“Catch them young”
says Anupama Jauhry, Head, TERI Press, an upcoming publisher in the children books segment, backed with the powerful research team of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), in a conversation with Varsha Verma of AABP.
Despite the plethora of entertainment choices available to children today, they still prefer to buy books”, says Anupama. “Even though there is now a growing trend of “e-version”, people still prefer teaching a child using books, mainly because it is much simpler than using high-tech multimedia tools. And, this is the medium that we want to use to teach them about environmental issues in a child-friendly manner.
TERI Press is the publishing arm of TERI. “We are committed to publishing the best work at all levels—from pre-school books driving home the green message to not only the young learners but also their parents, to knowledge books on environmental themes and topics; and from reference and curriculum-based text books for students of higher learning and research scholars to peer-reviewed journals and a monthly magazine, TERI Press has taken up cudgels to battle for the cause of the environment through knowledge. For the Press believes that knowledge and information are the two key tools to awareness generation”, says Anupama.
“Our reference books are extensively researched and have the latest information, with current case studies. These books definitely have an added value, as they come from the stable of a premier research institute like TERI,” she added. Environment, energy, and sustainable development remain at the core of TERI Press.
“We have tie ups with several organizations, such as the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), to publish books aimed at educating young minds on environment-related issues. Extensively researched and beautifully illustrated, our books cater to a wide range of age groups. They are effectively used for environment education and awareness programmes of school eco clubs and so on. These books aim to educate and stimulate students, and make them conscientious individuals, who can grow up to be future ‘green citizens’ of this planet,” she says.
“In fact, the books published by TERI Press have become a part of the corporate social responsibility initiatives of various companies and institutions. TERI Press takes forward its commitment to the cause of environmental awareness by partnering with like-minded organizations and publishing customized products, which not only build brands but also espouse conservation of the environment. With the help of customized publishing, thus, TERI Press hopes to reach a larger audience, making sure that its voice is heard far and wide”, she says.
TERI Press offers books on a wide range of topics and issues. “The contents of the books are extremely child friendly, including the environment-related activities and modules,” she added. As for the general readers, TERI Press offers books on climate change (in layman’s language), environmental facts, green myths, ecological hotspots, and so on. “We also have inspirational stories of ‘struggle and hope’, and our bestseller remains Mahatma Gandhi and the Environment (analysing Gandhian environmental thought),” added Anupama.
Also, TERI Press offers books in vernacular languages, including Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, and Tamil, so as to make them more accessible to under-privileged children. It also offers comic books, CDs, and DVDs on subjects like climate change, global warming, e-waste, and so on.
“All our books are printed on recycle paper. For children’s books, we have an average print run of 3000–5000 copies. We try our best to price the books competitively, so that cost does not become a constraint for people willing to buy green books. The prices usually range between Rs 85 and Rs 155, although reference or professional books are priced higher,” reveals Anupama.
“We are also running programmes in schools under the banner of ‘Soldiers of the Earth’, the brand ambassador for which is India’s leading actor Akshay Kumar. It is an environment education programme, loaded with interactive modules and activities. The main idea is to involve students in activities related to environment,” says Anupama.
When asked about TERI Press’s future plans, she replied, “In committing to using the written word for creating and sustaining awareness about environmental issues, TERI Press has vowed to take the fight forward. One hopes that the results would be there for all to see.”