“We do not sell books, we market them”
-says Raghu Ram Aiyar, executive senior vice president, Amity University Press, in conversation with Varsha Verma.
A child best learns in formative years. The relationship of students, teachers and publishers go a long way as students can only excel when they have good teachers and of course good books. It’s a pleasure to share that Amity University Press (AUP) has its presence all over India – from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, not to forget the presence in Leh as well. We do not sell books, we market them. Ours is a need-base programme,” tells the dynamic Raghu Ram Aiyar, who has recently been promoted as the executive senior vice president at Amity University Press. “We do not churn out books, we bring out masterpieces,” he adds.
AUP is presently focusing on pre-primary and primary segments. “This is a recession-free segment as people would get married and will have children, who will probably study in English-medium schools,” he says. With 160-170 different titles and with print runs not less than 40,000 copies, AUP has a lot more in store. The Amity University Press has blossomed under the patronage of Dr Ashok K Chauhan, founder, president of the Amity Group of institutions and founder of Ritnand Balved Education Foundation. He has also been felicitated with “Excellence in Education Award” by Ramakrishna-Vivekanand International Foundation. His son Atul Chauhan, another visionary, is treading fast on the footsteps of his father and has been instrumental in creating a mark for AUP.
On K-12 segment…
Coming to the publishing industry, especially the K-12 segment, Raghu says that it is nothing below Rs 4,000-5000 crore industry, with the primary segment growing at a rate of 20-25 percent. It is an unorganized sector but it is changing gradually with the entry of new entrepreneurs running the institutes. “They are the enlightened lot, the discerning audience, who appreciates the quality of books in terms of content development. These people do not hesitate to spend quality time with publishers to make a good selection of books,” he says. “The entry of foreign publishers in India is a testimony to the fact that the industry has caught on and is now galloping beautifully.”
“Nothing can replace the print medium, not even ebooks. They will continue to complement each other,” he adds. Though, AUP is well-equipped to change with the changing times, with a dedicated department looking after ebooks. “We try to provide value-add like animations, etc to make them more interactive,” he shares.
Another interesting fact Raghu pointed out was that 99 percent of people in publishing have joined it as an accidental profession and most of them enter without proper guidance and training. “Though there lies the beauty of this industry which makes you learn from the grass-root level and gets you to the pinnacle with your hard work and determination,” he adds.
AUP has recently launched a series on Grammar of English language, which Raghu feels is an important segment as it is very important for a child to speak and write correct English. “We have formulated a new approach with innumerable activities. There are eight books in the Grammar series and lot of schools have shown interest in the same,” he shares.
Other interesting titles are Art & Craft series, Live & Let Live series, New look ELT books, etc.
Raghu personally feels that a child learns and imbibes the moral values at home until five years of age. “Schools can give a formal education, but a complete education is given to a child by his parents at home,” he adds. Going ahead, they are planning to launch a complete pre-primary package of 23 books in a year’s time. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s lot more happening at AUP. They are planning to target on higher academics segment. “We have a captive audience of 80,000 students studying in Amity institutes across the country. For this, we are roping in a new set of authors, editors and marketing staff,” shares Raghu.
“As such, we are gunning for Rs 30-35 crore of business next year and strongly feel that it is achievable as we have wonderful authors with fantastic series,” concludes Raghu on a positive note. With such high aspirations and ‘Never say die’ attitude, AUP is sure to reach newer milestones.