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.

With yoga spreading its wings worldwide, books on yoga are attracting more readers. Here, ABP finds out more about such books. Yoga is a self discipline that provides procedures to consistently help us in every sphere of life. It enables the individual consciousness to fuse with the super consciousness and in the process transforms our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual personality. Yoga is as old as the civilisation itself and enriches the Vedas, Upnishads, Bhagwad Gita and the Sutras of Patanjali. Swami Vivekanand and Shri Aurobindo also preached and promoted Yoga as a discipline, for they were convinced that Yogic practices bring about a natural balance of body and mind.

The first international day of Yoga was observed world over on June 21, 2015. About 35,000 people, including Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and a large number of dignitaries, performed 21 Yoga asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes at Rajpath in New Delhi. The day devoted to Yoga was observed by millions across the world. “With the declaration of June 21st as the International Yoga Day by the UN, the discipline now finds worldwide recognition and has also been included as a mainstream subject in school education. The National Curriculum Framework foresees a definite moral and ethical development of values among students through yoga and calls for its inclusion in the daily time table,” shares Nidhi Kundra, chief editor, Jiwan Books International.

More and more people are now adopting yoga and other spiritual practices. Why? “In the modern world when stress is on the peak in all corners of society, people would like to just relax from the day to day of their regular life style. So they need some kinds of relaxation, meditation and search for other sources. Religion plays a vital role in our society. Most of the people are the followers of some gurus. They usually visit their ashrams for relaxation, yoga and other activities. They do attend their lectures to gain knowledge.

While participating in such activities, the followers would like to read about it. Hence the books by spiritual gurus have increased. These books not only give them the knowledge but at some extent it gives them satisfaction too which is more important for followers,” says Chander Mani Gosain of Friends Publications India.

While, VK Gupta of Indian Books Centre/Sri Satguru Publications, shares, “Books are the only way to know our culture, heritage, religion and spiritual values. These books give us health and peace of mind. Nowadays people are interested in these books. So there is good market of these books in the world.”

Huge market for yoga and spiritual books

“The role of yoga in personality development of an individual stands undisputed in the modern times. With the ready availability of titles on the same, a person interested in training at home can gain much through these books.

Additionally with the increased number of books on this topic on the book shelves, one is naturally forced to think about the health benefits of the same and include it in their daily lifestyle,” tells Nidhi. “The market for such books is as big as the spiritual guru has got the followers. There is no end to it. Every human being has lot of problems in their life.

They keep on running here and there to solve those problems and spiritual gurus are the basic source for them to resolve their problems. Hence the market for such books is too big. You may take the example of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, Guru ji, Jaggi Guru ji and so on,” shares Chander.

Friends Publications India is the single largest publisher of books on physical education, sports and health sciences in India with approx 700 titles of Indian and international authors. There are several titles which are prescribed as textbooks. “We have approx 50 titles on Yoga. The average print run depends on title to title but it’s not less than 3500 copies,” adds Chander, adding, “Most of the colleges/schools are the buyers of these kinds of books, but the books on yoga in Hindi sells at retail counters.”

Presentation of yoga books…

It’s not just the content but the entire presentation of the book that makes a difference. As Nidhi puts it, “The presentation of the book majorly influences the reader. A visual of a tempting dessert stimulates appetite; similarly the visual of a meditating face definitely induces a desire to achieve the same state in one's own life. This, when additionally depicting a child shall strike a chord with the children as well as parents as restlessness is one of the major complaints that the parents have against their children.”

“As far as the current market scenario goes, well illustrated books on yoga for children or even adults will always be welcome because the busy schedules may not permit most to attend group sessions outside. Such books therefore become a handy DIY (do-it-yourself) kind of a tool,” she adds.

Talking about the books on yoga that Jiwan Publishing House publishes, Nidhi adds, “We target the early teenage group where the hormones have just begun to play their game and the young adolescents find it difficult to cope with the sudden physical and emotional changes. With practice of the discipline, not only does their stress find a constructive release, it also grooms them into balanced individuals for a lifetime.”

Printed vs Digital books

“For people who truly love books, print is the only medium that will satisfy. Print books do not have to disappear for e-books to flourish,” tells Gupta. Similar views were shared by Chander who says, “We are very poor in power sector. We may sell e-books in metropolitan cities but in other areas only printed books are sold. The connectivity of internet is very slow; people are not familiar with the gadgets.”

While, Nidhi opines that an e-book is always handy to cater to the mass audience.

On a concluding note...

“The lifestyle that plagues us now-a-days is sure to take a toll on our mental and physical health. Many of us are incidentally awakened to the means to better our health and in such a case, well written books on health, fitness, yoga etc., will definitely find their way to the personal book shelves,” says Nidhi as a matter of fact.

Her views are seconded by Gupta who says, “Lot of medical problems can be resolved without the use of medicines but people are unaware of it. With the help of books on yoga, people can cure themselves of acute and chronic diseases without the use of any medicines. But, books are not really helpful until they are implemented. Only those should read selfhelp books who want to help themselves. Read these books and put it to practical use.”

(With inputs from: Nidhi Kundra, chief editor, Jiwan Books International; Chander Mani Gosain of Friends Publications India and VK Gupta of Indian Books Centre/Sri Satguru Publications.)

says Narendra Kumar, chairman and MD – Har-Anand Publications, in conversation with GS Jolly, deputy editor, All About Book Publishing (ABP).

Chairman and managing director of Har-Ananad Publications – Narendra Kumar (NK) is considered the leading light of Indian publishing. He has been doyen of Indian publishing industry for many decades and has been hailed by Washington Post as “A legend in his life time.” He has written extensively on Indian publishing and lectured both in India and abroad to promote its cause on global scale. He has been a member of various UNESCO and WIPO groups. He has held various important posts like the president, Federation of Indian Publishers; chairman, CAPEXIL; Trustee, National Book Trust, and member, National Book Development Council. He has been the youngest publisher to have been included into the Indian publishing Hall of Fame. He has won many national and international awards including “Order of the State of the Italian Solidarity” conferred by the president of the Republic of Italy.

Acknowledged among India’s most distinguished educationists, he has been responsible for creating an education system responsive to the changing social needs at national and international level. He has been chairman of DPS Educational Society for almost a decade. Here, he shares his views on the Indian publishing and its various aspects with GS Jolly (GSJ), deputy editor, ABP. Excerpts.

GSJ: India has a pulsating book publishing industry with literacy rate touching 74.04 percent in 2011 census and the industry bringing out around 80,000 new titles every year, is it too much or too little ?

NK: Indian publishing industry has enormous potential and it has still a long way to go. You have to bear in mind that we have around 300 million children going to schools and still many millions who need school education. This clearly indicates that Indian publishing industry, along with US, could become the largest book publishing hub. Like British publishing in the 19th century, Indian publishing can meet the educational needs of the countries of Asia and Africa now. India publishes books in more languages than any other country of the world.

GSJ: On the piracy front, India herself is a victim. What measures do you suggest to contain it?

NK: The menace of piracy can be confronted on two fronts- moral and legal. People should be ethical in dealing with intellectual property and stern measures should be in place for the violators.

GSJ: With the changing scenario in the creation and distribution of knowledge due to rapid growth in information and communication technologies, what role the book is expected to play in dissemination of knowledge in the days to come?

NK: The book remains the single largest disseminator of knowledge. No matter how much you believe in the information technology, there is no greater joy than to have a book as man’s companion. As a person who has spent a quarter of a century in education and connected with the largest chain of schools can say that the modern technology has a role to play but only as an additional factor, not as primary tool of education.

GSJ: It is generally said that an Indian is a stranger in its own country because of multiplicity of languages. Does it have an effect in the overall growth of Indian publishing Industry?

NK: Multiplicity of languages is an important factor in making Indian society plural and inclusive. It could have been a major factor in the further growth of Indian publishing industry, if the government had played a greater role in promoting same book in various languages. There should be an organisation which could on a regular basis fund the translation of books and their promotion instead government spending millions of rupees in publishing books. National Book Trust was set up to perform two functions - promoting reading habit in the country and promoting Indian books abroad.

GSJ: Publishers may say that every manuscript which reaches their office is faithfully read but that may not be always true, but there is an accusation that publishers reject manuscript without reading. What do you have to say about it?

NK: The idea that publishers return manuscripts unread and not interested in the works of beginners is a delusion which will never be eradicated from some minds because supply of manuscripts is the life blood of the business. A publisher on the other hand cannot afford to spend time on reading a manuscript beyond the point at which he gets convinced that it has no chance of acceptance; no purpose would be served by such pointless reading. It will only delay conveying the decision to the author. How much a manuscript is read could vary from a few pages, through a few chapters, to a whole book. But the point that publishers as a class are not interested in the works of new authors is not to be accepted without reservation, it has to be said that nowadays there is no lack of material submitted for publication. Unsolicited manuscripts pour in all the times even though a few pompous publishers actually refuse to accept work that has not been invited or commissioned. But if everybody adopted this prissy attitude, there would have been no Gone with the Wind – the classic example of a bestseller that literally came to its publisher through the post.

GSJ: Authors normally complain that publishers do not pay attention towards promotion of their books. How far they are justified?

NK: Authors tend to forget that promotion costs a lot of money. Most authors think that their books have not been adequately advertised or promoted. It is very unfair remark. Who else would be interested in promoting the book than the publisher? It is a matter of maintaining a balance between expenditure and returns.

Advertising does help to promote a title. But you cannot sell a book by advertising alone. There is a clash of interests and only mutual sympathy and forbearance can steer the book to a much greater height than an atmosphere about the publisher’s intent. Who can deny the role played by publishers in making a book popular?

GSJ: Distribution is generally called the weakest link in publishing chain. Please enlighten.

NK: Distribution depends directly on the demand of a book. Books are sold on sale or return basis. One should keep in mind the fact that each book sent to a bookseller or returned by the bookseller costs money and that adds to the publishing cost. You would appreciate that publishing is a financially weak industry with hardly any public equity in it. Even when a possible market is in sight, and the actual sale is doubtful and promotion costs add to the total publishing costs, a publisher will try to reach the market which is certain than trying in an uncertain arena.

GSJ: What makes a bestseller - the reputation of the author, incredible writing, quality of production or aggressive marketing. If the last alternative has anything to do with it, tell us about some bestsellers created by you.

NK: Bestsellers cannot be created, they just happen. But still many factors play important role like reputation of the publishing house; author’s cooperation in promotion of the book; subject of critical interest at that point of time; and the ability of the publisher to judge its potential. Among the enumerable books that I published, the books that particularly stand out are - Rape of Bangladesh by Anthony Macarenhas and Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins and Z A Bhutto- If I Am Assassinated.

GSJ: As the book is changing form, how do you visualize the future of reading?

NK: I am a great believer in the future of book as it is the medium of education, entertainment and knowledge. There is nothing like holding a book and being able to turn the pages that no other device can substitute. I don’t see any danger to reading.

GSJ: It is believed that an impressive display of editorial skills, while not fool proof, is probably the best guarantor of successful author - editor relationship. What is your take on this?

NK: Of course, there is no doubt that a competent editor plays a critical role in strengthening the relationship with the author. However, editor has to remember that eventually the book is that of the author and not his.

GSJ: Publishers by and large do not mention the print run in the contract. Any reason for that?

NK: I don’t understand why print run is an issue. The issue is the total number of books sold. However, authors are given the information whenever they ask for it. Contracts sometime cover not only just one printing of a specific quantity but also reprints and new editions during the legal term of copyright.

GSJ: Copyright these days is divisible into many rights as there are different kinds of buyers. With each passing year and its new technologies, new rights appear. Who do you think will do justice for full exploitation of these rights- Author or publisher?

NK: Publisher is the best guarantor of the interest of the author.

GSJ: Willful desertion by successful and favored authors is another vexation that all publishers experience from time to time. What is your take on this?

NK: There is no solution to the issue raised by you. It makes me sad. The relationship between author and publisher is sacred and meaningful. I wish we could go back to the traditional publishing where such things were not happening.

GSJ: How do you visualise the Indian publishing ten years from now?

NK: So long as student population continues to grow, Indian publishing will grow from strength to strength. It has a great future.

GSJ: With everybody going digital, how long the book made of paper will last?

NK: I am not a prophet of doom. I am a strong believer that book will remain till eternity.

- Relevance of military books in today's scenario

Defence writing is now acquiring a new genre. “Even the style of defence writing has undergone a change. Earlier it used to be a very formal, stereotyped which was targeted to a niche audience. Now we have different writers coming up from journalistic backgrounds, who write in a different easy-paced style which appeals to all,” tells Rajan Arya of Pentagon Press.

Status of books on defence in India...

“The books on defence in India have acquired greater popularity in the past decade or so. There are new authors who are coming up, there is a greater range of titles, and even the readership has enhanced considerably. Initially, most defence books were by foreign writers, or a handful of Indian ones and had a very restricted audience, largely amongst the defence and security community. Now defence books have acquired their own distinctive niche and got a new-found status. Many defence writers, such as GD Bakshi, Gurmeet Kanwal etc have gone on to become well-known figures based on their books,” tells Rajan. While Rohan Vij, director marketing, sales & business development adds, “Defence books are generally authored by research scholars and Armed Forces Officers from reputed Think Tanks and Universities. These books have limited readership and hence leading to restricted publications.”

Market size...

“Market size is restricted to Libraries run by Think Tanks, Institutes and Universities. There are very few individual buyers for such books since they all use it as reference material from affiliated institutes,” tells Rohan as a matter of fact.

But, defence writing has many different genres. “Military history is a field that is getting increased popularity (though we were the largest army of 26 lakh personnel who fought in Second World War but not much importance is given to the war though it shaped the world and even our Independence was indirectly the result of this war). In addition, defence and security analysis, especially threat analysis, has its own market after 9/11 and 26/11. It is worthy to note that there must be over 1000 titles on 9/11 but only 10 titles on 26/11. There are books on contemporary and futuristic warfare, encyclopaedias and compilations. There is even a new genre on military fiction emerging. Thus I will put that the market size is not that big,” ponders Rajan.

Vivek Garg of Manas Publications feels that the average number of copies sold for any such book remains as 1000 copies.

Importance of military books...

“Firstly, by encouraging these books by our own authors and through our own publishing houses, we encourage strategic thinking within the country. It is really unfortunate that we could not develop strategic culture in the country and there are literally very few Strategic Thinkers. We also present the Indian perspective to the world, and to a great deal contribute to the growth of strategic culture. Books on Indian Military history also create an awareness of our history and military culture which is essential for this generation. I think to some extent, these books, also shape the minds of policy makers, by providing inputs and different perspectives on defence and strategic issues,” shares Rajan.

While Rohan adds, “These books help in analysing various defence and foreign policies of the country and suggest measures to improve upon them. In the present scenario that exists in our sub-continent they are also helpful in forming counter terrorism / internal security policies for the country. Book on Military History also helps in educating the youth about the history of their country as well as lessons learnt during those battles.”

Adding further, Rajan says, “We can always learn from the past mistakes and make a significant contribution to raising public awareness about national security and defence issues. We can also encourage researchers to take on newer areas of research.”

Publication statistics...

“We publish a title a week which makes 52 titles a year; the print varies from few hundreds to few thousands. The prices of these titles varies from Rs 495 to 995,” shares Rajan.

Similarly, Vij Books also comes up with 40-50 new print titles and approx 30 eBooks per year. “The first print run is between 400-500 copies depending upon the subject. For certain lesser read subjects, we have resorted to Print On Demand. The price ranges from Rs 500 to 1000,” adds Rohan. While, Kalpana Shukla, managing director, Knowledge World, says that they publish around 50 titles in a year, for which the print runs is minimum 500 copies, though they also use POD sometimes. “The pricing for our books starts from Rs 600,” she adds.

Manas Publications publishes 20-25 books per year, with a print run of 500-1000 copies. “The price varies between Rs 500 and Rs 1000,” says Vivek.

Target audience...

Libraries, educational institutes and research scholars in this field are the audience for such books. “Politics, international relations, security studies, defence establishments, and think tanks are the main target audience,” shares Kalpana. “But, the target audience is no longer restricted to just the defence and security community, though they form a major share of our buyers. After the Kargil War, a new awareness has come about and many in India now follow defence issues closely,” tells Rajan.

Few bestsellers...

For Pentagon Press, Thought for Change: We can do it by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is obviously one of the, bestsellers. “It needs no introduction as the book is a masterpiece. It covers 10 futuristic technologies which can take India to greater heights,” shares Rajan. For Vij Books, the bestsellers include Inside ISI - The Story and Involvement of the ISI in Afghan Jihad, Taliban, Al-Qaeda, 9/11, Osama Bin Laden, 26/11 and the Future of Al Qaeda. “The book has been authored by S K Datta, ex CBI director. The focus of this book was on ISI as an instrument of spreading jihad culture in Pakistan and elsewhere,” adds Rohan. Another bestseller is A Talent for War - The Military Biography of Lt Gen Sagat Singh. “The book has been authored Maj Gen (Retd) Randhir Sinh, the ADC of Lt Gen Sagat Singh. The book brings out the military leadership qualities of the General during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War,” tells Rohan.

For Manas Publications, The Writing on Wall: India Checkmates USA 2017 by General S Padmanabhan is the bestseller. “This book is set in 2017, showing a war between India and USA,” shares Vivek.

For Knowledge World, ICON – Marshall of the Indian Air Force, an authorised Biography by (Late) Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, is the bestseller. “The book captures the story of one man who has fought the Second World War, and led the Indian Air Force in the 1965 war with Pakistan to a successful victory for India. The book is a ‘must’ for all, especially the passing out cadets from various academies,” shares Kalpana. “Publishing for a specialised audience has personally been a learning experience, especially with meeting intellectual personalities,” she concludes.