Jaipur BookMark: Where Books Mean Business

Jaipur BookMark is a hub for industry stakeholders — publishers, translators, literary agents, booksellers and writers to meet and talk business. Chhavi Jain, assistant editor at Yatra Books shares more about this book extravaganza.


Jaipur BookMark (JBM), the publishing segment of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival has been gaining momentum ever since its inception and has established itself as the distinctive South Asian conclave of the book industry. JBM has announced it’s sixth edition from January 23-26, 2019, at Jaipur’s iconic Diggi Palace.

The publishing industry is constantly reinventing itself. Books never go out of style and the industry remains relevant. Positioned amidst diverse cultures and languages, edgy content and an evolving readership, the industry breathes fresh life into books, aided by modern technology.

Relevant conferences and summits bring the industry together and establish a sense of ‘community’. More recently, the advent of literature festivals has added glamour to the discourse on challenges and opportunities in the book trade.

Celebrating the book business, in association with the Seagull School of Publishing and acknowledging the continued support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy as the Country Partner, JBM strives to provide new avenues for growth and networking. In its forthcoming edition, the Haveli will house two other venues — JBM Pavilion and JBM Jharokha, with a series of parallel panel discussions and roundatbles.

Main focus
The festival shall unite a cross section of industry experts, aspiring writers and audio and digital platform providers to indulge in meaningful conversations and bring out exciting perspectives on the book trade. Translations will continue to be the main focus at JBM, although this year the programme will feature important sessions on copyright and skill development. Everyone gets to take something back from the festival in terms of business collaborations, partenerships and new learnings.

Dialogues @JBM
The first day will open with the Inaugural keynote address by Juergen Boos, the CEO of Frankfurt Book Fair, who will be introduced by Margit Walso, head of the Norwegian Literature Abroad. The day’s line up will include a session on Other Forms of Storytelling, with some stellar names like Paul McVeigh, Jan Carson, Daniel Hahn amongst others from the industry. This will be followed by a crucial session LGBTQ Writes, which will explore a specialised genre in publishing and the challenges faced in bringing out gendered narratives in India.

Another relevant session Convergences: Languages, Markets and Readers will discuss the synergies shared by the languages in India. The day will culminate with Poems on the Road, an initiative by Walking Bookfairs, a 10,000 km long tour of India, ferrying poetry books across major cities and states of India, to celebrate the importance of reading, writing and sharing poetry. This will be accompanied with poetry readings by Ulrike Almut Sandig, Sohini Basak and Akhil Katyal.

The second day will see some crucial sessions focusing on the business aspect of publishing, content consumption and translations at the JBM Haveli. This Business of Books will see publishing maestros Vera Michalski, Urvashi Butalia and Naveen Kishore deconstruct the world that publishers inhabit in a free flowing conversation with Manasi Subramaniam.

This will be followed by A Hundred Bookstores are not Enough, which will look into the realities of real estate and brick and mortar bookstore versus online book retail.

A discussion on skilling employees, will delve into the questions of how much are publishing companies investing in skilling their employees and the ways in which they groom and retain talent.

On the same day, a roundtable discussion on Translation will engage with perennial questions of whether translation can capture the depth of literature and culture and examine the role translators play in discovering stories from around the world. The panel will include notable translators heading the discussion — Arunava Sinha, Kalpana Raina and Daniel Hahn, amongst others, with a keynote by Ros Schwartz, translator of Antoine Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. This will be followed by a session on content consumption, presented by Storytel, where the emergent revenue streams generated across genres and their support to each other, will be discussed. A panel of accomplished names in this field will also discuss issues of privacy and piracy. The day will end with a session on book covers, reflecting on the relationship between book covers and the stories they hold within.

The third day will open with a session Indies v/s Giants addressing the creative risk taking and tools that brave, new publishers adopt to make it to the top of a competitive industry. The JBM Copyright Rountable, next in the line up, will bring together literary agents, rights managers, lawyers, authors and international book fair organisers for the protection of copyright. It will be preceded by a keynote address by Michael Healy, executive director of the Copyright Clearance Center. In an exclusive parallel session, the very successful Festival Directors’ Roundtable will see directors from around the world come together to share their stories, learnings and the challenges they face. Following this, a roundtable discussion on Innovative Distribution Models at the Jharokha, will aim to examine the disruptions and creative innovations of book distribution and the new ways to promote and sell books.

Then, a session on translation, Anuvad, will unravel the secrets of translating from, into and between Indian languages. There will also be an intense focus session on the Gender Equations in Publishing to discuss gender bias at the workplace. It will explore how one can establish personal boundaries while encouraging professional growth. The day will close with a session on the French institute’s initiatives to translate literature from France into Indian languages, including English. The talk will be themed around Literature and Cosmopolitanism.

Major Industry Awards 
Jaipur BookMark will be proudly hosting three major industry awards.

The Vani Foundation Distinugished Translator Award will be held on the opening day and will be co-hosted by Vani Prakashan. The Award honours Indian translators who have consistently facilitated literary and linguistic exchange between (at least) two Indian languages.

The evening of January 24 will see great pomp and show as the winner of the 4th Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize will be announced. The prize will be introduced by Maina Bhagat, the director of Apeejay Oxford Bookstores.

On January 25, the winner of the Romain Rolland Prize will be revealed. Co-hosted by Institut Français, the prize will be introduced by H.E. Alexandre Ziegler and presented by Roz Schwartz.

Presenting iWrite, for writers
The last day of the festival will be dedicated to mentoring aspiring writers, under the banner of ‘iWrite’. The programme corresponds to the spirit of The First Book Club New Writers Mentorship Programme, which in its last two editions provided a niche space to first time writers to get mentored by publishers and literary agents.

This year, ten shortlisted participants, whose names will be announced in the last week of December, will get an opportunity to individually pitch their work to experts from the industry. After that, panel of stellar mentors will engage in a discussion on What to do when you finish writing a book? The Programme strives to provide a platform for both publishers to find fresh content, and for the aspiring writers wanting to see their books get to the next stage.

Jaipur BookMark will close on the January 26 in the presence of directors — Namita Gokhale and Neeta Gupta, producer — Sanjoy K. Roy, advisors — Urvashi Butalia, Aditi Maheshwari Goyal and Naveen Kishore, and festival partners HE Mr. Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg, Margit Walso from Norway and Alind Maheshwari from Rajkamal Prakashan.

You can see the entire programme for 2019 on the JBM website: http:// jaipurbookmark.org/programme/ Chhavi Jain is an assistant editor at Yatra Books. She has completed her Masters in English literature from Delhi University and has previously worked as a blogger with bornofweb.com, and as a production executive for Jaipur BookMark and META with Teamwork Arts Pvt. Ltd. A skilled classical dancer trained in Kathak, she has over 20 performances to her credit.

She is also a social enthusiast and has worked with multiple organisations like Make A Difference, Smile Foundation and National Service Scheme to promote the welfare of underprivileged.

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