Online selling: a boon for higher academic books

Northern Book Centre, publishers of scholarly reference books and Paragon Books, its sister concern for distribution, have been making their mark for last two decades. Here’s more on this publisher.


Gangadhar ChaudharyNorthern Book Centre (NBC) is one of the leading reputed publishers based out of New Delhi. Established in 1985 by Pratap Chand Vaish, M.Tech graduate from IIT, Delhi, he was inspired by his grandfather Late Sh. Sultan Chand Ji, founder of Sultan Chand & Sons, educational publishers since 1950. He also derived the inspiration and enthusiasm from the national spirit of India which is diverse in nature, yet unifying as one culture. Soon the publishing house excelled and Vaish got well established in the art of publishing that he inherited from his revered grandfather.

“He gave me the platform and guidance and this fuelled the growth of NBC and each one of us collectively. We have published books in collaboration with various eminent institutions such as Lok Sabha Secretariat, Ganga Project Directorate, Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Nalanda, Embassy of South Korea, JNU, ICCR, ICPR to name a few,” tells Gangadhar Chaudhary, who joined NBC in 1999.

Books published…

“We publish Scholarly Reference Books and have wide range of books in the field of Indology and Indic-studies, Buddhist Studies, Archaeology, Economics, Commerce, Sociology, Anthropology, Medicine, Education, Commerce, English, Literature, Biography, Psychology, Science and Environment, Library Science, Dictionary, Printing, Mathematics, Banking & Finance, Tribal Studies, Women Studies, etc. Recently we have released a book on one of the latest and most talked-about subjects – Big Data Analytics. The name of the book is “Selected Readings in Big Data Analytics and Auditing” by Dr. Prem Lal Joshi,” he tells.

Changes in the industry…

“The key change that has taken place in the last 10 years is technology. The way technology has enabled the reading styles, publishing of books both educational and leisure is beyond expectations. Mobile Library, Kindle editions, e-books, Print on Demand (PoD) has shaped this industry in a different manner. The Print-on Demand technology has helped the publishers save their money and not invest in printing the books to stock the godowns thus leading to save on costs and greater efficiency,” tells Gangadhar.

The milestones…

“One of the notable positives is that NBC received “Excellence in Book Production 2014” by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi at the 20th New Delhi Book Fair organised by Federation of Indian Publishers. It was a great honour to receive that award. Apart from it, NBC has publications which have been released by Late Mrs Vimala Sharma, First Lady of India & wife of Former President Hon’ble Late Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, Late Hon’ble Mr KR Narayanan, Former President of India, Late Mrs Sheila Dikshit, Hon’ble Former Chief Minister of Delhi, Late Mr IK Gujral, Former Prime Minister of India, Chaudhary Ajit Singh, Founder and Chief of Rashtriya Lok Dal, Anandiben Patel, current Governor of Uttar Pradesh to name a few,” he tells.

The Covid-19 impact…

“Though, the current COVID crisis has brought down a slowdown in the publishing and other ancillary industries but this has also given us to take a moment, sit back and think about the tasks that we have been trying to do for a very long time but have not been able to devote time due to normal routines of the business. Cost efficiencies were brought about by without laying off employees, meeting the fixed costs and other commitments. Moreover, we organised few webinars for the students as well as teachers on varied topics by our eminent authors. This helped to connect with the readers,” shares Gangadhar.

“However, the COVID crisis led to closure of institutions and hence we could not procure any orders from libraries. Even, if the institutions open tomorrow, it is not certain if libraries will be operational for the readers and if that also open, people would be willing to come to library to read books,” he adds.

Challenges in the industry…

“The biggest challenge that is being faced by the publishers normally is piracy and self-publishing to some extent. Though, piracy was never a challenge for us but to some extent, self-publishing has given rise to decline of traditional publishers,” tells Gangadhar.

On distribution…

“We have a nationwide distribution network and it is through these channels which makes it possible to reach to state and other district libraries. They have been a part of our publishing family for a very long time and we hope to continue this relationship for many more years to come. Moreover, our sister company Paragon Books, founded in 2006 is the distribution arm for our own publications as well as foreign books, majorly into Russian books. We have been importing Russian books for various Russian courses in India,” tells Gangadhar.

Online selling: a boon

“As regard the online sales is concerned, it is a key thing in pre-COVID, COVID and post-COVID era. We have reference books which do not have any boundary of syllabus. Sale of books through our website as well as Amazon has helped to balance the lost sales. Our books can be sold even in international markets and we received good response when we participated at the Virtual Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 and Virtual New Delhi Book Fair 2020,” he shares.

Future ahead…

“The path to recovery from COVID crisis will definitely take some time. But the silver lining has started appearing from the dark clouds and our perseverance, patience, hard work and commitment will never lead us down and we will soon see the sun shining bright,” he tells.

“Lastly, the landmark change by the Indian Government is ‘National Education Policy (NEP)’ as they have replaced the 34-year-old National Policy on Education, which was framed in 1986, with the New Education Policy of 2020. National Education Policy has managed to touch the untouched part of the education system in India. It also identified the gender gaps in the education system and suggested a mechanism to address it. Quality of teaching is one of the primary agendas of the policy as well. This is centrally a historic moment for all the stakeholders involved, be it the teachers, students or parents. It is intriguing to see how the norms of this policy will be implemented, but we can be sure that this is a new age for the Indian Education landscape,” concludes Gangadhar.

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