication tools. The content can be typed in, proof read with our assistance, layout of text/ cover design can be done using our templates.

Automation is the key of Notion Press. We have developed a user interface which automates the processes mentioned above, get peer reviews and plan the book's distribution globally. The three stages of content creating, reviews, printing /publishing are done with our assistance. Through our analytics, we can tell the author where one's book is doing well - e-Pub, PDF or retails online. One of our clients, an IT consultant, and author of a book on "How a CEO needs a CIO', commented that using Notion site was easier and simpler than buying a movie ticket.”

“We offer an end product, which is comparable to any international book. We have primacy to author’s inputs during the publishing process and provide clarity regarding each stage of publishing. Authors can get professional inputs and guidance from experts. What’s more? We offer wide distribution both within India and worldwide with a focus on online. And an author can publish his book within 30 days!” shares Shalini.

Why self publishing?

On asking about why they ventured into self-publishing, Malini shares, “We were looking at the self-publishing space for a while and found large gaps in the services available for authors. This is when we began with creating a self-publishing programme as close as possible to a traditional publishing setup, but designed for authors aspiring to look at publishing as a source of revenue.”

While, Shalini Gupta, founder director Zorba Books shares, “As with any new venture so with Zorba Books the path was neither straight nor easy. We wound our way through a maze of traditional publishing, book exhibitions, library setups and corporate requirements to finally finding our niche with self-publishing. We realised that new talented writers had no option but to go to traditional publishers. However, hundreds of them were not getting published because they could not draw the attention of the traditional publishers or the traditional format did not suit them. Since no publisher took on the author’s work for publishing, the individual would have to file away the manuscript and proactivewriter.com forget about his/her dream of being published. So we decided to provide an alternative to talented writers in the form of self-publishing and drive the growth of self-publishing in India through Zorba Books. The fact that we did not have a hard core background in publishing made it possible for us to break the conventional mould and bring in fresh thinking in the form of the new option of self-publishing and in the way we operate - honest, open and offering great service. The journey is not over and we continue to expand into new realms and push the selfpublishing boundaries.”

Challenges...

But self-publishing comes with its own set of challenges. “Unlike the western markets where self-publishing is widely accepted, authors in India are just about getting acquainted to it. Hence, a lot of time and energy gets spent in explaining authors the features and benefits of this model of publishing versus the traditional model of publishing,” shares Malini.

Similar views were shared by Shalini, who says, “Awareness regarding the option of selfpublishing is low amongst prospective authors. They need not be at the mercy of traditional publishers but can fast-forward their writing career through self-publishing. Besides, most authors do not realise the importance of marketing in selling. Every new author needs to market his book aggressively and over a long period for the sales to show any result. Marketing is an intensive, time consuming exercise and needs to be carried out consistently over a period of time.”

Marketing efforts…

And these self-publishing companies are not leaving any stone unturned to make sure that the books are available at major outlets and online bookstores. “At BecomeShakespeare.com, we provide distribution services to leading brick and mortar bookstores, chain stores, airport retailers, etc. apart from online retailers like Flipkart and Amazon. The format is simple: we take the risk and rent space out at these bookstores, while creating a ‘SIS’ (Shop-in-Shop) model, which enables us to distribute this shelf space among our books. Similarly, we also provide all the best practices the traditional publishing firms have, i.e. good editing, proofing, cover designs, pagination, printing in bulk, aggressive pricing, media mentions, book events, book reviews and author interviews, to name a few,” Malini.

Similarly, Naveen mentions that they had tied up with 500 dealers for book distribution. "Cost of publishing a book comes down to one third the cost of self publishing with Notion. A self publisher would at least spend Rs 55,000 excluding the Reprinting cost of book. As an author one will have to invest in his book and we will co-invest with him. This will ensure that he is committed to the project and plays along with us for marketing and publicity related work," shares Naveen.

While, Shalini adds, “Marketing is a maze of activities and baffling for a first time author. We have a three pronged strategy to help the author with marketing. First, we help the author de-clutter the marketing maze and arrive at marketing solutions that are most suited to his/her needs.

While doing so we keep in mind the author’s background, the book genre and the budget, based on which a marketing plan is drawn up. Second, we aid the marketing effort by offering various marketing aids such as developing a website, preparing a book trailer, etc. Last as with all publishing, it is the author’s responsibility to implement the plan, though we are always ready to guide and help.”

“Self-publishing is a nascent industry in India with limited awareness amongst the public. But this is gradually growing and would empower wouldbe authors to get their work published and make their voices heard. As literacy increases and disposable incomes rise, India will follow the same rapid growth trajectory that the Western world has followed,” concludes Shalini.

Best Indie books declared!

Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group has named the best indie books of 2015. The books are winners of the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the largest not-forprofit book awards programme for independent publishers and selfpublished authors. The winners and finalists were honored in New York during BookExpo America (May 27-29 2015).

The awards are judged by leaders of the indie book publishing industry, including many coming from long-standing careers with major publishing houses, to identify books that deserve to reach a wide audience. The term 'indie' traditionally refers to independent art – music, film, literature or anything that fits under the broad banner of culture – created outside of the mainstream and without corporate financing.

Independent book publishing companies are independent of the major conglomerates that dominate the book publishing industry. Indies include small presses, larger independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors. The top prize winning books in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards are: Top Non-Fiction Books: First Place Winner ($1,500 Prize) - Thrown, by Kerry Howley (Sarabande Books); Second Place Winner ($750 Prize) - The Sky and Earth Touched Me, by Joseph Bharat Cornell (Crystal Clarity Publishers); Third Place Winner ($500 Prize) - The Wild Horse Dilemma, by Bonnie U. Gruenberg (Quagga Press); and Honorable Mention ($250 Prize) - The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four, by Kenneth Womack (Greenwood Press).

Top Fiction Books: First Place Winner ($1,500 Prize) - Topeka, ma 'shuge, by Raymond Hutson (Gilliss Books); Second Place Winner ($750 Prize) - The Magdalene Mystery, by Christine Sunderland (OakTara Publishing); and Third Place Winner ($500 Prize) - River Talk, CB Anderson (C&R Press). In addition to the grand prize winners, top indie books were named as winners and finalists in 70 publishing categories ranging from Action/Adventure to Young Adult.

Entries are now being accepted for the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The awards are open to fiction and nonfiction books released in 2014, 2015, or 2016 from independent authors and publishers worldwide.

New online bookstore for self-published works

Bocabel (www.bocabel.com) is the world’s first independent, all-inclusive online bookstore dedicated to self-published books. Self-published books, i.e. privately funded publications, represent the majority of books published annually around the world. There are many reasons why authors choose to self-publish their works, including a desire to maintain full authorial control over content; a preference to retain the lion’s share of sales revenue; or a wish to release an experimental or specialised work which, though worthy of publication, might not have ‘commercial’ appeal. Furthermore, as more and more mainstream publishing houses opt to ignore the work of previously unpublished authors, self-publishing is fast becoming the ‘norm’ rather than the exception as far as emerging writers are concerned.

Famous self-published authors include Walt Whitman, John Grisham, Michael J Sullivan and David Chilton.

The traditional difficulty with self-publishing has always been distribution – how do selfpublished authors sell their books? Bocabel solves this problem by allowing customers to purchase self-published works via a secure and easy-to-use online bookstore.

The brainchild of Australian publishing pro fes s iona ls John Power and Sam Constantopoulos, Bocabel is designed to connect authors and readers in a secure and user-friendly environment. Importantly, Bocabel introduces a fresh inventory of self-published books to mainstream markets – many books listed on Bocabel will not be available anywhere else.



A one-stop destination for reference books is Delhi Book Store, which houses over 2,00,000 subject wise titles duly displayed and offered at unbelievable prices. Delhi Book Store (DBS) has also earned a name for itself recently by offering more than 7,500 new titles published in 2015 by 11 international publishers. DBS remains as having widest range of titles in the reference books category. Here’s more about the reference books galore. DBS has joined hands with eleven international publishers to make their titles available in India. The brief introduction of these reputed publishers along with their major subjects covered include:

 

  • Callisto Reference: Callisto Reference is the publisher and storehouse, stocked with books on a variety of specialized topics and reading material. It is a trusted name among academicians, scientists and students. The client base of Callisto Reference includes the world’s top universities, libraries and colleges; while authors represented by Callisto Reference come from the top universities in the world. Subjects: Agricultural Science, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, Biological Sciences, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Energy.


  • Clanrye International: This New York based publishing house is one of the leading publishers who inspire business and management students, budding economists, and aspiring technocrats and scientists to excel in their respective professional arena by enriching their academic knowledge through high quality content. Subjects: Computer and Information Science, Engineering and Technology, Social Sciences, Business, Management and Economics.


  • NY Research Press: It is one of the most renowned and reputed names in the world of academic publishing. Besides years of experience in the field, the stature of the publishing house as leader in the industry is backed by its innovative practices and commitment to bring forth the most modern book titles and other reading material to suit educational and research needs. Subjects: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Material Science, Engineering and Technology.


  • Foster Academics: An academic publisher of scientific and medical books, it has succeeded in establishing itself as one of the leading scientific publishers in the world. All titles published by Foster Academics are written by an international team of authors, ensuring that they are suited for and relevant to a global audience. It works with the aim of combining creativity and innovation to educate and inform students, academicians, researchers and other healthcare professionals on all current developments and findings in the field of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Subjects: Medical Science and Pharmaceutical Science.


  • Hayle Medical: The publisher has successfully solidified its position among healthcare publishing industry leaders within a short frame of time. It is specialised in the medical reference books and also publishes point of case clinical reference information, practical guides, research reports, practice management and review texts of the medical fraternity. The best selling medical and surgical titles are written by researchers and experts from most reputed universities and institutions from the world. All these are published in print and Online POA. Subject: Medical Science


  • Springer: It is an International publishing company of academic journals and books. Throughout the world, it provides scientific and professional communities with superior specialist information – produced by authors and colleagues ac ross cultures in a nurtured collegial atmosphere. Springer Publishing House foster communication among their customers – researchers, students and professionals – enabling them to work more efficiently, thereby advancing knowledge and learning. Its dynamic growth allows to invest continually all over the world.


  • Auris Reference: It is renowned and reputed name in the field of scientific publishing. Titles published by Auris Reference are written by an international team of authors, ensuring that they are suited for and relevant to a global audience. Subjects: Biological Science and Genetics, Chemical Engineering and Oil, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology, Earth and Environmental Science, Electrical Engineering, Encyclopaedia and Reference, Management, Material Science, Mathematics and Statistics, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Physics.


  • Koros Press: It publishes books with the aim to combine creativity and innovation to educate Students, Academicians, and Researchers on all current developments in all fields. Subjects: Agriculture, Animal Science and Veterinary, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Art and Architecture, Biological Science and Genetics, Chemical Engineering and Oil, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology, Earth and Environmental Science, Economics and Business, Education, Encyclopaedia and Reference, Food Science, Geography, Industrial Engineering, Islam and Other Religions, Language, Literature and Linguistics, Law, Library Science, Management, Nanotechnology, Physics, Plant Science, Psychology, Sociology and Social Science.


  • Arcler Press: It is renowned and reputed name in the field of scientific publisher, with their books suited for and relevant to a global audience. Subjects: Agricultural and Life Sciences, Business and Management, Chemistry, Computer Science and Information Technology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Education and Psychology, Engineering and Computer Science, Hotel and Tourism Management, Language and Literature, Science and Mathematics.


  • Delve Publishing: It publishes books with the aim to combine creativity and innovation to educate students, academicians, and researchers on all current developments in all fields. Subjects: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics, Engineering and Technology, Agricultural and Life Science, Aquatic Science, Earth and Environmental Science, Library Science, Social Science and Humanities.


  • DBS Imprints: DBS has forayed into publishing world under the banner of DBS Imprints. Crossing its infancy, DBS Imprints is now in the phase of rapid expansion and growth. They are dedicated to providing world-class cutting edge literature to the readers and opening a wide avenue for the experienced writers in their respective fields of expertise. Subjects: Agriculture, Environmental, Literature, Mass Communication, Hotel Management, Management and Economics, Psychology, Science and Technology.

With such a huge depository of titles, DBS has sure made a mark for itself!

DBS on an expansion spree

Delhi Book Store (DBS) is in rapid expansion mode. To serve clientele, distributors, libraries and others all over India, they have appointed dedicated senior executives in different locations. All these new publishing personnel with respective designations include:

CORPORATE OFFICE: (19, Ansari Road, Daryaganj,New Delhi-110 002, Ph:+91- 11- 23283333 / 23281202 , Fax: +91-11-23283781, Email : info@delhibookstore. com):Rajesh Tripathi, manager (Mobile: +91(0)9971377702); Mehar Singh, sales manager; SandeepKapur, medical sales; Suneet Sabarwal, head-book sales (Mobile: +91(0)9871246246, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ); Khushboo Mishra, executive sales support (trade) (Moblie: +91(0)7838513198, Email: khushboo.mishra@ delhibookstore.com); Dharmendar Singh, executive sales support (medical) NORTH:(19, Ansari Road, Daryaganj,New Delhi-110 002, Ph:+91-11- 23283333 / 23281202, Fax: +91-11-23283781, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ):Subodh Kumar Singh, territory manager - North (Mobile:+91(0)9871142472, Email: subodh.kumar@ delhibookstore.com); EAST: (5D,Gopal Chandra Bose Lane, 3B, Disha Apartment, Kolkata -700050): Ajit De, regional manager - East (Mobile: +91(0) 9831087661, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ); WEST: (B/24, Nandadeep CHS, Khardev Nagar, Chembur, Mumbai): Shashank S Rane, regional manager -West (Mobile:+91(0)9819849684, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ); SOUTH:(19, Ansari Road, Daryaganj,New Delhi-110 002, Ph: +91-11- 23283333 / 23281202, Fax: +91-11-23283781):Vineet Sharma, regional manager - South (Mobile:+91(0)9811666216, Email: vineet.sharma@ delhibookstore.com) and (House No. 1-2-607/F-1,LTB Road, Near Vaartha Press, Hyderabad -500080):Y NageswaraRao, territory manager (Mobile:+91(0)9502209502, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).



says Ranjan Kaul, managing director, Oxford University Press India, in conversation with Varsha Verma.

The future is bright for educational publishing and print is just a medium; we are developers and content creators or supporters. People will always want to read. Publishers just need to reinvent themselves, says Ranjan Kaul, managing director, Oxford University Press India (OUP), who has over three decades of publishing experience and has held senior editorial and management positions in leading publishing companies in India. More recently, the Federation of Publishers' & Booksellers' Association in India (FPBAI) presented OUP India with the 'Diamond Award' in recognition of its distinguished services to the Indian books and publishing industry.

Journey so far...

A well-known name in publishing, Ranjan is a thought leader in several domains such as business strategy and content development. He is often quoted in media on industry-specific issues. A post-graduate in English Literature from the University of Delhi, he also holds an Engineering degree from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. “After completing my engineering, I did postgraduate studies in Product Design from IIT, Mumbai. Later, I came back to Delhi and did some theatre for a while, before joining McGraw-Hill as a desk editor in 1979. I also did my MA in Literature from the University of Delhi,” he recollects. Ranjan spent 14 years at McGraw-Hill and worked primarily in the professional, reference and higher education segment. After a short stint at AH Wheeler for their publishing programme, Ranjan moved to Sage Publications for six years and was responsible for starting the new imprint – Response Books. Since April 2001, Ranjan has been with OUP and has been responsible for foraying into higher education publishing. Besides his role as the MD at OUP, he writes and paints in his spare time and is the author of Through The Forest, Darkly, a work of fiction published by Hachette.

Publishing industry...
then and now!


On asking about the journey so far, Ranjan replies, “The publishing industry has made steady progress. There is much more talent and many more professionals in this field now. The selling channels have changed and so has the marketing of books. Digital media has helped a lot in publicity and marketing.”

“There were a limited number of trade publishers when I joined the business. But now, there are many players in this field. Self-published authors have created a pressure on trade publishers and the competition is increasing,” he adds as a matter of fact.

On school publishing...

India has long been an important publishing centre for OUP. From its first locally published book in 1912, it has expanded its output to include a wide range of educational and academic resources - from scholarly works and higher education textbooks to school courses, bilingual dictionaries, and digital resources for teaching-learning.

“OUP is the market leader in ELT in K-8 segment, commanding around 24 percent of the total market share in private schools. We are growing our share in subjects like Maths, Science and Computer Science. In-fact, for CBSE Board, our Maths course is the highest selling. We have a reasonably good share in Humanities and Social Science,” he adds.

Even though OUP primarily focuses on CBSE and ICSE Boards, they also offer textbooks for state boards and some states in the North-East... “In the K-5 segment, state boards often prescribe books even with slight variation from the prescribed syllabus, Many state boards therefore prescribe books from OUP as well,” shares Ranjan.

On higher-education publishing...

Talking about higher education books from OUP, Ranjan informed that they started publishing in this segment in 2003 and are catering mainly to subjects like engineering, management, hospitality & hotel management. “We found there are gaps in these disciplines and so started publishing in that and we are proud to say that we are the market leaders in hospitality and hotel management. Oxford also distributes imported medical titles,” he adds.

On asking about their future plans in this segment, he replies, “We are planning to get into undergraduate commerce and science, where teaching is more in English.”

On dictionary publishing...

“It is a known fact that the sale of dictionaries in English language is slowing down in urban areas but it is also a fact that bilingual dictionaries designed for English learners in the tier 2 and tier 3 towns is growing. Despite a global slowdown in the sales of dictionaries, it is infact growing in India, though at a slower pace,” shares Ranjan.

“This is because the English language learning community is growing. There are around 180 million English language people who can write but not speak properly in English and it is this segment we are targeting. We are also publishing bilingual materials for adults who wish to enhance their English language skills,” he explains.

On digital solutions...

OUP India is also gearing up for the digital change. “We already offer Oxford Educate–teaching aids for teachers for interactive teaching and learning and seeing the response, we are also coming up with an Oxford Educate Premium solution for students. The beauty of this product is that it is device-agnostic, which means that students can use it on any device,” he shares.

On learning process...

As a message to the educators across the nation, Ranjan says, “Let us improve the learning outcomes and the general levels of learning.”

“We need to move away from rote learning to a concept-based approach to improve learning outcomes. . Even though formative assessment has been started in schools, but it is still not very successful as teachers do not have adequate tools to assess students properly. In this backdrop, we are coming up with Oxford Achiever – which is a digital solution and it measures the formative assessment skills of a student. We are initially developing it for English and Maths subjects. It has been successfully used in Hong Kong schools and we have developed a customised version for India.

We have already done a pilot test in 10 schools in India and are now planning to launch the English product later this year,” informs Ranjan.

Looking forward...

At OUP India, about 10 percent of our sales revenue comes from dictionary and reference books, 70 percent from school publishing and the balance 20 percent from academic and higher education publishing.

“We are planning to bring out an English-Hindi dictionary app soon and if it is successful, we may come up with apps in other languages as well,” shares Ranjan. “We are also looking at e-books in higher education, which may also have enhancements and interactivities. But OUP will continue to publish new courses in print, apart from offering integrated solutions to schools, encompassing print, digital, assessments, reports, teaching aids and teacher training,” concludes Ranjan optimistically.



Himanshu Gupta, joint managing director - S. Chand Group needs no introduction. This dynamic personality of the publishing industry has brought a major turnaround not just at S. Chand but also in the Indian publishing industry. Here, he shares his vision for the company and the major trends in the education industry, in exclusive interview with ABP editors SK Khurana and Varsha Verma. Excerpts.

Journey so far…

“I joined the family business way back in the year 2000. My journey so far can be divided into three phases. The first phase was when I was working with my father till 2006, in which there was a lot of learning, training, knowledge gain and I even went into the field. In 2006, my father opted to retire and from 2006 to 2012 was my second phase, in which we streamlined a lot of things and got S. Chand moving on a fast track. The third phase is from 2012 where we tried to grow, not just organically but also inorganically. We are now looking at the education industry in total and not just publishing.

We have got private equity and also acquiring companies. Every phase has been a very interesting and challenging one, there have been a lot of ups and downs but with a great learning experience which continue even today,” shares Himanshu Gupta of S. Chand Group.

Elaborating more on his journey, he adds, “Of all these phases, the third phase has been more important to learn and a experiential phase for me and I have met a lot many new people not only of publishing industry but also from the financial sectors.”

Talking in numbers, Himanshu is quick to point out that S. Chand Group has grown from less than a $10 million company in 2006 to more than $100 million company today. “We have become the largest publishing group in the country,” he shares.

Vision 2020…

On asking about his vision, Himanshu replies, “We have a vision to take this company to a new level and we call it as Vision 2020, wherein S. Chand Group will become a knowledge power house in next five years and will be the largest non-infrastructure provider of products and services in the education sector. That’s why we have a new logo, which says S. Chand – A Knowledge Corporation. We want to focus ourselves in the secondary and tertiary sectors of the education industry, which means content and service provider. Our vision is to take S. Chand Group to a multi-fold education company where we would be focusing on two main areas – the first one being the core sector (print) and other being digital and allied services.”

Telling more about the print segment, Himanshu shares that they are on the acquisition spree and would acquire more companies in near future.

On education industry…

Himanshu feels that our new government has a focus on education with the requisite budget and willingness to give quality education to students’ community. “The education segment is bound to grow and become a $100 billion industry in India,” he adds.

“The higher education industry is also moving but not at the pace as of school segment. We also have a bigger book printing set-up as we feel that the school book segment is bound to grow. We may also look at the regional book segment, which has equally immense potential. The population of our country is growing and the industry will grow both in terms of volume and value as well,” he shares.

“In terms of value, the book industry is pegged at $2.1 billion industry and it is expected that in the next fivesix years, it would become a $4-5 billion industry and we wish to have a 10-15 percent share within the education sector specially in the print segment,” targets Himanshu.

“We can easily accomplish $400-500 million if we work properly in the print segment as I feel print is increasing in India because of the ease of affordability, infrastructure and other issues at ground level,” he adds optimistically.

On digital and beyond…

Digital is making inroads into the education industry and S. Chand Group is also fully gearing up to tap this growing segment. “We have recently acquired a minority share in a Hyderabad based company providing learning management systems, which is then offered in the form of tablets loaded with ready content. With opportunities like these, we plan to invest more money and time,” he adds.

Not only this, there are other sectors which have immense potentials. “Of these, Test Prep sector, online tutorials, online distance education being the key growth areas, in which we can enter through organic or inorganic ways,” he shares.

Entry into pre-schools… S. Chand Group has already opened four pre-schools – under the banner of Rise Kids and in the coming financial year, they are planning to have 25 such pre-schools.

S. Chand today…

In the print segment, S. Chand Group has produced 50 million books in the FY 2014-15, catering to 20 million students. They have 15,000 titles, 3,000 authors and 2,500 professionals under its wings. “We have consumed 20,000 tonnes of paper for book production this year,” shares Himanshu. “75 percent of our revenues come from school segment and 25 percent from higher education segment. In terms of print and non-print, 95 percent of the revenue comes from print and 5 percent from non-print but this would change to 75:25 in the next five years,” he adds.

“Our growth in the last three years has been three folds and we hope to have five-fold growth in the next five years, to make S. Chand Group a USD 500 million company. Our vision is not just on papers but executed at ground level. We have the best people in the industry and the best infrastructure. We offer a professional environment to people who have responsibility as well as accountability. We have implemented SAP and planning to go for new distribution and logistics systems. Our printing unit in Sahibabad has a capacity to print 30-40 million books a year,” informs Himanshu optimistically.

Himanshu also shares that S. Chand Group is now a preferred partner of the CBSE International, which has 50-60 schools under its umbrella.

Focus on India…

Being in the publishing business for 75 years now, S. Chand Group still has a potential to grow further. “We are focusing on domestic market rather than looking at opportunities overseas as we feel India has a huge potential. We do some exports but India remains our prime focus,” he says.

S. Chand primarily caters to the CBSE and ICSE Boards, where the books are mainly in English. But, they also plan to expand in vernacular languages and the state level boards, in which S. Chand is still a small player.

“We want to be a part of every sphere of education in an asset-like model as we know every child spends 15-20 years of his life in his education life cycle,” concluded Himanshu optimistically.



The school textbook publishing segment is growing at a rate of 16-17% while the higher-end segment is growing at a rate of 8-10%. But, the industry has its own challenges and strengths. Here, Raghu Ram Aiyar of Amity University Press (AUP) shares the nuances of this industry, in conversation with Varsha Verma. The unhealthy price wars…

Raghu Ram Aiyar“Academic publishing has taken a totally different direction. The huge discounts war has come to the fore. Books are being prescribed in many institutions not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of the discounts being offered by the publishers,” shares Raghu Ram Aiyar.

Another important aspect he mentioned was that trade plays a major role in placing the orders as institutions do not have time to spend with the publishers or to evaluate the quality of the book. “And trade seems to take a path of least resistance. Both these factors have forced the academic publishers on the crossroads,” he adds. “It takes nine months to take out a quality textbook and in a matter of another nine seconds, the book is trashed as they are not able to meet the desired discount structure. It is an insult to the editors and authors who churn out excellent books which do not see the light of the day,” he shares.

The statistics behind…

So, how does this discount structure works? “Normally, publishers give 25% discount to trade, but they ask for additional 10% discount. Besides, we give out lot of specimen copies, which accounts for another 3%. Over and above, there is a turnover discount, cash discounts as well. Besides, it is a known fact that there is a credit period of 180 days. If we calculate the overall discount structure, it is a huge amount,” explained Raghu.

A few publishers have increased the prices of their books to offer such discounts, yet earn a sizable profit margin. “But, this is not going to be a lasting affair. Normally, the books are priced at the rate of Rs 1.25 per page for textbooks. A small deviation is fine but a large deviation may not go well down the market, besides burning a hole in the pockets of the end-users (parents),” he tells.

“The competition has increased as new players have emerged and the publishers with the proven track record are receding as they are unable to offer huge discounts,” adds Raghu.

The pros…

But, there is a silver lining too…. “There are still many institutions across the country who belong to the old school of thoughts and where publishers are respected for their quality,” he says.

Need for an academic publisher forum…

“There is a need for a strong academic publisher forums wherein like-minded people can sit together and come out with tangible solutions, which may benefit all. Even institutions should be taken into confidence and be an active members of the forum.”

On Amity University Press…

“Inspite of all odds, Amity University Press (AUP) is growing at the rate of 10-12% in terms of volume and 30% in terms of value. This year, we are concentrating on the volumes. We are also strengthening our marketing team and we intend to have 100+ people this year. We all also expanding our editorial team, not just at centre (Noida) but also in regional offices like Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati and Cochin,” shares Raghu.

Not only this, AUP is also planning to go in a big way into low-cost publishing for price-conscious market in B & C class cities. “We will provide same-quality content with slightly inferior production quality for this segment,” he said.

On book fairs…

AUP has been participating at the NDWBF year on year basis. “It is a good platform to create our identity. We are not present there just for sales purpose,” he tells. AUP is also present at major international book fairs in Frankfurt, London, Dubai and South Africa.



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