FICCI represented Indian publishing sector @ London Book Fair


In an endeavour to promote Indian publishing industry globally, FICCI partnered with The London Book Fair 2017 for the second consecutive year. The year 2017, is also marked as UK-India Year of Culture celebrations. As the part of this bilateral initiative The London Book Fair opened ‘Spotlight on India’ series.

FICCI organized an interactive seminar on “How to Access Indian Book Market”, to highlight the opportunities to foreign publishing houses to invest in India. Many schemes from the government were discussed to enhance the international cooperation. Elaborating on same Baldeo Bhai Sharma, chairman, National Book Trust, India, Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India highlighted some of the funding schemes for foreign publishers. He emphasised that Govt. of India is committed to not only create an overall culture of reading but also to provide a conducive environment for book trade to happen.

Indian book market

Despite of the change in reading habits there have been consistent growth in Indian Book Market which is heavily driven by education publishing where K -12 has bigger chunk. Giving the comprehensive insights Vikrant Mathur, director, Nielsen India presented the market size and the opportunities. He mentioned that the size of the Indian publishing sector, which stands at USD 5.5 billion is bigger that the film industry. With a CAGR of 20%, Indian publishing sector offers major opportunities in the educational publishing, K – 12 publishing in particular.

He further shared that India market is largely dominated by educational books (94%) while in the consumer books (trade) (6%) the nonfiction books constitutes the large market, followed by fiction and children books. “In the trade books segment, English is the most preferred language (55.6%), followed by Hindi and then other languages,” he said. Vikrant also highlighted the factors influencing the current book retail market.

He pointed that vast majority of approximately 22,000 book stores are unorganized – “mostly family owned”. “The unorganized market shops do not have the billing system (EPoS) and record the sales manually. The B&M book retail stores require constant engagement with readers to understand their psyche/likings etc. and look for ways to grab the attention. Increasing property rentals is one of concerns in the big cities,” he added. “The growth of e-commerce in India and the increasing trust on online buying has opened a new avenue for growing book sales in India. The unorganized book stores are getting digital to meet the competition from organized ones, taking a cue from “Digital India” campaign. But, the biggest challenge for organized stores to create a “customer pull” environment that increases the amount of impulse buying,” he said. Other interesting points he highlighted included that recommendation from friends/relatives plays in important role in Book Discovery; school bookshops/ school book fairs are particularly important for school books and children’s books; and 28% people responded that they don’t read much/ at all.

How to access the Indian book market: opportunities and challenges

Sesh Seshadari, managing director, Overleaf emphasised Govt. of India’s focus on ‘Ease of doing business’. He stated that Digital India and Skill India offers tremendous opportunities. “Demographic dividend is substantial for those willing to see the long term picture. In India, bestsellers are bigger than ever and non book store channels reveal true potential for books,” he said. Other conducive factors include steady rise in price points, free press and free judiciary. Besides, the Government is seeking foreign investment and is determined to go up in the rank for ease of doing business. Growth of educational institutions, in particular K-12 sector, cannot be undermined as well.

He made a strong pitch to the overseas publishing houses to come and invest in India. But, he also cautioned about the challenges in India, which include IPR and Copyright hassle, publishing not considered as an industry as yet, slow return and poor credit cycles and vast country for distribution.

FICCI and is role in publishing industry

While, Sumeet Gupta, director, FICCI, chaired the session and highlighted the regulatory framework pertaining to the sector, and some of the upcoming policy initiatives. He also mentioned that in addition to English, the Indian languages offer prospects for translation. With so much happening in the technology space in India, the time is just opportune for creation of digital content and also to monetize it across multiple platforms, he opined.

He also mentioned about FICCI, which is the largest and oldest apex business organization in India. “Its history is closely interwoven with India’s struggle for independence, its industrialization, and its emergence as one of the most rapidly growing global economies,” he said. He also mentioned about the National Book Promotion Policy and various initiatives undertaken by FICCI.

FICCI also launched the 2nd edition of “Rights Catalogue of Indian writing” across languages and genres, which has been created in partnership with The London Book fair. It is an endeavour to find the business collaborations for the Indian publishers and authors with International publishers / distributors across the globe.

London Book Fair was successfully held from March 14-16, 2017 at Olympia, London.

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