Publishing

tells Dinesh Goyal of Goyal Brothers Prakashan in an exclusive interaction with AABP.

The role of K-12 publishing in India is very important. There are around 18,000 secondary schools across the country. With around 15 million children in India studying in K-12, which includes the schools affiliated to CBSE, ICSE and state boards. While, the number of primary and buy viagra cheap online pre-primary schools across the country is huge, informed Dinesh Goyal of Goyal Brothers Prakashan. “This is the time when it is the teachers or the parents who decide upon the purchase of books. Once a child enrolls himself or herself in a professional course, they become the deciding authority. They become mature enough to browse on the internet and then select the book of their choice. While, for K-12 segment, internet sales accounts for just 2-3 percent,” he added.

Dinesh also shares an interesting fact that demographically, Keralites spend more on the reference books as they are more job-oriented. Then comes, the people from Punjab, who do spend a lot on books, but the utilization is less. “Since they can afford it, they buy it, but they are not very education-oriented,” he added as a matter of fact. “Bengalis also like to spend on books,” he added. Another interesting point he shared was that in Bihar, people spend more on education after the child passes 12th standard, as they want their children to do well in competitive exams.

Talking about the Indian children vis-à-vis foreign counterparts, Dinesh said, “Indian children are more intelligent though they have lesser exposure. The competition is tough and children study to secure better jobs for themselves. Hence, the Indian syllabus is also very rich.”

The strong credentials...

Goyal Brothers Prakashan is a name to reckon with among the leading, well known and prestigious publishing houses in India. Founded in 1960, by late Kewal Ram Gupta it has made progress by leaps and bounds. From a humble beginning, four decades ago, it now caters to over 25,000 schools all over India and sells over eight million books. So what is the secret behind this huge set-up? “It is the family business and our unity is our biggest strength. We are five brothers and www.icird.org we all work under one umbrella. We believe in doing good work and that too with our ethics,” told the humble Dinesh.

With 800 titles, their publishing house offers books in the price range of Rs 100-180.The average print runs differ – from 10,000 to 20,000 to 50,000 copies, depending upon the title. Though their books are marketed across the country, the major share goes to Delhi, Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh. “All the school textbooks are revised every three years while the books for 11th and 12th standard are revised every year. Our books are in English language, barring the Hindi textbook. All our authors are from India,” informed Dinesh.

The group employs 700 staff, with 120 people in marketing and 75-80 in editorial. They prefer to work through distributors as catering directly to schools has never been their first choice.

On exports...

Their export-oriented unit Goyal Books Overseas Pvt Ltd, supplies books for gulf countries. “The syllabus for the Indian schools in gulf countries is similar as in India,” told Dinesh. On asking about the pricing of these books, Dinesh replied, “The price of our books is same for all countries. But, there are two lacunaes – it depends on the demand and supply for retailers and the local expenses within the country.”

Revealing further on exports it was informed that almost 5-20 percent of the total exports (Rs 150 crore), is of books from Goyal Brothers Prakashan while 80 percent of the exports being the merchant exports.

On e-learning solutions...

Ten years back, Goyal Brothers Prakashan started offering CD–ROMs alongwith their textbooks, which was very successful. “We forayed into EduLab International 3-4 years back. We have around 15,000-20,000 members on our portal, where we offer the content for Class 3-12,” told Dinesh. His son Akhil Goyal is looking after the e-learning solutions.

“We have already converted some of our best titles in e-books. We wish to go global and e-books is the best way to achieve it. We have an in-house team for conversion, though we also outsource some of our requirements,” told Akhil. “The market is shaping up for these products but the technology is changing at a rapid pace and so is a challenge to meet up with these technological changes. Besides, the teachers also need a lot of training to use these solutions. But, we are offering training to them as well,” he added.

On general books…

Charles Baker Books Ltd is the London-based wing of Goyal Prakashan, publishing general books. “Our sale from this division is more in Africa than in India,” informed Dinesh.

On a concluding note…

“Books should be meaningful and the society as well as the country should gain in the process,” concluded Dinesh.



The ultimate reference tool remains the Encyclopaedias for all of us. But, this segment of publishing industry is also transforming with the digital invasion. With Encyclopaedia Britannica offering only digital version, the path has been set and publishers are following suit. What publishers think about this transformation and where the industry is going, finds AABP. Digital is the future of Encyclopaedias

Encyclopaedias have played and continue to play a very significant role with the academic world. They are the backbone of any self-respecting library as collieries of updated universal literature in all subject areas. Subodh Kapoor, chief editor, Cosmo Publications, shares more about the trends in the encyclopedia segment.

The word "encyclopaedia" comes from mistaken Koine Greek transliterated enkyklios paideia; enkyklios , meaning "circular, recurrent, required regularly, general" and paideia , meaning "education". Together, the phrase literally translates as "common knowledge" or "general knowledge". Copyists of Latin manuscripts took this phrase to be a single Greek word, enkyklopaidia, with the same meaning, and this spurious Greek word became the New Latin word "encyclopaedia", which in turn came into English.

Europe has been the traditional home for encyclopaedia publishing for close to past 500 odd years. The Americans revolutionised the publishing of these kinds of reference works in their quest for consolidating the big pool of knowledge that had been accumulated by the Europeans, and making it available to the newly established institutions of knowledge after their independence. It also ensured the satisfying of the great hunger for new information and breakthroughs in Europe which at that time supplied most of the scientific and technical literature to America. Currently America is the epicenter of Encyclopaedia publishing especially in the scientific and technical areas. The Russians, markedly in the Soviet era, and the Japanese have published some significant works in this specialized field of publishing.

The hard work behind Encyclopaedia…

Publishing an Encyclopaedia is a time and cost intensive proposition, and requires a different skill-set for the publishing house. It must, by its very nature, bring together a number of experts in a particular field in which the encyclopaedia need to be planned, which means a good knowledge of the field itself for the editor or the publisher initiating the work. It is then painstakingly pursued for the articles or the required information to come through from experts. Once a reasonable pool of information has been collected, distilled and collated, the actual work of putting it all together starts for the publishing team. The decision for the publishing team to put a limit to the amount of information to be included, and by that is meant the number of pages and volumes that must be published, becomes a critical one. The task of heading the team of editors or that of a chief editor is therefore assigned to a field expert, having the expertise and the peer respect for getting the latest information required to make the encyclopaedia a commercial success.

The Indian scenario…

India with its huge pool of scholars and scientists should be a country leading this field of publishing. Unfortunately it does not. The scientific and scholarly output of our academic community leaves a lot to be desired. One abhors the lack of peer reviewed articles and scientific literature that is put out by our leading institutions, universities and technical colleges. This output forms the very backbone of publishing endeavours in this specialized field. In the Asian region, the Chinese, the Japanese and even the Koreans are way ahead of us in the output of scientific and technical literature.

So, inevitably India has to depend on encyclopaedias published abroad especially in the technical and scientific areas. We are gaining some ground in the Humanities and Social Sciences where Indian publishers are beginning to put out reasonably good reference works but they are still too few and far between to make any significant numbers. On the back of these small numbers is the terrible situation we face in India where some unscrupulous publishers have been publishing what is referred to as “cut-and-paste” encyclopaedias which are nothing more than putting together information taken from the web and hawked as encyclopaedic works. This has invariably brought bad name and the foreign institutional buyers are viewing encyclopaedia publishing from India with a very liberal dose of skepticism.

The situation with the Indian buyers is no better. Although Indian higher education system has expanded at a fast pace by adding nearly 20,000 colleges and more than eight million students in a decade from 2000-01 to 2010-11, and as of 2011, India has 42 central universities, 275 state universities, 130 deemed universities, 90 private universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 33 Institutes of National Importance, the purchase of encyclopaedia and reference works is abysmally low. In fact the encyclopaedias and reference works of similar nature are the last in the list of priorities with libraries. With library budgets being squeezed across the board with government supported and funded institutions the problem gets further compounded.

Currently we see a peculiar situation in India where those authorized to sanction purchase of books in universities have put a blanket ban on purchases beyond a particular price-point, and no prizes for guessing, this definitely puts encyclopaedias beyond the scope of consideration for purchase. It is quite obvious that encyclopaedias and reference works are considered a luxury, thus defeating the whole idea of a “library” which more than anything else is a house of reference. So marketing of encyclopaedias is a huge challenge in this country, the decisive factor being the reputation of the publisher and the past output. With well over 300 Encyclopaedias and reference works, Cosmo has played a significant role in this niche market.

Encyclopaedias have played and continue to play a very significant role with the academic world. They are the backbone of any self-respecting library as collieries of updated universal literature in all subject areas. The libraries cannot, should not, deprive the users of this uniquely significant tool of keeping abreast with the latest information in the case of scientific and technical literature, and peer-reviewed and collated material in the areas of humanities and social sciences. If textbooks are a must for students than the important information, they can garner only from an encyclopaedia which is a necessary element of studying a subject. One can argue that if Indian students do not get into the habit of referring to secondary sources then a lot of blame should be laid at the doorsteps of the libraries for not providing them with the right tools. And the most significant tool in secondary source reference is – THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA.

Encyclopaedias from Cosmo

Cosmo has had a reasonably successful experience with publishing reference works. The fact that the first work which Cosmo published, way back in 1972, was a multi-volume encyclopaedic dictionary “Dictionary of Economic Products of India, in 10 volumes”, laid the path for a sensible and mature vision of looking at such publishing. They have published some of the leading and ambitious reference works and encyclopaedias to have been undertaken in this part of the world, many of which have enjoyed international success. Some of these include their bestsellers – The Indian Encyclopaedia (25 Volumes); Encyclopaedia of Indian Heritage (90 Volumes); Encyclopaedia of Tantra (5 Volumes); The Hindus. Encyclopaedia of Hinduism (5 Volumes); The Muslims. Encyclopaedia of Islam (11 Volumes); Encyclopaedia of Indian Mysticism (12 Volumes); Encyclopaedia of Indian Tribes and Castes (23 Volumes), and many more fine works of scholarly excellence.

Cosmo has recently partnered with an American publisher – Impact Global Publishing Inc. – to bring to India some of the finest Encyclopaedias and reference works at special Indian prices which are international bestsellers, including, International Encyclopaedia of Gods & Goddesses; International Encyclopaedia of Worship in All Religions; Encyclopaedia of Asian Philosophy and Religions; Encyclopaedia of Modern Philosophies of Law; as well as perennials like Durant’s The Story of Civilization; Hastings’ Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, etc. The uniqueness of this partnership is the fact that the Encyclopaedias are released in India simultaneously to their being made available to the rest of the world.

The markets…

Most of the encyclopaedias and reference works of similar nature that we publish are targeted at the scholarly community, libraries and institutions. Due to this focused approach these works are printed in limited numbers and are therefore expensive. Cosmo now has a list of 3000 titles in its expanding catalogue, and there are more than 300 encyclopaedias and reference works of similar nature on offer. Exports form a very formidable part of this output and libraries from across the world regularly place orders for our works. We enjoy the trust of institutions and libraries to an extent that many of them place “standing orders” for our reference works. Very reputable distributors of reference works in Germany, the United Kingdom and America regularly carry special advertising campaigns only for Cosmo’s works, which is unique to a publisher from India. The recently concluded one such campaign for our “Sacred Books of the Hindus” in 38 Parts was a huge success in Continental Europe. We have partnered with three international publishers to take our “Encyclopaedia of Tantra” to the readers in their respective countries with the work in 5 volumes now in its 5th printing.

On digital publishing…

Lately, the publishing landscape of this type of publishing is seeing rapid churning of unforeseen proportions. With the onset, and the rapid strides, of digital publishing, especially those linked to the web, the print editions are seeing some stress in the output, the price and the numbers being put out. This phenomena will see rapid increase in the near future and one will see increasing number of reference works published digitally. More so with the increasing availability of Tablets and Pads and their decreasing price points, the access to ready information will only proliferate. The publishers will benefit enormously by going digital as they can attract individuals directly to their encyclopaedias in increasing numbers which was not possible with libraries, especially in a country like India where we see so little numbers being sold.

Digital is the future of encyclopaedias and huge reference works. The content can also be sold in many different ways to generate additional revenue streams for the publisher which was not possible with the print version. The digital age also ensures shortening of the time it takes from conception to execution of the works of this mega proportions. Smaller encyclopaedias meant for individual consumption however will continue to be published in bigger numbers but here also those which link the printed word to the web and provide digital content supplementing the print word will have a huge advantage. We will see a similar situation with encyclopaedias targeted at children which will continue to proliferate.


Harnessing the potential of print, electronic and online media…

With Encyclopaedia Britannica now available in digital version only, what changes have been in the industry in general and Encyclopaedia Britannica in particular, shares Sarvesh Shrivastava, managing director, Encyclopaedia Britannica South Asia.

“Acceptance of digital content over print has been steadily increasing worldwide and we see the same trend in India. Take the library as an example. With the increasing adoption of digital libraries, learners are not constrained by the availability of only a few physical copies of the titles. Reference can now be truly brought into the classroom. Schools, colleges as well as public libraries can now focus on adding more titles to their collection with the available funds instead of incurring costs in maintaining and replacing limited number of print copies. In India, digital encyclopedias are also available at substantially lower subscription cost with all the advantages of rich media and constant updates compared to the earlier investment in print versions,” tells Sarvesh Shrivastava, managing director, Encyclopedia Britannica South Asia.

There are encyclopedias available on various subjects and for various age groups, for example the Encyclopedia of India and the Student Encyclopedia. “Britannica is available on our new app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch for anytime learning and answers on the go,” he adds.

On asking about the scope of Encyclopedias in India, Sarvesh replied, “The size of the textbook market was estimated at about US $ 1.7 bn a few years back with a growth of over 10 percent and the educational online and multimedia segment was estimated to be approx. US$ 450 million with a similar growth. We see the entire segment as an opportunity for us at Encyclopædia Britannica.”

“Globally we have done away with print editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica, but in India, we are still selling some titles in print. The last 32 volume print edition set sold for Rs 65,000,” told Sarvesh.

On technological transformation…

“We have taken technology changes as an opportunity to enrich our content and bring it ubiquitously to our customers. We were amongst the first to launch an electronic encyclopedia. Later in the 90’s, with the advent of CDROMs, personal computers and the Internet, the users were suddenly at the helm of choices that made information as well as content available to them in a lot of different forms be it audiovisual, text or animation with much ease. By this time, we were already geared up for the changing times and introduced Britannica Online, a web-based version of the Encyclopædia Britannica and the first such work on the Internet in the year of 1994. Complementing this, as general reference for kids, we introduced Britannica Kids. As an institutional offering for colleges and schools, we introduced Britannica Online Academic edition and Britannica School. Britannica E-STAX has been added to offer over 1200 reference titles in eBook form covering a wide range of subject areas,” he adds.

About Encyclopaedia Britannica…

Encyclopædia Britannica is widely regarded as an authority in reference and general knowledge ever since its first publication in 1768. Thousands of eminent experts, scholars, and leaders have contributed to Britannica in the past and continue to do so today, including more than a hundred Nobel laureates, four presidents of the United States, countless Pulitzer Prize winners and others of international renown.

Information that a reader is seeking or discovers transforms to knowledge and learning when it is of the requisite level and considered trustworthy. As a pioneer in the field of knowledge and learning, they have kept our focus to offer the most trustworthy and age appropriate content during this journey of over 245 years – from the My First Britannica for children to Encyclopædia Britannica for life-long learning. Earlier, with the print edition one had to wait for the annual updates. Today, the Encyclopædia Britannica products are found in a multitude of digital age-appropriate forms that are updated continuously, many times a day.

“Trustworthy content and editorial quality has always been fundamental to our value proposition in the growing sea of questionable information in the age of internet. This differentiator has kept the momentum consistent and established a strong relationship with our users,” adds Sarvesh as a matter of fact.

“With a thrust on educational initiatives; today, we are geared to harness the immense potential of the convergence of print, electronic, and online media. We have done this by consolidating our product offerings and going beyond reference products thereby developing full-fledged learning solutions catalogue, providing individualized learning for various grades and reading levels,” he adds.

In terms of reference the bestsellers in India are Britannica Global Edition; Britannica Student Encyclopedia; Britannica Illustrated Science Library and fascinating reference books in association with Rosen Educational Services to help students develop a deeper understanding of core subjects and current events.

Encyclopaedia Britannica today…

“We believe that “research” is more important than “search”. On demand information is readily available everywhere these days. Internet has given unlimited power to everyone. While this is liberating, search for trustworthy and appropriate information quickly is almost becoming an art. Britannica‘s digital products offer a fast and dependable way to access reliable information. For these reasons, we continue to be most used resource for general reference by leading schools, colleges and universities worldwide,” concludes Sarvesh.



-Post Graduate Diploma in Book Publishing: An IGNOU innovative initiative

Two of the most frequently asked questions by subject experts who are also conversant with desktop publishing and word processing is “Why do I need an editor if my language and word processing skills are good?” And “Why do I need a publisher if I have DTP, a printer and a willing cover designer and printer.” Prof Sunaina Kumar shows the importance of training in book publishing.

It is common knowledge that there is a trust deficit between publishers and authors with both suspecting the other of unduly profiteering from the publishing process. Do publishers now see books merely as “revenue-earning products, to be quickly produced, attractively packaged, effectively publicized and completely sold”? Do authors suspect that publishers are, through various strategies, not revealing the number of copies sold/printed and not sharing royalties?

Publishing is after all a business, and books must create livelihood for all those involved in the process of creating a book—editors, printers, binders, sales and distribution entities, marketing persons and so on.

The crying need of the day, then, was a course that, while training aspiring publishing professionals, also transparently detailed the entire publishing process. Collaterally, this would benefit all the stakeholders in the process. (An offshoot of this unfortunate suspicion was some computer hardware and publishing software have emerged that, while facilitating aspiring self-publishers, killed much initiative, creativity and independent thought. Honorable exceptions apart, that is.)

Courses in book publishing

A pilot study conducted by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) revealed that while there were some courses that offered training in one or other aspects of publishing, through workshops or part-time courses, there was none that was comprehensive, recognised both by academia and industry.

PG Diploma in Book Publishing

While the world of book publishing has changed phenomenally in the last three decades or so and there are a variety of means by which books can be accessed nowadays—print, hand held devices, computers, other portable electronic devices like smart-phones, pen-drives, etc, something intrinsic has not changed. What has not changed to the same degree is the content.

The development process

In order to address this and related issues, the IGNOU and the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) held a series of brainstorming meetings and designed a Post Graduate Diploma in Book Publishing. This was a major initiative and the resultant programme (called a course in conventional parlance) was developed, designed, printed and produced under an MOU signed for the purpose by the IGNOU and the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP).

An account of the experience of offering such a Programme follows. It is hoped that many such courses specialising in one or other aspect of publishing follow our lead.

Any course on book publishing must first recount that which is already in place and point the way forward to new experiments as well. Basically, what has been in place for over three hundred years is what needs to be systematically presented to an aspiring publishing professional before going into any future developments.

Our attempt in preparing a book publishing programme is a ringside window into the field of book publishing. This is followed by courses (papers in common parlance) that would take students through the entire publishing process. (Since publishing for newspapers and periodicals is a different thing altogether, we have not gone into this in detail except for pointing out the difference in the two domains.)

As mentioned earlier, our surveys of such programmes already available in India showed that the existing ones were either for some weeks, one month or part-time or occasional. This meant that faculty was available only for the duration of the book publishing course and the materials – print, hardcopy or soft or lectures and field trips were essentially ephemeral in nature.

We therefore felt that leverage of the existing knowledge, skills and resources of the IGNOU and the FIP would go a long way in preparing a course that could serve both for introduction and skill upgradation. Such a course would be available in print, via interactivity using multimedia and be validate by evaluation followed by certification in case it was to be of any purpose. We call it the PG Diploma in Book Publishing (PGDBP).

The PG Diploma in Book Publishing has eight courses or parts: Introduction To Publishing And Its Legal Aspects (compulsory); Editing and Pre-Press (compulsory); Production & Emerging Technologies (compulsory); Marketing Promotion and Distribution of Books (compulsory); Editing Books For Children (optional); Editing Scientific Technical and Medical Books (optional); Editing Textbooks (optional) and Apprenticeship/ Internship (compulsory).

The last component, designed again in collaboration between IGNOU and the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) was a four-week compulsory training in a publishing house that was a member of the FIP. This was an in-built measure of certification and validation both – certification by our identified supervisor of the training and validation through a daily diary and a viva—a measure necessary in these days of fly-by-night printing houses (calling themselves publishers) and DTP companies that can provide seemingly genuine certificates, logo and all.

The elective (optional) papers include those components for which that is a demand in the market which include editing books for children, editing STM and editing textbooks. It has come as a surprise to many of our students that publishing does not only mean editing and that there are many, many openings in marketing, sales and distribution.

What we learnt

Our experience, as those involved in the actual training has been most instructive. While, designing this programme we tried to cater to both entry-level learners and those seeking skill and knowledge upgradation. To our pleasant surprise, we saw our applicants include retired bureaucrats, middle-level employees of publishing houses and of IGNOU itself (IGNOU is the largest publisher of tertiary level textbooks in the country), technocrats, housewives, aspirants to jobs in educational and administration setups like the NCERT, the Rajya Sabha, and so on.

What has been seen is that most learners are keen to undertake the training as designed and structured by us (our manual gives detailed instructions for both trainer and trainee). This includes one week in each of the core areas covered in courses mentioned before. We find that a fair number wish to get their training in the publishing house, printing house or DTP concern where they are already employed. They are looking for skill-upgradation or certification.

What still needs attention?

The internet, with its capability of overriding time and place constraints is the biggest culprit for offering chances of plagiarism, copyright violation, breach of privacy and trust, the temptation to copy-and-paste, etc. Since the internet is an evolving entity whose courtesies or lakshman rekhas are not yet in place, we have tried to sensitise our learners to what constitutes copyright violations, IR violations, etc. Many users of what is available on the internet have no concept that what can be read cannot be passed-off as one’s own. As soon as one danger is identified and tackled, another crops up. A small example is that most people in academia do not understand that even an unpublished thesis is copyright!

Another issue that most authors do not seem to be aware of is that Author-Publisher agreement is important to protect both the parties. Financial loss apart, the practical aspects of preparing an MSS for publishing are clearly laid out in this and prevent much heartburn later—even after both the parties may be no more, the heirs will benefit.

We propose to keep updating our materials and would be looking out for modularly doing so by creating elective (optional) courses on self publishing, do-it-yourself publishing, print-on-demand, new modes of distribution, multiple distribution channels, etc.

(Prof Sunaina Kumar is on the faculty of IGNOU and has developed courses on creative writing, feature writing, copy editing and proofreading and is currently working on a course on World Literatures in English Translation. Currently she holds the charge of director, School of Humanities as well.)



What’s life without books? They educate, inform and help shape our lives. Thus, a publisher, a book distributor and a bookshop – all have an important role in our lives. Delhi Book Store (DBS) is not just a book distributor, they are also a publisher and they have one of the finest bookshops in the country. Here’s more from this book world giant.

No matter what his rank or position may be, the lover of books is the richest and the happiest of all. –John Alfred Langford.

While, the intellectual giant Chanakya said, “Swadeshe pujyate raja, Vidwan sarvatra pujyate,” which means a king is worshipped in his own kingdom but a man with proper knowledge is honoured, respected, or worshipped everywhere…always…in all ways, irrespective of any country, creed, or colour.

These sayings bear a unique value. A qualified or learned man can earn the bread anywhere in the world with a little effort. Many avenues are opened wide for the legible and skilled persons. In contrast, an illiterate struggles with life everywhere all the time. There is no end of their sufferings and pains.

This is for what we devote the first phase of our life in earning knowledge or qualification. In ancient Gurukul system of education, students had to spend their early life with their Gurus for gaining proper knowledge in every sphere of life. In fact, learning has never been restricted to any age bar. We learn in our whole life—from cradle to cremation ground.

No doubt, books are the main source of acquiring knowledge of mundane as well as supra mundane world. This is for what in spite of rapid growth in digital technology and other techno-based learning sources, the value and thirst of reading a printed book is indispensible.

DBS, one of pioneer bookstores in Asia is tuned with this basic human psychology – puts all its efforts in collecting books from around the world, and serve the readers community by providing them what they actually need. DBS possesses an immense passion for every title of every field. May it be the unique title of medical, architecture, or technology or a cutting edge reference book, or a light novel of world class novelist, or a classic text on religion…DBS have all of these. Now the number of collection has crossed over 3,00,000 number.

“We regard our customers as the glacier of our continuous progress and value their time and money. Our well-experienced staff is always ready to attend every customer individually to fulfill their needs and demands in a cordial way,” shares Prateek Ahuja, CEO, DBS. Undoubtedly, DBS is well known for its proper, prompt, and aesthetic customer service.

And, Delhi Book Store is not just about book distribution. DBS IMPRINTS, the sister concern of DBS, is blooming day by day with its well-researched titles. Besides other relevant and contextual titles, DBS IMPRINTS has recently published a key series on Library Science. The Library and Information Science book series is extremely important for academics, researchers and practitioners who are involved in information science and librarianship research. The series will aid to keep up with the latest research findings and trends. The series promulgate new ideas and research in the field of library and information science providing research monograph related to leading edge aspects of the field by key authors.

Surmounting all the hurdles and difficulties in present day’s business world DBS unfurls its flag of victory gloriously and continues to move ahead with sincere perseverance and constant hard work.


DBS – Quick Facts

  • More than 3,00,000 titles under single-roof
  • Books from Indian and foreign publishers
  • Books sold at attractive prices
  • Books displayed subject wise on different floors
  • A must visit book showroom for all age groups



DBS IMPRINTS aims at:

  • Publishing new titles
  • Buying & selling copyrights
  • Open to booksellers, distributors and individuals



Looking for a publisher?

DBS invites authors from all corners of the world to get their work imprinted from DBS IMPRINTS and have a professional, profitable and unselfish experience.



The Indian trade publishing is growing at a rapid rate. Though the publishing industry might be cribbing of decreasing print runs, the bestsellers grab the market while more authors and more books are seeing the light of the day. Here, Varsha Verma brings an insight into the trade publishing in India.
The statistics...

Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of the Indian publishing industry is that there are no accurate statistics available. Bikash D Niyogi of Niyogi Books estimates it to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore. As per Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO, Westland, though there are no accurate numbers available but it estimated that trade publishing in India would be around Rs 800-1,200 crore. Similar views were expressed by Thomas Abraham, managing director, Hachette India, “No exact figures exist, since this is not a monitored market. But industry estimates peg the trade or consumer side of publishing at about Rs 1,000 crore.” While, Swarup Nanda, CEO, Leadstart Publishing, says that the estimated numbers are Rs 3,000 crore, which includes gross sales of books, where the money comes back to all the stake holders, retailers, publishers, authors, etc.

Growth in trade publishing industry...

Readership is growing rampantly and possibly at the highest rate in the last seven years. Bikash estimates that the growth in trade publishing segment is not less than 15 percent per year. The Indian trade publishing industry is the top slot on percentage growth of paperbacks sold globally as per AC Nielsen report with a Y-O-Y growth of 35 percent. “Yet, what people are missing to spot is readership that is becoming short tailed, i.e. bestseller led. On a broad frame, people in India begin reading non-academic material post 21 years of age, or after education is over and read about a book or two per year. Due to the population, the numbers are growing up, yet what is happening is that since people read lesser, they don’t want to experiment and only read the bestsellers. Which explains a phenomenon like Chetan Bhagat e.g. A Five Point Someone (almost a decade old title) is doing amazing numbers on the Nielsen charts even today, in fact all his books are on the list. Inference being, from the same publishing house with the same teams, you will have a title struggling to do a few hundreds and another doing millions. There are only pyramids and ant hills,” tells Swarup.

What publishers look in a manuscript...

Each publisher has its own guidelines for accepting a manuscript. What one publisher rejects, often is published by another. “We simply look at writing which is absorbing. We have an evaluation metrics which we follow to commission a book,” told Swarup.

While, Thomas says that for them quality, and some sort of difference even within well established genres, is important. “Take a look at Govinda for instance (neo-mythology/alternative history) or Walls of Delhi (translated literary fiction) or The Elephant Catchers (business) or Mr Majestic (dystopian fiction) or War Ministry (political thriller) or non-fiction like The Art of Thinking Clearly — they all stand out from the crowd,” he makes a point.

While, Bikash says that novels based on history and current affairs are two aspects they specially look out for.

“It depends on what kind of fiction you are publishing. If it is commercial, then you are looking for a gripping plot, the ability to make the reader turn the page. If it is literary, you are looking for the writing style and content which is rich in sociological or physiological insights. Of course these are generalisations as there are authors and books that manage to combine both readability and depth,” tells Gautam.

“India has got a wide variety of talented writers and amazing content to leave you spellbound with their writing. Our knowledge about our modern Indian writers are limited and time has come to bring more such writers in the forefront,” adds Swarup. Publishers’ USP...

Each trade publisher has its own USP, offering author all the core benefits in terms of production, distribution, marketing & sales, and author relationship. Leadstart Publishing, for example, has direct retail distribution to over 104 towns and cities across India. “Alongside, distribution arrangements with all the largest book distributors in the country and global alliances to work for performing Indian titles are also in place,” adds Swarup.

Similarly, Westland believes in working closely with authors in all aspects of the publishing process including marketing. “As a company that has its roots in distribution, Westland is one of the few publishers that directly deals with every key retailer in this country,” adds Gautam as a matter of fact.

“We promote authors by all possible means. We try to make the books as attractive as possible, give publicity through book release functions and advertisement, generate visibility by placing the books in bookshops. All these lead to the author's benefit,” tells Bikash.

While, Thomas says that Hachette India offers a quality imprint, great editorial interface, top notch design and production, and industry leading sales and marketing. “But most importantly we publish a varied but tight list…of just 40-odd books per year. So with us there is much greater attention,” he adds.

Print runs...

It is interesting to note that the print runs for trade books vary from title to title. Swarup defines the print titles under three different models: 1 annual grand release – print run size 2.5 lakh – 5 lakh; 3 monthly large releases (30 / year) – print run size 5,000 – 15,000; and 10 releases per month of new talent titles (120/ year) – print run – 500 – 2,000 copies.

While, Thomas says that at Hachette India, it varies widely depending on segment. “Something like Stephenie Meyer or Steve Jobs are in the lakh plus segment while a poetry book would be 1,500 copies,” he says. As per Gautam, initial print runs vary from 3,000 copies to five lakh copies (in the case of Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy). 
Besides, at Niyogi Books, the average print runs remain 2000 copies.

Print on Demand (POD) in trade publishing...

On asking about the use of Print on Demand for trade publishing, Gautam replies, “We have not yet started using POD but we are not very far from using this.” While, publishers like Leadstart are already using POD for their advantage. “We do use POD for two kinds of books, the new ones which have yet to prove themselves or for backlists where much demand is not forecasted. While selecting a POD printer, we just look at the turnaround time and production quality with the commercials,” adds Swarup quickly.

While, Thomas says, “POD means short run printing which paradoxically implies a capability of precision and scale in handling multiple volumes across titles. So that's the first thing I look for — not just somebody who has a couple of machines but whether there is the capacity to efficiently, cost-effectively and quickly cope with multiple orders.”

Trade vis-a-vis education publishing...

“The differences between trade and education publishing are obvious — from audience to type of book to pricing to most importantly the risk. Every consumer book is a gamble. We have different divisions engaged in educational publishing abroad, but Hachette India currently focuses only on the trade side of publishing,” adds Thomas.

The marketing strategy for both education and trade publishing are different. “Buying fiction is an impulse purchase while buying a text book is compulsory for the student. Marketing for fiction focuses on the consumer while marketing for STM focuses on the decision makers who are responsible for syllabi and on the titles that best cover these,” tells Gautam.

While, Bikash says, “Educational and STM books have a well defined target readership. Number of educational institutions and students being known, there is a captive audience too. Publishing fiction is a totally different ball-game where the readership is amorphous and uncertain.”

“When you work with a forecastable business model, say Academic publishing, for a seventh standard geography book for example, you will have a firm estimate of the floor (minimum books which can sell) and the ceiling. Also, your entire portfolio has just say 100 titles (10 subjects x 10 standards), all the content is the public domain, so anyone can publish the content. Essentially, anyone with a better product and a better price will beat you. So the entire effort is of being more efficient. While on a non-forecastable business model like Trade publishing, you have to concentrate more on effectivity, i.e. getting the product right, marketing it to create a demand, then sell and look at efficiencies much later, when the book is a bestseller of sorts,” further explains Swarup.

Transitions in publishing...

More than publishing, the market is changing rapidly…. “And these changes — some economy linked, some linked to the changes in technology or just methods of bookselling — have all begun to impact publishing,” says Thomas. While Bikash adds, “The biggest change I notice is in the marketing of books. Amazon, Flipkart and others have revolutionized how to reach books to the readers.”

“The growth of the e-book and the growth of online retail along with the emergence of self publishing would be the three main changes the publishing world is facing today. Added to this, in India, we are seeing a demographic shift towards a new generation of readers. While those educated in English are more comfortable with an Indianised version of the language and those whose cultural sensibilities are rooted in India. Authors like Chetan Bhagat who target this segment have been the most successful,” shares Gautam.

On ebooks...

Even though ebooks are still in nascent stage in India, but the segment is growing, more so for trade books. Publishers are upgrading themselves to gear up to this rising need. Let’s see how. “We were the first trade publisher to go live with a full batch of ebooks and today we have reached simultaneous ebooks publication capability for all our books. That has meant a change in workflow, but that has now been achieved,” tells Thomas proudly.

“While ebooks are yet to take off in India, we do believe that this format will increasingly become an important segment of our business. Though print sales will decline, we don’t believe this will disappear. Essentially as publishers, our role is to make all our titles in both formats so that the reader gets a choice,” shares Gautam.

“Though e-book in India is still in its infancy, it has the potential of capturing the younger generation,” says Bikash.

But, with ebooks comes the problem of piracy and publishers are finding it difficult to cope up with this problem. “We started e-publishing programme with a bang and then saw some of our titles stated being cracked and made available for free downloads on sites promoting piracy. The world’s largest e-publishing platform from where the file was cracked, seemed to have the best DRM (Digital Rights Management), but they neither took any special measures nor much of ownership of our loss. We do not feel our content is safe in digital form now and are re-looking at the plans. We do not want to get to the position of where the music industry got post digitization of music,” says Swarup cautiously.

Role of media in marketing campaign...

Coming to the role of media in promoting books, Gautam feels that publicity and review copies to editors are part and parcel of any publisher’s marketing plan. “But the definition of what constitutes the possible avenues for reviews have undergone a sea change as it now includes on line bloggers as well as lay readers who post their opinion about books on websites like Flipkart and Amazon,” he adds.

Similar views were shared by Bikash, who says, “I think they play a very big role. These are the only media a publisher can afford to let the whole world know that he/she has a valuable product on offer.”

“The value of media for book is significant and is only growing. Direct e-mailers to book buyers is huge advantage that the e-commerce retailers have brought in. The same has channelized the marketing efforts as well and have added to the market efficiencies. E.g. if you wish to launch an alternate mythology title, an ecommerce giant like Flipkart has a well-organized data base of all the people who have bought the same genre and can effectively send an e-mailer only to those, which produces amazing results,” adds Swarup.

Thomas sums it up in one sentence, “It all comes down to how good one's targeting was… in the whole direct to consumer publicity or marketing push.”

Role of social media marketing...

Social media are great channels if used well. Facebook, for example, is a peer-to-peer medium while a Twitter is an influencer-follower medium. “What an author needs is to identify which platform possess what type of readers and how can he/she connect to them i.e. say following an Amish Tripathi’s or Anand Neelakantan’s Twitter handle or in a community of poetry lovers page on Facebook and then concentrate effort on that media vehicle. What a lot of people do is put in too much of effort at trying to build their own presence, which is a time consuming effort and in turn not reaching out to existing communities. A lot of authors also make a page for themselves and never make a single update post that. In summary, if you wish to make a page, for a successful execution, treat it like a media vehicle - be regular with at least 3-4 updates every day, in sync with what that page is for, also be present on existing communities and influencers in your readership genre,” shares Swarup.

“We do a lot of social media for books when it's relevant. No real advice, except use it to effect…don't just jump on the bandwagon because it's the new buzzy thing that everybody's using,” cautions Thomas.

And this medium is going to increase as sale of books move towards on line retail, adds Gautam. “I believe all publishers including Westland are still at a nascent stage in the use of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. There is no way of getting away from social media and it is in the interest of every author and publisher to learn how to make best use of the medium,” he says.

Though Niyogi Books is still not there in a big way, Bikash thinks that the social media can be effectively used for promotion of books.

On a concluding note...

“If one is not reading, one is missing out a lot in life,” says Bikash. So, all those who think that readership is declining and publishing industry is in danger, think again...there are many more pastures to be tread. Happy publishing!


Featured trade publishers at a glance...

Westland Ltd is a subsidiary of Trent Ltd, a Tata enterprise that also owns the Landmark chain of bookstores. Westland is among the fastest growing trade publishers in the country today. Its bestselling authors include Amish, Ashwin Sanghi, Rashmi Bansal, Rujuta Diwekar, Harsha & Anita Bhogle, Devdutt Pattanaik and Preeti Shenoy. Bestsellers: Amish’s Shiva Trilogy (Immortals of Meluha, Secret of the Nagas and The Oath Of The Vayuputras), Ashwin Sanghi’s Chanakya’s Chant and Krishna Key, Rashmi Bansal’s Connect The Dots, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish, I Have a Dream and Follow Every Rainbow, Rujuta Diwekar’s Women & The Weight Loss Tamasha, Harsha & Anita Bhogle’s The Winning Way, Devdutt Pattanaik’s Seven Secrets of Shiva, Seven Secrets of Vishnu and Preeti Shenoy’s The Secret Wish List.

Leadstart Publishing features distinguished authors and writing from across the globe. Leadstart Publishing has nine imprints and publishes over 150 titles a year in all major book categories. Leadstart also has a retail distribution spread of over 100 cities. Leadstart Publishing is known for its strong fiction and non-fiction titles. They publish books for almost all segments, which include health, biography, travel, religion, history, business, health & fitness, lifestyle, politics, and children’s books. They have offices in India and the US and operates around the world in association with global partners. Bestsellers: Asura: Tale of the Vanquished- The Story of Ravana and His People, Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince by Anuja Chandramouli, Prashant Pinge’s book – Raja and the Giant Donut, etc

Hachette India is the Indian arm of the UK’s largest general books publisher, commenced operations in 2008 and began its local publishing programme in May 2009 with Amit Varma’s My Friend Sancho, the highest selling fiction debut of the year. The Children’s books division got off to a great start as well with the bestselling The Mahatma and the Monkeys. Hachette India publishes general, literary and commercial fiction, children’s and reference books as well as non-fiction, covering memoirs, self help, travel, history, business, popular culture, lifestyle and sport. Bestsellers: Shantaram, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga, Cuckoo's Calling by JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Tipping Point by Macolm Gladwell, Steve Jobs, John Grisham, Enid Blyton, The Moghul series, The Elephant Catchers (just released) by Subroto Bagchi, Edge of Desire by Tuhin Sinha, Durbar by Tavleen Singh and Billionaire's Aprrentice by Anita Raghvan are this year's chart toppers.

Niyogi Books has in a short span of time established itself as a publisher of fine illustrated books. Started in 2004, it has over 200 books on its list. It is recognised for its high quality illustrated books on a range of subjects from art and photography to heritage, culture and the history of South Asia. These books have won several awards and prizes including those from the Federation of Indian Publishers. Recently, two travel books were presented the National Tourism Award for ‘Excellence’. Over the years, Niyogi Books has developed a prestigious author base that spans various fields and professions and includes award-winning photographers and journalists, eminent art historians and curators, artists, scholars, travel writers and translators from all over the world. Bestsellers: Lata Mangeshkar in Her Own Voice, Heaven on Earth: Guruvayur Temple, Words of the Master: Tagore, Faith and Freedom: Gandhi in History, Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta, Hidden Monuments of Delhi, MF Hussain.



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