Dated: 15th September. 2008

The Publisher’s Post is a bi-weekly newsletter that contains information relating to the book publishing and book selling industry in India. For previous editions, visit the publisher’s post website

News This Week
On what’s happened in the industry this last week. If there’s news you have heard of and think it would make for interesting reading, please share it with us.

Book fair passes off unnoticed

Source: Times of India

The Delhi Book Fair this year saw a dismal response. Blame it on bad weather, poor advertising, or even Ramzan, sales figures tell the tale. Wholesellers say that, largely, the fair witnessed a subdued response this year.

Besides attracting a large number of individual buyers, the book fair serves as a platform for publishers to engage with schools and other institutions, which place bulk orders with the houses. This agenda too has received a set-back this year.

Naveen Joshi, vice-president, S Chand & Co Ltd, says: “We have somehow managed to sustain the last year’s figures as far as individual buying is concerned. However, there have been less than half the numbers of schools at 60 this time.”

Giving a similar response, Vijay Kumar Sharma, sales executive from Rupa publications, says, “Normally, we realize sales figures of about Rs 70,000 through the bulk buyers. This year, however, this figure is a mere Rs 25,000.” As a result of the bleak scenario, some publishers are even contemplating giving the fair a miss next year.

Most publishing houses blame organisers’ ineffective promotion and advertising efforts for the poor show.

Delhi gets its first art bookstore

Source: IANS

The capital added another first to its list of art initiatives by throwing open the first art bookstore-cum- reading room here Friday.

Set up by the Vadehra Gallery, the store in Defence Colony also has a large reading room sponsored by The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art.

As part of its opening, the gallery also organised a panel discussion – “Archiving Contemporary Art” – that stressed on the need and ways to archive contemporary Asian art and provide a database to collectors, dealers, artists, researchers and the industry.

The speakers included Claire Hsu from the Hong Kong-based Asia Art Archive, Austria-based scholar and archaeologist Eric Neumayer, who has collected extensive material on prehistoric art, painter Raja Ravi Varma and Indian popular culture, and Annapurna Garimella from Art, Resources and Teaching in Bangalore.

Speaking about the importance of archiving the large body of contemporary art in Asia, mostly from China, India, South Korea and the Philippines, Hsu said the Asia Art Archive was trying to do its best as a collectors’ endeavour to spread awareness, preserve and catalogue contemporary art.

Beginning as a personal project in 2000, it is now one of the leading archives in the continent with more than 20,000 titles accessible to the people free of charge, both online and offline.

‘Talking’ books draw crowds in Delhi book fair

Source: Financial Express

Want to turn the attention of your internet-crazy kid to books? Gift him a “custom-made” one that tells the story of his adventure with the Spiderman.

Feel like reading a book but not ready to tire your eyes? Buy a “talking book” that reads out the story for you.

These are some of the new concepts publishing firms have brought to the ongoing Delhi Book Fair to attract new-age readers.

“Children are more into internet surfing and television shows these days. Parents are eager to inculcate reading habit among kids. Personalised books are a unique way to pull your child towards books,” Manoj C Dalal, Vice President (Expansion) of Kolkata-based ‘My Personalised Mall’, said.

The firm has brought out some 13 titles, with stories of superheroes like Batman, X-men and Spiderman as also famous fairytale characters like the Little Mermaid. The books are printed in Texas, US after obtaining giving royalty to the publishers who hold the copyright.

“Custom-made books are printed after inserting your child’s name and the names of any three other persons who are known to him or her in the story. If you want to gift such a book to a child called Davinder, it will be like ‘Davinder and Spiderman fights Dr Octopus’. The child will feel the story has been written about him,” Dalal said.

The concept is already quite popular in the US but for the first time a firm had started it in India, he claimed.

The firm delivers books at the customer’s doorstep after taking orders and printing the books. The production work is done partly in the US and partly in Kolkata.

Indian double at Booker: two on shortlist

Source: The Telegraph, Calcutta

Two books by Indian authors – Sea of Poppies by Calcutta-born Amitav Ghosh and The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, a debut novelist from Chennai – have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

There was bitter disappointment for Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif, whose much-fancied A Case of Exploding Mangoes was on the long-list of 13 novels announced in July and was being talked about as the probable winner. Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence was on the long-list and also proceeded no further.

The chairman of the judging panel, Michael Portillo, a former Tory MP and cabinet minister, today said the book “was not one of the six books for us. It does not mean it would not be for anybody else. It easily could be.”

The four other novels that have made it to the shortlist are The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant, The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher, and A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced live on television on October 14 from a dinner at the Guildhall, London, when the five losing authors will have to go through the ritual humiliation of cheering the winner. Apart from Portillo, the judges include Alex Clark, the editor of Granta, Louise Doughty, a novelist, James Heneage, the founder of Ottakar’s bookshops, and Hardeep Singh Kohli, a radio broadcaster.

Heidelberg Opens Print Media Academy in India

Heidelberg er Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) recently opened its first Print Media Academy (PMA) in India, in Chennai. As a result, the company has a knowledge platform for the print media industry that now spans all four of the BRIC countries – the key global growth regions of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Heidelberg now runs a total of more than 18 PMA sites in 15 different countries.

Sections of the Indian print media industry have recorded annual growth rates that run into double figures, with packaging printing achieving particularly strong growth. Many companies are looking to match the production standards of their counterparts in industrialized countries and are therefore investing heavily in cutting-edge printing technologies. However, if they are to be successful in implementing market demands in day-to-day print production, operators and technical management teams in India will also need to further expand their know-how.

The portfolio offered by the PMA in Chennai also supports existing initiatives in this growth region to deliver instructor training and provide particularly gifted students of printing technology with additional development opportunities.

Launch of the German Book Office New Delhi
To build bridges between the Indian and German as well as the international publishing world is, since February 2008, the aim of the German Book Office (GBO) New Delhi which had invited the most important representatives of the publishing industry in India to its Launch Party on the 6th September 2008 at the Max Mueller Bhavan.

GBO New Delhi opened the event by introducing themselves, various future projects and their objectives. This included their translation programme, children’s book programme, eco publishing and their role as a service provider for the participants of the Frankfurt Book Fair and Abu Dhabi International Book Fair as well as Cape Town Book Fair. In addition to that, GBO New Delhi announced the various programmes that they would be organizing for the Indian printers and publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair to be held this year in October.

For details contact:

Mr. Akshay Pathak

t +91 11 241 074 03/04 Extn. 200
f +91 11 241 074 05

Workshop by TERI and German Book Office
Source: Publishing Today

TERI Press, the publishing arm of TERI and German Book Office will present a workshop titled Successful entrepreneurial models for adoption of recycled paper in the publishing process which will be held on 17 September 2008 at TERI, New Delhi. It is the first such workshop being organized by the Green Publishers’ Guild.

The workshop is first of its kind in India and attempts to bring together stakeholders from the publishing and paper industry. The workshop is aimed at providing a common platform to publishers who would be interested in learning about the benefits of using recycled paper in the publishing process.

Granthmala to launch website
Source: The Hindu

Manohara Grantha Mala (MGM), Dharwad, a publishing house, which recently completed its platinum jubilee year celebrations has developed its website. The publishing house was established on August 15, 1933 under the literary guidance of D.R. Bendre, V.K. Gokak and R.S. Mugali. G.B. Joshi visited every house to house to enrol subscribers.

Through MGM he not only published quality literature but was also able to create a set of new readers. Seminal literary works in Kannada language have been published MGM in its more than seven-decade-long existence. Now to keep abreast with the technology, MGM has come up with its website

Sagely Benediction
Source: Outlook Magazine

Aspiring non-fiction writers can now resort to another fellowship that offers them Rs 50,000 a month for a year, plus Rs 50,000 travel expenses, like New India Foundation. This one is being funded by Sage publishers in memory of the late Tejeshwar Singh. For now, the fellowship is restricted to those working in media studies and business and management. Open to all Saarc nationals, the first fellowships come into effect on April 1, 2009.

Sri Lankan State Literary Awards

Outstanding works in the field of literature in 2007 in Sri Lanka were recognized at the State Literary Awards ceremony to be held on September 14. The award ceremony was part of the State Literary Arts Festival to be held from September 11 to 14 at the Narandeniya Central College in Matara.

Experts and members of the state literary sub committee evaluated a total of 630 books in all three languages published and registered in the course of 2007, chairman of the sub committee Prof. Ananda Abeysiriwardena said.

The State Literary Awards for works in English are as follows –

* Best Novel – Dragons in the Wilderness by Jean Arasanayagam
* Best Short Stories – Short and Verse by M. T. L. Ebell
* Best Non-fiction – Memories of a Cabinet Secretary by Bernard Percival Peiris
* Best work of poetry – I am Modern Man by Carl Muller
* Best translation – Martin Wickramasinghe – Selected Short Stories by Ranga Wickramasinghe
* Best Children’s Literature – The Stupendous Statue by Vipulasiri Adikari.

New Book Releases and Events
This section reports on new book and journal releases, new imprints and other similar events.

Learning the ropes..

Intellectual Property Issues In The Publishing Industry
Edited by S.K. Ghai
Published by FIP

India is a multilingual country and perhaps the only in the world where publishing is being done in 24 different languages. Keeping this in mind the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) in association with the Copyright Division of Ministry of Human Resource Development and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), organised a workshop on Intellectual Property Issues In The Publishing Industry from 15 to 16 February 2007 in New Delhi. Such a workshop had been organised for the first time and was enormously successful.

The participants of the workshop were of the opinion that presentations and statistics used during the proceedings could be of immense help in their day-to-day dealings with the important issues of the IP rights. Thus was born the idea of compiling all the material in the form of a book Intellectual Property Issues In The Publishing Industry. The issues discussed in this book are as follows:

1. The Creative Industries in the book publishing industry.
2. Introduction to the relevant intellectual property rights.
3. The publishing value and supply chain.
4. Book publishing agreements.
5. Financial business models.
6. Reprographic rights and the importance of collecting societies.
7. Evaluation and valuation of intellectual property assets.
8. Electronic publishing.
9. Role of branding in marketing.
10. Emerging trends.

It is hoped that publishers will find this book useful in dealing with the intellectual property rights and its intricacies.

Tribal Fiction
Source: The Hindu

Jenu Akashada Aramaneyo
by Ksheerasagara
Navakarnataka Publications (P) Ltd, (11, Embassy Centre, Crescent Road, Bangalore-560001.)

This novel centred on the inhabitants of a rehabilitation camp describes the miserable life of a displaced tribal community. Consequent upon the construction of irrigation dams and demarcation of forest for national parks bordering Karnataka and Kerala, many forest dwellers were driven out of their habitat.

The assurance to provide alternate land for their livelihood was neglected by the government. These landless people who were entirely dependent on the forest for their living were forced to work under merciless landowners in the nearby villages.

Wounded by the gunshot of a forest guard, Mara, a rootless refugee escapes into the dense forest. Following his track the author weaves the cultural history of these innocent people.

There are characters like Magi who lost her husband due to the folly of her own men. Chukki is bereaved of her young lover. Kalayya’s only son Dasa who doesn’t want to leave the original place becomes mentally handicapped. Despite these unending woes the author observes goodwill and mutual help among them.

The narration is not only graphic but rich with minute details of the habitats of all living beings including trees and herbs in the forest. A few slips in the usage and spelling of Jenu Kuruba dialect may be rectified.

Blogs and Articles
Comments and posts on trends and events in the book industry.

Books still fascinate children
The Hindu

Despite its popularity among children, the Internet has not managed to wean them away from books. The innate love for stories and the tactile experience books lend retain the charm of children’s literature.

Experts on children’s literature from different parts of the world shared their views with The Hindu on issues related to the growth and development of children’s literature worldwide. They were in Coimbatore attending the two-day international symposium on children’s literature hosted by the International Research Society for Children’s Literature.

“The intimacy with a book is rarely replaced by the Internet and it is wrong to generalise that books do not hold children’s fascination anymore,” said Alida Allison, Professor, Founding Member, National Centre for the Study of Children’s Literature, San Diego State University.

“A lot of money is involved in the children’s books publishing industry and the number of books published in the United Kingdom is still very high,” said Pamela Knights, Senior Lecturer, Durham University, the U.K.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter had transcended geographical as well as linguistic boundaries in terms of attracting readership. It had caught the imagination of children world over. In Sweden, the book was the single inspiration for hundreds of children to learn how to read, said Helene Ehriander, Senior Lecturer, Department of Comparative Literature, Vaxjo University, Sweden. “These children discovered the joy of reading through Harry Potter,” she said.

Globalisation had changed the structure of the publishing industry, observed Mavis Reimer, Associate Professor, Department of English, Canada Research Chair in the Culture of Childhood. Money was invested by multinational corporations and the industry was abound with replications of the Harry Potter formula.

There had been a gradual yet undeniable change in the kind of books children read now when compared to the earlier years. The conventional happy endings were passé, Ms. Knights observed. “In fact, some of the endings could shock you,” she added. Kimberley Reynolds, Professor, School of English Literature, Newcastle University, U.K, said: “A lot of topics that were considered taboo in children’s literature have now become acceptable.”

‘Activist books’ were attracting a lot of attention. For instance, there had been books that talked about the issues of refugee children and the environment, said Clare Bradford, Professor, School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Australia. She is also the president of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature.

C. Anto Thomas, Lecturer, Department of English, St. Thomas College, Trichur, said children’s literature was marginalised in India. While western universities dedicated full-fledged courses in children’s literature, it was only an optional paper in Indian universities. “Children’s literature is perceived differently in other parts of the world. Children’s literature produced in India has not been able to rise to international standards,” he added.

A publisher’s perspective
Source: Hindustan Times

“The role of the publisher is to keep their antennae tuned to what is original and interesting, to help writers say what they want to say as well as they possibly can, and then to say to readers ‘this is good, come and look at this’. If you do all of those things well, you can, I believe, run a commercially successful business,” says Stuart Graham Proffitt, publishing director, Penguin UK.

At 47, he’s among the youngest and the most celebrated literary editors today, having commissioned and edited such authors as Eric Hobsbawm, Margaret Thatcher, Frank Kermode, Alan Greenspan and Chris Patten.

Readers closer home may identify him better as the man who edited, more than a decade ago, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and more recently, Amartya Sen’s The Argumentative Indian.

In the decade since, Indian publishing has grown by leaps and bounds. “Everyone now wants a presence here. The book market is growing at a phenomenal rate and the degree to which Indian writers are becoming global writers is another big change,” he says.

As far as the global publishing industry is concerned, there has been a marked shift in the kind of books readers are consuming. In the 25 years since he started out in the industry, Proffitt has noticed a burgeoning appetite for economic, scientific and historical non-fiction books. “It’s quite true that when I came into the business, the great arbiters of literary life were literary critics like Raymond Williams and FR Leavis…but that role has certainly been taken over by historians and economists particularly, [those] who can tell stories and interpret what’s going on in the world right now in a way the intelligent lay public can interpret and understand,” he says.

A voice of their own
The Hindu

Often overshadowed by their Indian counterparts in the past, Pakistani writers are beginning to be appreciated and accepted for the unique flavour they bring to their writing, for exploring the myths and stereotypes in the West about Pakistan and Islam.

The writers are young — almost all of them are in their 30s — and there is a passionate optimism that goes with their trenchant criticism, an unselfconscious internationalism in the way their characters cross from London to Lahore, from Brighton to Karachi. The erstwhile tone of awe has been replaced with calm appraisal. The walls have come down, stereotypes demolished. Many novels are still set in Pakistan, but many are now based in the West. The modern Pakistani writers, or those hailing from Pakistan, often talk of transcendence of tradition, march of culture — Nadeem’s England is more like a mini Pakistan in Maps of Lost Lovers! There is an audacious refusal to slip into the telos of the West. Some of his characters are nebulous, others march along the Siratul Mustaqeem (The Righteous Path) but the path is defined by Self, not the society or the polity of England. Some even complain that “England is absent” from a novel set in England!

The article can be read in whole here

Making a difference
Source: The Hindu

Ritu Menon writes about twelve independent women publishers have changed the name of the game in India

Amid the cacophony of sounds that now accompanies each new “success story” in Indian publishing and writing in English, one little song remains mostly unsung: the presence of a dozen independent and autonomous women publishers, and the sea-change they have wrought in the trade. Between them, they do much of the most interesting and important publishing in India today, and they have pioneered several publishing projects once thought untouchable. “Untouchable” in the caste hierarchy of publishing means “unmarketable”.

The oldest of these is Kali for Women, set up in 1984 as India’s — and Asia’s — first feminist press; the youngest, Yoda Press, begun by two twenty-nine year olds in 2004. In the intervening 20 years, 10 others came into being, a publishing phenomenon with no parallel in any other part of the world: Twelve publishing enterprises created and run by women, covering every area of academic, trade and specialist publishing, including the earliest book reviewing periodical — The Book Review, now 32 years in existence — and the most highly regarded art magazine in the country, International Gallerie.

They’re household words now, in a way: Kali, Katha, Stree, the two Tulikas, Tara, Yoda, Karadi, the little magazine, Zubaan, Women Unlimited, Social Science Press, Biblio… What they publish: the best in children’s books, cutting edge social science, path-breaking feminist studies, high quality translations, bold and innovative books on popular culture and sexuality, hugely successful audio books, pioneering Dalit writing, critically acclaimed fiction and non-fiction, reissues of hard-to-find archival material…From Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai.

The entire article can be read here

This newsletter is developed by Queenie Fernandes and Leonard Fernandes with inputs from various individuals, publishing houses, websites and blogs.

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