GenX in Publishing!
Innovative ideas…new perspective…fresh energy…that is what a GenX professional brings. AABP met such two professionals who have carved a mark for themselves.
Bharat Rai Mediratta
MD, Jiwan Books/Edu Hub Publishing
“All that I have learnt has been from my father – Shri Ushnak Rai Mediratta; he encouraged me to learn every kind of work that collectively combined towards the smooth functioning of any publishing house. I was involved right from taking out the books to bundling, accounting, dispatching, sales promotion and following up, etc. Every single detail is very crucial to us and I have proudly held this legacy till date. JPH was started way back in 1960 by my father and years later, his passion for children books led to the establishment of Jiwan Books International (P) Ltd in 1990. The company has since then strongly established itself as publishers, printers, distributors and exporters of children books. My journey in the industry started in 1992, while I was still in the second year of my graduation, but with my father’s continuous guidance and support, I learnt everything on the job. I still take time to see whether everything is in place and things are running smoothly,” he says.
Edu Hub Publishing Company was started to cater to the changing market needs and the requirement to incorporate international trends in the books. The company provides a wide range of school and general books, along with Fiction and a graded magazine by the name Edu Hub Times.
Talking about the vision and mission of the company, Bharat shared, “Along with the moral and ideals of our mentors, the company has always carried an adaptive approach to the needs of the society and the market. The process of digitisation of all content is underway with most of it already rolling. The interactive modules coming with the educational packages now include the content appropriate for Star Board viewing as well as that for CD viewing, or for an interactive session on the computer”.
“In our efforts to reach out to the masses, we are committed to provide the best services in the field of print and digital media. With our dedicated office staff, production team, and a zealous sales team, we endeavour to provide for the widest range of customers,” he adds.
The company has always thrived on the policy of satisfaction for its users, especially the teaching faculty.
“We proudly call ourselves the partners in modern education. In 2013, we launched the Reach The Teacher Programme, a programme designed specifically for the support of the teaching faculty and to cater to their day-to-day issues. We have successfully conducted workshops at several reputed schools under this programme,” he said. Bharat is connected to all the partners for any problems or queries, “My team and I address issues immediately.”
“Competition has increased and so has our focus on quality. Our aim is to empower teaching and learning, bringing out products which focus both on Variety and Value. Today to survive in a school, we need to be innovative every year. Our next year’s plan of action is already ready,” shares Bharat.
“The books have changed to being more colourful and illustrative involving an innovative approach to the subjects,” added Bharat. “We will continue to improvise and offer our best services.”
CEO, Nita Mehta Group of Companies
“When I joined in 2000, my mother – Nita Mehta – had just five books. Since then, we have grown multiple folds. At that time, we had a publishing company called SNAB Publishers (for cookery books) which was established in 1995. So, we started a new publication house – Nita Mehta Publications for publishing children books,” told Anurag Mehta, CEO, Nita Mehta Group of Companies. “Today, we also have an imprint called Nita Mehta WisKidz.”
So, did he always want to be a publisher? “Well, I did my graduation in Economics (Hons) in 2000 and I was sure that I wanted to do business. That time, SNAB Publishers was not a very lucrative business. Still, I discussed with my distributors and they asked me if I would like to write cook books? Then, I attended the Frankfurt Book Fair and I was amazed to see the range and quantum of books that were done by Austin Women Weekly. At that time in cookery segment, India only had Tarla Dalal books or some books from foreign publishers. So, I saw a vacuum in this segment,” he shared.
Today, they have 650 titles, of which 500 are cookbooks, 100 children books and over 40-50 self-help books. They have also launched a new life style magazine – Nita Mehta’s Home & Happiness – in which there are practical advice on home, health and happy living.
Besides, they have 70-80 titles in ebooks and 50 videos in Youtube channel. “We plan to add 20 new videos every month as we wish to make content more digital,” he shared. Moreover, Nita Mehta app will be launched soon for both Android as well as Apple iOS.
Talking about their bestsellers, Anurag particularly mentioned Glorious History of India which sold 30,000-40,000 copies and India After Independence. “The initial print runs of our books are 5000 copies for children books and 3000 copies for cookbooks,” he said. The price of book varies from Rs 30 to Rs 795. “The most popular category is our Rs 125 book series,” he added. “Our 30% of revenue comes from children books as the price point is higher here.”
On asking about the industry trends he has seen in his publishing journey, Anurag shared, “In cookbooks, there is a trend towards books being cheaper in price as there is lot of free content available online. The trend is also towards cookery magazines or cookazines. We have launched 30 cooking magazines in Hindi and 50-60 cooking magazines in English and these are available through magazine distributors. The print runs of these magazines are 50,000-75,000 copies per annum and their price is Rs 49 for English version and Rs 30 for Hindi version.”
Talking about the challenges he faced, Anurag shared that it is more difficult to convince the distributors and agents, rather than selling it to the end customers.
Anurag strives to constantly innovate to reach greater heights. “To promote publishing, we have different channels like Nita Mehta Cooking Classes. We have 7 academies, of which four are in Delhi, and one each in Jaipur, Ludhiana and Chandigarh. Besides, we have launched Nita Mehta’s Kelong in Ludhiana (Punjab), a fine dine multi-cuisine restaurant. We already have two franchise outlets in Chandigarh and Rohtak. Last December, we launched Nita Mehta range of spices as well,” he shared. Moving ahead, Anurag is looking at opening up a new restaurant Masala Bistro – Indian progressive cuisine – in Ludhiana, followed by two in Delhi, to delight the taste buds of youngsters.
Anurag is also ready with a TV commercial for their publications, which would be aired soon. “Perhaps we would be the first publishing company to advertise on TV,” he added.
Coming back to publishing, Anurag feels that in cookbooks, print will always be there because there are too many social and demographic layers in India. He also feels that children books will also stay in print. “The future is bright for print,” he concludes.