“Buy a book that brings out the child in you”


Advises Shashank Sardana of DS Publishers India.

Books are children’s best friends, but it is very important to find the right friend (book) for your child. What makes a good children book and how are Indian children books placed with respect to international ones, shares Shashank Sardana of DS Publishers India, a well-known publisher of children books in India.

Talking about the children book publishing market in India, Shashank shared, “We know as per official data that the Indian book publishing industry is worth Rs 35000 crores and growing at the rate of 15–20% annually. The publishing segment is around 30% of the total value. As per our estimates, the trade children’s book market is at least worth 10% or 3500 crores and growing at the same pace or maybe even faster than the overall book publishing market. To keep up, publishers have made changes to their business model to allow for flexibility to target short-term and/or region specific requirements through local and global partnerships and collaborations. There is more emphasis on quality control now. The industry relies heavily on e-commerce platforms for visibility and sales. Production quality has increased and costs have come down due to availability of cutting edge production technologies. Publishers are now starting to develop richer content by combining digital media with traditional media.”

On languages…

“Around 25% of the total children’s books published are in the English language which makes it the highest for any individual language along with Hindi. As for us, all of our published titles are in the English language,” shares Shashank. Their average print run is 3000–5000 copies per title, while the average book price is around Rs 150–200.

Indian vs. international standards…

Shashank SardanaOn asking about the quality standards of Indian publications vs international ones, Shashank says, “When it comes to raw talent, our people and manufacturing are at par with the best in the world. This has been evident in the last few years by the growing exports to several countries in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. However, we are still way behind the global publishing industry. The main reason is that the Indian publishers tend to be reactive instead of proactive. By following a risk-averse follow-the-crowd strategy, Indian publishers are always playing catch-up with their foreign counterparts.”

Attributes of a children book…

“A good children’s book should have colourful and detailed characters, specially the protagonist. The story should be imaginative, should have a central theme and an issue for the protagonist to solve. But it shouldn’t come out to be preachy. The narrative should have flair, humour and dramatisation, although it should be simple to understand,” says Shashank.

So, what appeals most – Voice? Characterisation? Plot? “All of them with varying importance from one age group to another. In my opinion, characterisation is the single most important aspect for children’s books, followed by plot. Children tend to open books more frequently that have good characters. A good plot fuels their vivid imagination,” he adds.

What I love about my profession…

“I am overwhelmed with limitless possibilities, creative freedom and to get another chance to relive my childhood,” says Shashank.


“Developing the right content for the target age-group is the hardest aspect for publishing for children,” tells Shashank. “Besides, another major challenge is the follow-the-crowd strategy of the Indian publishers. This makes it difficult for indie publishers to make headway into a market which is already dominated by the Big Four. Publishers need to come out of their limbo and start innovating. Piracy and copyright violations are other major challenges that call for stricter laws and action.”

On digital media…

“Digital media is going to be the next big thing in this segment. It is going to literally “bring a book to life”. Traditional print media is simply not going to survive standalone. What we are going to see in the future is an amalgamation of both. We are currently investigating new ideas and exploring new partnerships to be ready for the transition,” he says.

On selecting the right book for children…

“Children’s books are significantly different from adult books. For parents, my advice is to never buy a book that you, as an adult, find interesting. Instead buy a book that brings out the child in you. Or better, let your child decide!” tells Shashank. While for educators, he feels that it is important to put the children’s development

first before anything. “A strong screening process is a must to identify the right books that can aid the education of young children,” he concludes.

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.