A diary of launching business in India! –Tom Chalmers


Having started working in publishing in the UK at the age of 25 years, I made the decision to quit my job and start my own book publishing company. This sounds like a big move in hindsight, but at the time it was just an idea evolving, uninhibited by any knowledge of the big challenges that would lie ahead.

The company, Legend Press, really got going when I sold the rights of its second novel into seven countries, including India, and four languages. This gave me an idea of the international potential but in the 13 years since, and through six other businesses I have founded, I haven’t significantly grown business in India aside from licensing the occasional book.

However, in the last 12 months, India has suddenly come to the forefront of our focus. During my previous time in India in 2014, Amazon was starting to push hard into the market, although online commerce still felt in its infancy. Self-publishing was still fairly unknown and a lot of focus was on the future of bookshops and libraries.

By the end of 2017, it appeared Amazon was quickly catching Flipkart, who has possibly conceded book sales to its rival, with Snapdeal pushed aside. Online commerce was booming with huge growth figures, including for online payment solutions, such as Paypal and Google Wallet. Print-on-demand technology was taking root with self-publishing beginning to grow, such as through VC-funded Notion Press, and a number of large operations now looking seriously as producing content simultaneously in multiple languages.

India based purely on population size, has long been a country of interest to international businesses. However, the above aligned with strong economic results being promoted by Modi’s Government have suddenly made it a fascinating and possibly key market for global publishers.

Having just returned from my latest visit in January, there are a number of opportunities we are looking to quickly advance in the market. We have been working with Penguin Random House India who distributes our books for the last year and in addition to that, we are discussing possible partnerships with major print, retail and other organisations as well as looking to set-up local offices.

As we start this journey to build significant business in India, I will be very happy to write about our progress, the challenges we face and the results we achieve in each edition of All About Book Publishing. As an entrepreneur and business owner, India is a fascinating market and I am looking forward to sharing and discussing my experiences with you over the very exciting months ahead.

Tom Chalmers is the Managing Director of Legend Times, a group of five publishing companies he has founded. He started his first company in 2005 when aged 25, Legend Press, a book publisher focused predominantly on mainstream literary and commercial fiction. Chalmers subsequently acquired Paperbooks Publishing, and later launched Legend Business, a business book publisher, followed by self-publishing and writer workshops companies, New Generation Publishing and Write-Connections, respectively. He also founded IPR License in 2012, a global rights licensing platform, which after two rounds of funding he sold in 2016, and is the founder of new content curation venture AIContexx. He has been shortlisted for UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year, UK Young Publisher of the Year, UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur of the Year, and longlisted for the Enterprising Young Brit Awards. He also speaks regularly on publishing and business and is a Business Mentor for the Prince’s Trust.

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