MJP/Notion Press Group: where creativity, simplicity and speed are the hallmarks


Starting with rare books reprints in finding first time authors for publishing books in myriad subjects and then getting into book distribution, MJP publishers has come a long way. JC Pillay, the founder of MJP Publishers, is happy that his next generation got into learning technology to kickstart self publishing. How the MJP/Notion Press group has settled into a well oiled smooth sailing organization, finds out D Ramalingam from AABP. Enter into Tamil Nadu Book House, the umbrella organization for MJP Publishers, Notion Press Media Pvt Ltd and notionpress.com, you meet the patriarch, self confident Janardhanan Chidambaram (JC) Pillay in the midst of sea of books. Pillay hails from a family of book lovers and has done his post graduation in Library Science. He started his foray into books by bringing out reprints of rare books for Asian Educational Services. JC started his first venture, a book publishing company – Pioneer Book Services – to bring out the rare books reprints under its banner in 1980s. Simultaneously, he started Tamil Nadu Book House for distribution of books.

JC Pillay & JanaComing into contact with academicians and universities, it struck on him to tap the potential of scientists as authors and he renamed the publishing unit as MJP Publishers. Why MJP? Pat comes the reply from JC, “Actually in my mind, it was Mahadevan Janardhanan meaning my father and grandfather. But our website carries it as Merit, Judgment, Power.” He continues, “We started to bring out books on Life Sciences. It was not easy; scientists were to be identified and motivated to write. So it was all first time authors for us.”

Today, their books range Application of Maths in Chemistry to Biostatics to Customer Relating Management, Botanical Nomenclature, Research Methodology in Biological Science, to name a few.

He is ably assisted by his son C Janardhanan (officially Jana Pillay), who adds, “Right from my childhood, I have been popping into my father’s company, assimilating the knowledge therein. In my M Com, I took up a project on MJP and then was introduced to the new venture notionpress.com, an online self publishing company under the care of Notion Press Media Pvt Ltd. Since then, having joined MJP, I am now the executive director. Two of my friends – Naveen Valasakumaris the CEO while Bhargava A is the software expert – for this new venture.”

Naveen, coming from an aeronautic engineering background and Bhargava wanted to publish a technical book.”There is no book available on the subject catering to such niche audience. We then started exploring the options for self publishing and created our own publishing platform,” started off Naveen. Then he submerged in explaining the steps of self publishing they have been following with success. He continues, “Register with notionpress.com online. You are free to use our publication tools. The content can be typed in, proof read with our assistance, layout of text/ cover design can be done using our templates. Automation is the key at Notion Press. We have developed a user interface which automates the processes mentioned above, get peer reviews and plan the book’s distribution globally. The three stages of content creating, reviews, printing /publishing are done with our assistance. Through our analytics, we can tell the author where one’s book is doing well – e-Pub, PDF or retails online. One of our clients, an IT consultant, and author of a book on How a CEO needs a CIO commented that using Notion site was easier and simpler than buying a movie ticket.” Talking about the distribution, he tells, “Notion has already tied up with 500 dealers.”

Jana & NaveenAsked about business mode, Naveen informed, “Self publishing by author is free but we arrive at a ratio of sharing profits with the author.” Jana adds, “It may vary from 50:50 or 70 percent as royalty. The working figure is generally based on number of pages and nature of topic.”

Asked about how frequently their website is being visited, Naveen shot back, “We have had 26,000 author visits so far.” Recently, they held an online short story competition. This 27 days long competition saw 562 stories submitted, 24,210 votes, 4,19,167 story tellers and 20,96,240 Facebook mentions. Out of this lot, 16 authors have contacted Notion for self publishing their story books.

“Basically, ‘the author-incubation programme’ which Notion takes the author from the initial stages of getting the book ready to proofing/editing, marketing and selling the book, cost of publishing a book comes down to one third the cost of normal self publishing. As an author, one need to invest in his book and we will co-invest with him. This will ensure that he is committed to the project and goes along with us for marketing and publicity related work,” concluded Jana.

One feature of Notion is the use of free apps. So far 2,372 books have been self published on their site, out of which some 300 books are paid for with marketing guidance. The trio is thankful to JC for lending his publishing experience. That completes the quartet to further travel along with options of traditional/self publishing to choose from for an author!

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