Moving forward with Collaborations & Synergy

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As we move forward, here’s wishing a very Happy 2021 to all. The disruptions of 2020, a year never to be forgotten… was also marked with solidarity, innovations & connecting in many ways but the heart of the matter being personal exchange was missed across communications & collaborations. Here’s to a year when we work together to reshape our industry for a better future.

2021 celebrates Bodour Al Qasimi as IPA’s new President. She is the second woman to assume the role in 124 years, she says “This is an important advancement in our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. I plan to work closely with all of our members to help our industry recover from the ravages of 2020 and transition smoothly to a post-COVID world; and to set our essential industry on a bright, new track.”

The noticeable observations of the pandemic include increase in online sales, disruption of distribution and payment cycles. Independent book stores reached out to their customers via innovative means. On change pertaining to online sales, Shubham Jain of Bookswagon shares that there is a surge in online selling and that not only individuals, but also many institutes, colleges & schools are shifting their focus from traditional buying to buying online. Similarly, Gangadhar Chaudhary of Northern Book Centreshares that sale of books through their website as well as Amazon helped to balance lost sales.

Covid-19 had a huge impact on distribution, adds Kailash Balani of Aditya Books Pvt Ltd, which resulted in unsold stock, damaged returns, no new orders, closure of office space, and more. The situation is grim and if the government does not release library budgets, many publishers, booksellers and the distributors will have to close their shops which will result in huge unemployment and will impact research. Besides, book exports have also been badly hit.

“Rather than resisting new technology, explore avenues to gain, ” says Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO, Westland Publications, he adds, “I am heartened by the way various businesses, both big and small, are innovating new strategies to reach their customer base. What I see emerging is a model that is a hybrid of both online and offline distribution.”

Meanwhile, Storytel India, to promote multilingual focus, has added Malayalam as its 9th language and Devashish Sharma, Country Head, Wattpad India adds, “With the pandemic, digital reading and writing has grown like never before. Wattpad has nearly 3 million users in India, and we’re growing every day. Users spend an average of 37 minutes per day reading and engaging with stories on Wattpad, and stories have been uploaded in more than 10 languages, including English and Hindi.”

Certain states and cities are set to reopen schools (10th -12th standard), colleges and educational institutions from January 2021.

Working together with stakeholders to strengthen relationships and facing the changes and the challenges, let’s all look forward to the silver lining and brighter times.

Shweta
shweta@allaboutbookpublishing.com

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