FIP stands tall as the vanguard of excellence in the publishing realm!

FIP’s indomitable spirit continues to shape the narrative of Indian publishing—a narrative of resilience, excellence, and an unwavering commitment to the literary soul of Bharat. Here, Pranav Gupta, General Secretary, FIP, shares more about their missions and objectives.

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Since its inception in 1973, the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) has been a beacon, illuminating the path of Indian publishing on the global stage. Over these fifty remarkable years, FIP has encouraged Indian publishers to showcase their brilliance at international book fairs, turning India into a focal point at numerous prestigious events worldwide. As the national body representing India, FIP’s presence in the International Publishers Association (IPA), Geneva, has been unwavering since its inception.

At the 49th Annual General Meeting of the FIP, the leadership team for the biennial period of 2023-2025 was elected. The elected members include: President Emeritus: Asoke K. Ghosh; President: Naveen Gupta; Vice President North: Anil Gala; Vice President East: Monica Malhotra Kandhari; Vice President West: Himanshu Gupta; Vice President South: G. Olivannan; General Secretary: Pranav Gupta; Joint Secretary: Sascha Mehra and Treasurer: Dr. Ashok Gupta.

Here, Pranav Gupta, General Secretary, FIP, shares his views on the Indian publishing industry and FIP’s current initiatives. Excerpts.

AABP: Share an overview of the current state of the publishing industry in India.

Pranav: India’s publishing juggernaut is rising, with financial charts echoing the industry’s crescendo. From a formidable INR 30,660 crores in FY15 to an awe-inspiring INR 72,000 crores in FY20, the sector is poised to breach the monumental INR 1,00,000 crores mark by FY24. The India Book Market Report 2022 prophesies a staggering INR 98,920 crores for the print book market by

2024-25. With over 24,000 publishers in the arena, India stands tall as the third-largest global print-book publisher. In the realm of English print, it’s a dominant force, second only to the literary powerhouse, the USA.

Sector-wise, the school segment is the undisputed monarch, commanding the lion’s share of 71%. In comparison, higher education commands a substantial 25%, leaving the trade segment to carve out its niche with a formidable 4%. These numbers aren’t just statistics but a testament to India’s relentless ascent in the global publishing echelons.

AABP: What are the primary objectives and initiatives that the FIP is currently focused on?

Pranav: The FIP stands as the vanguard of excellence in the publishing realm, driven by a singular mission—to elevate professional standards and foster a dynamic forum for publishers to engage, exchange, and conquer challenges on both national and global stages.

At the core of FIP’s crusade is the relentless promotion of the Indian book publishing juggernaut. It orchestrates a symphony of events and programs that serve as crucibles for the professional metamorphosis of its members. Circulars and tenders flow like a river of empowerment, making FIP not just an association but a dynamic ally in the thriving landscape of Indian publishing.

AABP: How do you see the FIP contributing to the growth and development of the Indian publishing sector?

Pranav: FIP’s workshops and seminars emerge as crucibles of knowledge, focusing on language publishers’ unique challenges in a nation where languages weave a rich tapestry. These aren’t just gatherings; they are beacons of encouragement, rallying language publishers, booksellers, academics, and authors in a symphony of shared aspirations. The National Conventions of Indian Language Publishers, a grand tapestry of diversity, are a formidable force, uniting publishers across linguistic landscapes onto a singular platform.

While, FIP’s Awards for Excellence in Book Production are the gold standard, driving publishers to transcend boundaries in paper, printing, binding, design, typography, layout, and readability.

Moreover, the Indian Publishers Conference, a recent magnum opus, is a declaration of the industry’s strength and value, a proclamation of its integral role in the tapestry of nation-building.

AABP: What are some of the key challenges Indian publishers face today, and how is the FIP addressing these challenges?

Pranav: The significant challenges faced by the publishing industry are –

  • Costs of paper – The skyrocketing rise in form and pulp prices has multiplied dramatically over average book prices a few years ago.
  • ISBNs: Lack of knowledge, publisher awareness and training, cumbersome procedure, inconsistency regarding authenticity.
  •  Supply chain: The inconsistent cash flow and lack of transparency and exchange of information in the return systems.
  •  GST: There needs to be input credit for the publishers, and paying the reverse charge on the royalty is a significant challenge.
  •  Copyright and piracy issues: The rampant increase in piracy and photocopying has resulted in significant loss to the publishing ecosystem.

Through dedicated effort and support to the publishing sector, the FIP has been able to present in various discussion forums as well as address multiple challenges like legal challenges (piracy and copyright issues), regulatory challenges (GST, Import duty), business challenges (distribution channel inefficiencies, ease of doing business, high cost, low margins), technological challenges (adoption of new formats) and COVID-19 challenges (loss of sales, delay in payments).

At FIP, we constantly raise these issues at the appropriate forums and make our voices heard. We have been making representations and engaging with the government at the top levels. For some of the issues, we are also taking legal opinions and, in one of the matters, we have filed the information before the Competition Commission of India.

Besides, we beckon the Government to recognise the publishing sector as a trade and an “industry” deserving of unwavering support for its transformative contributions.

AABP: In your opinion, what are the most significant opportunities for growth and innovation within the Indian publishing industry?

Pranav: The Indian publishing industry is not just an economic engine; it’s a powerhouse of potential, a catalyst for growth and innovation reverberating globally. Beyond its role as a significant employer, it stands as a nexus of creativity, employing editors, content creators, and developers who sculpt international-quality content. This industry is not just a job provider; it’s a torchbearer of our cultural heritage, illuminating the world stage and employing millions.

The horizon of opportunities for the industry is expansive. Technological integration isn’t just a choice; it’s a mandate for content packaging. Beyond the confines of universal curricula, there’s a seismic shift towards Indianization, with a spotlight on regional languages.

As we gaze into the future, the industry is at a crossroads, blending tradition with cutting-edge advancements. The New Education Policy emerges as a beacon, opening vistas for publishers and unleashing the power of translation into regional languages.

AABP: How is the FIP supporting digitalization and the adoption of technology in Indian publishing?

Pranav: Indian publishers have harnessed technology to unlock infinite possibilities—monetising content through prints, audio, video, and OTT platforms, transcending boundaries to connect with readers globally. They have embraced avant-garde technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Non-Fungible Tokens.

FIP foresaw the digital dawn long before the pandemic era. Our journey into the digital realm began with establishing a dedicated website and social media platforms. As we traversed this path, our commitment deepened, culminating in conferences and events where the digital infrastructure seamlessly blended with cutting-edge topics. Artificial intelligence, Monetisation of Content, Copyright, and Intellectual Property in the digital age were not just subjects; they were the pulse of our discussions.

AABP: What strategies do you think are crucial for promoting reading habits and literacy in India?

Pranav: In the grand tapestry of our nation’s progress, fostering a culture of reading and advancing literacy is a paramount mission. Over the past two decades, Indian publishers have embarked on a noble quest, crafting books designed not just to be read but to infuse joy into reading, particularly for our youngest minds.

To spearhead strategies for promoting reading habits and literacy, we advocate for the government’s prioritisation of cultivating reading habits, providing incentives for university research, and subsidising publications in English and Indian languages. This isn’t just a plea; it’s a clarion call for a collective effort to build a society where knowledge isn’t merely consumed but thoroughly understood, contemplated, and applied for the overarching betterment of the nation. The call for a National Book Promotion Policy is not just a suggestion; it’s an imperative step towards creating a future in the journey of national progress.

AABP: What emerging trends do you foresee in the Indian publishing landscape in the coming years?

Pranav: As technologies like 5G, IoT, generative AI, virtual reality, metaverse, and digital twin ascend into prominence, the landscape of competency-based teaching and assessment is on the brink of a revolution.

In this transformative milieu, the Indian publishing landscape is set to undergo a metamorphosis. Digital shifts, a laser focus on regional content, the rise of self-publishing, hybrid models, personalised reader experiences, stringent copyright protection measures, and deepened collaborations with the education sector are the heralds of change. The success of publishers in this dynamic arena hinges not just on adaptation but on agile navigation through these trends, meeting the evolving needs of both readers and authors.

AABP: What more can we expect from FIP?

Pranav: FIP is crafting a Vision Document for the Indian Publishing Industry—a document that isn’t just a manifesto; it’s a declaration—a declaration of our vision, demands, and commitment to propelling the industry into new horizons. The Prime Minister’s office and relevant ministries will receive a document and a testament to the indomitable spirit of Indian publishing authored by FIP.

AABP: What advice would you offer to young and aspiring publishers looking to make a mark in the industry

Pranav: Embrace change, learn continuously, build networks, innovate fearlessly, understand your audience, focus on quality, persist through challenges, seek mentorship and remember your passion in your driving force.

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