“Books need to be meaningful for the society”
tells Dinesh Goyal of Goyal Brothers Prakashan in an exclusive interaction with AABP.
The role of K-12 publishing in India is very important. There are around 18,000 secondary schools across the country. With around 15 million children in India studying in K-12, which includes the schools affiliated to CBSE, ICSE and state boards. While, the number of primary and pre-primary schools across the country is huge, informed Dinesh Goyal of Goyal Brothers Prakashan. “This is the time when it is the teachers or the parents who decide upon the purchase of books. Once a child enrolls himself or herself in a professional course, they become the deciding authority. They become mature enough to browse on the internet and then select the book of their choice. While, for K-12 segment, internet sales accounts for just 2-3 percent,” he added.
Dinesh also shares an interesting fact that demographically, Keralites spend more on the reference books as they are more job-oriented. Then comes, the people from Punjab, who do spend a lot on books, but the utilization is less. “Since they can afford it, they buy it, but they are not very education-oriented,” he added as a matter of fact. “Bengalis also like to spend on books,” he added. Another interesting point he shared was that in Bihar, people spend more on education after the child passes 12th standard, as they want their children to do well in competitive exams.
Talking about the Indian children vis-à-vis foreign counterparts, Dinesh said, “Indian children are more intelligent though they have lesser exposure. The competition is tough and children study to secure better jobs for themselves. Hence, the Indian syllabus is also very rich.”
The strong credentials…
Goyal Brothers Prakashan is a name to reckon with among the leading, well known and prestigious publishing houses in India. Founded in 1960, by late Kewal Ram Gupta it has made progress by leaps and bounds. From a humble beginning, four decades ago, it now caters to over 25,000 schools all over India and sells over eight million books. So what is the secret behind this huge set-up? “It is the family business and our unity is our biggest strength. We are five brothers and we all work under one umbrella. We believe in doing good work and that too with our ethics,” told the humble Dinesh.
With 800 titles, their publishing house offers books in the price range of Rs 100-180.The average print runs differ – from 10,000 to 20,000 to 50,000 copies, depending upon the title. Though their books are marketed across the country, the major share goes to Delhi, Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh. “All the school textbooks are revised every three years while the books for 11th and 12th standard are revised every year. Our books are in English language, barring the Hindi textbook. All our authors are from India,” informed Dinesh.
The group employs 700 staff, with 120 people in marketing and 75-80 in editorial. They prefer to work through distributors as catering directly to schools has never been their first choice.
Their export-oriented unit Goyal Books Overseas Pvt Ltd, supplies books for gulf countries. “The syllabus for the Indian schools in gulf countries is similar as in India,” told Dinesh. On asking about the pricing of these books, Dinesh replied, “The price of our books is same for all countries. But, there are two lacunaes – it depends on the demand and supply for retailers and the local expenses within the country.”
Revealing further on exports it was informed that almost 5-20 percent of the total exports (Rs 150 crore), is of books from Goyal Brothers Prakashan while 80 percent of the exports being the merchant exports.
On e-learning solutions…
Ten years back, Goyal Brothers Prakashan started offering CD–ROMs alongwith their textbooks, which was very successful. “We forayed into EduLab International 3-4 years back. We have around 15,000-20,000 members on our portal, where we offer the content for Class 3-12,” told Dinesh. His son Akhil Goyal is looking after the e-learning solutions.
“We have already converted some of our best titles in e-books. We wish to go global and e-books is the best way to achieve it. We have an in-house team for conversion, though we also outsource some of our requirements,” told Akhil. “The market is shaping up for these products but the technology is changing at a rapid pace and so is a challenge to meet up with these technological changes. Besides, the teachers also need a lot of training to use these solutions. But, we are offering training to them as well,” he added.
On general books…
Charles Baker Books Ltd is the London-based wing of Goyal Prakashan, publishing general books. “Our sale from this division is more in Africa than in India,” informed Dinesh.
On a concluding note…
“Books should be meaningful and the society as well as the country should gain in the process,” concluded Dinesh.