Publishers on Publishing

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Editor: Nitasha Devasar
Publisher: All About Book Publishing
(Pp 306, ISBN 978-81-936594-0-3, Rs 450)

The business of publishing is a strange business; some would even say that it is unbussiness like. Still publishing continues to defy all the basic rules of economics, balance sheet tenets and profit and loss philosophies and still remain a thriving electric business for those who choose to make it a career.

Publishing is among the most fascinating and rewarding human activity. It helps in giving shape, in the form of a book, to the ideas and thoughts of a writer, as a result of creative or acquired knowledge. Publishing in India is on the throes of convulsions. These have been brought about primarily by explosion in the field of education going on unabated since independence.

Publishers are known for cursing the darkness than lighting a candle. But it is also true that it would be difficult to find businessman whose optimism is more tinged by melancholy than your trade publisher cheerfully launching his next list while remaindering the ruins of the previous ones.

Publishers on Publishing edited by Natasha Devasar presents a ring side view of Indian publishing by 65 insiders – all from India’s enduring publishing establishments, sharing their views, trends and the whole spectrum of the book publishing process. Discussed in the book are the key themes that are facing the vibrant book business across various genre and languages.

The narratives are grouped in very logical compartments where experts in their respective fields have expressed their experiences and foresight to tell on the onslaughts of the digital era. The electronic edge has added new dimension to publishing. The computers, the micro processors, word processors and all other sophisticated devices and accessories such as desktop publishing, POD and other devices, inspire and challenge the publishing to reach the pinnacle of perfection.

All theses and much more have been encapsulated into five parts of the book. Each dealing with a specific aspect of the art and craft of book publishing. The role of Industry associations has been analyzed. Various areas like Policy landscape, Genres: Enduring publishing etc. are penned by contributors to this volume which reads like Who Is Who of Indian Publishing. Traditionally, the writer editor relationship has been the very heart of publishing. Does that position prevail in India, The Part II of Publishers on Publishing (Authors and Their Publishers) provide a very authoritative firsthand account by celebrated editors who shared their experiences in the book.

The book Publishers on Publishing contains so much about book publishing what it is and what it does, and so is a welcome edition on sparse literature in this field. Publishers are instrumental in bringing so much what is required, always keeping them in the background. The book provides, perhaps for the first time, lucid and informative accounts with emphasis on individual and organizational journeys within the spectrum of Indian publishing.

–GS Jolly

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