“Discount war is plaguing the industry”

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Opines Prashant Jain, MD, Indica Publishers & Distributors Pvt Ltd, (an ISO 9001:2008 certified company) in conversation with Varsha Verma. Book trade has developed a lot over the years and there are many more new players in the field. Consolidation in the industry is a good move as standards in quality can be maintained. The education segment is growing at a steady pace and book is an important tool for this industry. The volume is increasing but due to non-availability of grants to the libraries from the government, the industry is suffering. Besides, the discount war has plagued the industry, shares Prashant Jain, managing director of Indica Publishers & Distributors Pvt Ltd, a well-known library suppliers, distributors and publishers, since 1997.

Prashant Jain and Mohit Jain“Book distribution is a whitecollar business and we are proud to be in this field. We supply books to libraries, which include government libraries, institutes, universities and colleges across the country. We believe in quality and offer a variety of books in higher education segment. We have a huge database of more than 20,000 foreign titles and almost all textbooks of Indian publishers,” added Prashant, who has been in this business for last 20 years. But, their roots are strong as it is a part of a family business in book trade, started by his grandfather Late Chela Ram Jain in 1962 in Hathras (UP) and later migrated to Delhi in 1978 by his father Late Mahesh Jain. At their office in Daryaganj, New Delhi (the largest hub of books in India), they stock just 2-3 copies of each title. The books are displayed subject-wise in a neat and clean environment. Their MIS systems are in place and they have developed their own software to keep a track of the titles in their warehouse.

On asking about the challenges in the book distribution segment, Prashant replied that the budgets in libraries have shrinked and there are many suppliers, hence the competition is there. “Besides, books should not be supplied under tender system as lots of quality books with quality content remain unsold due to high discount war. Further, the proposed GST on books will be very detrimental to the book trade,” he said.

As Chairman, Public Relation Committee of The Federation of Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Associations in India (FPBAI), Prashant has been instrumental in putting these issues forward. He is also holding the post of hon. treasurer in FPBAI.

“Then e-publishing has also affected the business but now we are also offering e-resources (e-books and e-journals) as a part of our portfolio,” he shared. Prashant is happy to be in this trade and now looking forward of launching their imprint – Kitabwale, a Hindi literature publishing firm, which will publish works of high profile authors.

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