Reinventing is the mantra of surging ahead!

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SAGE India has been around for 38 years now. They have been known as one of the leading independent, academic and professional publisher of innovative, high-quality content. Here, Aarti David, Vice President, Publishing, SAGE, shares more about the SAGE publishing programme in India and their future plans. Excerpts.

Q: In your opinion, what is the role of a publisher?

Aarti: The role of publishers as bridge builders is all the more important when bridges collapse and ideas drown in a suffusion of information and scarcity of attention. By finding, filtering, shaping, curating, certifying, editing, promoting, disseminating and rewarding ideas, a scholarly publisher helps convert them into cultural products that enable their transmission from the minds of writers and editors into the minds of readers.

Q: How are new genres of young authors in social science and management lending a new perspective to publishing today?

Aarti: The world, as we know it today, has changed dramatically from say even 5 years ago. Perhaps this is best viewed through the eyes of the generation that drove the change and is an active part of continuing to change. Authors whose works are based on this change are the first link in changing publishing’s landscape. The next change is the distribution of published material.

Q: How long has SAGE been in India and how has your publishing philosophy evolved over the years?

Aarti: SAGE India was founded in 1981 and has been around for 38 years. While we surely have evolved, I wouldn’t say that the publishing philosophy has changed as such. It has diversified with the changing times. The focus has moved from print only to various other digital and online formats with the advancement of technology and now shifting the focus to services. SAGE in India too, was known for its social science publishing, but we have widened our portfolio by diversifying into areas that are more relevant to the Indian market. At the same time we have retained alignment to our global objectives. SAGE Response publishes business and management books while and SAGE Select imprints publishes non-fiction titles.

Q: Tell us about your Indian language publishing programme?

Aarti: We formally established SAGE Bhasha in 2015 and forayed directly into Indian language publishing with Hindi and Marathi. However, we began our experiment with Indian languages in 2008. Targeted primarily at the library market, our books have been well received and appreciated by everyone, however reach has been an issue. We are working to ensure that our books are visible and available across libraries pan India. We are well aware that building a publishing program takes time and commitment. To make it commercially viable requires revisiting strategy and its implementation. We would like to ensure, we continue to work towards curating quality content that reaches the masses and fills the much needed gap for scholarly publishing in the language space.

Q: Does your Journal publishing go beyond English language publishing?

Aarti: At SAGE India, we feel that there is scope for journal publishing in the Indian Language space and have recently brought out two journals in Hindi, Samajik Vimarsh and Bhartiya Samajshastra Sameeksha—these are in association with Council for Social Development and Indian Sociological Society respectively. Predatory publishing is a black mark on India’s overall publishing effort. It is clearly taking money by misleading the client. It not just affects business but it affects the credibility of us as a publishing nation. Unfortunately very little is being done collectively to combat the menace. The Government has framed guidelines on OA publishing that directly talks about predatory publishing but that is inadequate in dealing with the menace.

Q: Tell us something about your textbook programme?

Aarti: Our aim has been to provide quality at affordable prices. This fledgling list is designed to provide teacher and student resources without compromising on our globally recognised standards of excellence. The books are mapped to the curriculum and designed keeping UGC recommendations in mind. We have recently developed a platform that will provide Instructors access to various teaching aids such as instructors’ resources/ppt slides; companion websites; full-text journal articles; extended case studies.

Q: What does the future look like?

Aarti: These are exciting times and reinventing the way we do things is the mantra for surging ahead. There is lots to do in the online and digital space.

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