Rowman & Littlefield joins hands with KW Publishers for reaping increasing publishing opportunities in India

Headquartered in Washington DC, Rowman & Littlefield is an independent publisher of books pertaining to educational, world politics, military strategies, and more. In a talk with Jyaneswar Laishram from All About Book Publishing, Benjamin Glover, Director-International Sales & Marketing, Rowman & Littlefield, tells about the company’s strategic partnership with New Delhi-based KW Publishers and significance of physical books in the digital era.

Benjamin Glover

Rowman & Littlefield operates through its branches in London, New York City, Colorado and Toronto with a network of distribution centers across the world. The publisher has partnered with some of the leading authorities as well as eminent book publishers to expand its footprint and distribution channels. “We are looking forward to expanding basic sales and marketing network in the eastern hemisphere, strategically focusing on India and other South Asian countries,” says Benjamin.

He continues, “Book publishing market in India is growing constantly. In this respect, with our partnership with KW Publishers, we aim at strengthening our presence with much more editorially integrated publishing opportunities in the region where the book publishing industry is vibrant and flourishing with brighter future prospect. Future is more interesting in many ways than the past.”

“Our partnership with KW Publishers was chalked out when we met with Kalpana Shukla, Managing Director of the company, in London quite a long time ago. But over the last two and a half years our tie-up has been strengthened and working closely to make a great leap forward. Our overall idea behind such partnership is to create a distribution as well as a knowledge hub in India,” mentions Benjamin. He thus points out that the current sales and distribution network of Rowman & Littlefield in the region is relatively small.

India’s growth perspective

About his impression of the India’s current book publishing market, Benjamin observes, “When we look at the retailing and wholesaling aspect, not in terms of authorship or intellectual weight, the book publishing market in the country is still in unsophisticated stage.” However, he adds that unlike any other country in the world, not even China, just another big market in Asia, India boasts of publishing books in reduced cover prices, which is the strength and fact of the country’s book publishing market everybody needs to realize.

Benjamin further mentions that another positive aspect of India’s book publishing market is its dramatic and cutting edge technological developments in publishing and production of books. “Now the online retailing in India is also gaining pace effectively, always jumping ahead. I would say the book publishing industry in this country of continental size with 1.3 billion population size will be growing tremendously in future,” he observes.

Rowman & Littlefield boasts of hundreds of widely popular titles, among which are books like Power & Choice by W Phillips Shively that is in its 15th edition and many other bestsellers on international relations and global politics. “We also publish a lot of library science books which are very important in India as well. In addition, our titles on archival and library studies are quite considered books in our list. In the list, we also have a range of popular books on insectology and anthropology which sell well in India,” says Benjamin.

Blend of print & digital

Doubtless to say many readers nowadays go for digital content, forgetting physical books. “People forget the fantastically innovative and robust technology of paper and bind. Actually to my knowledge, the future of publishing world will be a blend of digital and print. Advantage of digital delivery of book could be in form of audio visual and images, delivering the same content in a whole different way. For example, cookery books are good in digital format with videos,” says Benjamin.

He adds, “We particularly target institutional set ups for digital delivery of contents and it is moving forward. There are rise and fall in delivering digital contents. That’s why we are testing the water whether it (digital) will work or not. But the only constant is print. In time, we will find physical copies are best way to deliver a book. We are seeing a lot of printed books continuing to sell. In the meanwhile, we are also seeing increase in demand for digital contents, but not exponentially. When it comes to jeopardy and usability, nothing could compare to print.”

If given a choice, Benjamin says he will go for either print or digital, depending on the reflection on the market. He is currently reading VS Naipaul in free and physical state, that he wouldn’t do on Kindle. “This doesn’t mean I say Kindle is bad. But some readers enjoy it, like my 8-year-old daughter who currently reads Famous Five on iPad, which I share with her. Again this doesn’t mean she totally ignores physical books, which are pleasing with their usability and aesthetic value,” comments Benjamin.

There are number different reasons why people enjoy physical books. In this respect, Benjamin conclusively says that prints work well when it comes to portability, delivery, relief, and India has the pride of mastering the fantastic printed book market.

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