International dialogue on ‘Children’s and Young Adult Media

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– focus on literature sphere in Brazil and India

National Book Trust (NBT), India, German Book Office (GBO) – New Delhi and Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF)- São Paulo offices jointly presented an afternoon dedicated to Indian and Brazilian children’s content.

Giving a welcome address during the meeting/presentation on the subject area “International Dialogue, Children’s and Young Adult Media, Guest of Honour 2013: Brazil” was organized at Kids Bubble, Agora, Exhibition site, A Sethumadhavan, chairman, NBT India talked about Indo-Brazil common practices and the impact of Portugal on Indian economy during their regime and their effect after independence.

Ricardo Costa, associated partner at Frankfurt Book Fair for South America and Brazilian representative of the event, introduced the children literature sphere in Brazil and India saying that there were 57,473 new titles published during last financial year (2012-13). Among them, 50 percent are trade books. Of the published titles (approximately 485,261,331 copies), one-third are brought by the Government. Fifty percent of the text books published in the country are translations from world over. Talking over the Afro-Brazilian culture & tradition and giving editorial reference in Afro-descendent themes, Mariana Warth, publisher, Editora Pallas, Brazil said, “We don’t bother bestsellers but focus on different and specific innovative topics.”

An entrepreneur in the field of technology for about 15 years, Ricardo Prado Schneider, CEO, Mobile Brain, Brazil – a company focused on developing mobile projects for education and publishing market said, “The mobile has a great potential for education. We have created back end platform to carry on content to distribute.” Earlier, at the round table on ‘International Perspective on Education’ forum, Mobile Brain, Brazil released a writing app ‘1, 2, 3, Go!’- an app to help anyone, anytime, anywhere, write clear, concise and coherent text. During the forum Ricardo Prado, together with other panellists also proposed that mobile tools, with heavy gamification and socialization, are the best ways to quickly improve basic skills in reading and writing of millions of people in countries that are far behind on OECD PISA classification.

Beginning from introduction of India’s general information, book industry and the trends towards growth in publishing, Prashasti Rastogi, director, GBO New Delhi said, “India, having 17 percent of world population, with 74 percent literacy rates, 150 million Indians are internet users and by 2015 the number is expected to double (McKinsey). There are approximately 19,000 publishers coming out with 90,000 titles per year. And number of books published in English is growing by 30 percent. One fourth of the youth population of the country can be identified as ‘readers of books (NBT 2010).” Talking about children books, she further said, “It is one of the fastest growing segments of publishing with growth of up to 27 percent in volume and 38 percent in value (Nielsen 2011). Apart from trade publishing, 60 percent of the children’s publishing constitutes textbooks. The online sales in the country still mostly focused on educational category.”

While, the writer of over a dozen books for children and adults, Gita Wolf, publisher, Tara Books, India- an independent publishing house of prominence, cast her attention on children literature in India and said, “The story telling culture has been the main strengths of the growth of children literature in the country.” She informed that the first children book in India appeared in the 19th century. The earliest writers were Bengali, and they included Rabindranath Tagore. It was with the founding of the Children Book Trust in 1957 by the well-known artist K Shankar Pillai, that illustrated books for Indian children became widely available.

She also talked about contemporary children publishing and said, “The industry is flourishing with small but significant group of independent children publishers, including Tara Books, Tulika, Ratna Sagar, Pratham Books and Karadi Tales. There are also newer initiatives like Duckbill, which are imprints of medium sized Indian houses like Westland, besides the multinational publishers like Penguin, Hachette, etc. The vernacular publishing is very complex and has its own distribution networks. Some languages like Bangla have an old tradition of children literature.

Talking about projects with Brazil she said, “Tara Books have sold 24 book rights to 10 Brazilian publishers so far with the total print run for all titles at 3,06,947 copies.” She also talked about the collaboration with WMF Martins Fontes featuring wood block prints by Jose Borges, the famous Brazilian cordel artist. “India – Brazil collaboration is possible in more constructive way,” she added.

The meeting/presentation concluded with the presentation of Subrat Mohanti, co-founder and CEO, Hurix, India who talked about innovation in children eBooks, digital learning with interactive eBooks, IWB and simulation lab technologies along with the briefing about the Indian publishing industry.

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