“Publishers and distributors need to develop new online capabilities”

Says Kailash Chand Saemwal of Priya Book Distributors in conversation with AABP.

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Established in 2003, Priya Book Distributors has come along way. Kailash Chand Saemwal of Priya Book Distributors has been associated with the book trade for last 30 years.

Genres offered…

“Being a library supplier and distributor, we offer books of all genres like Fiction, Non-fiction, Text Books, Coffee Table Books, Academic Books, Research Journals and all the Course Books from Arts, Science & Commerce streams,” he tells.

“I have been representing many big and small publishers across India. However my forte lies with the books based on Indian Art & Culture, Cuisines, Photography, Coffee Table Books etc as there are several exporters that I cater to and they do demand books in such subjects,” he adds.

Changes in book trade….

“Book distributors are crucial in the supply chain of books from publishers to readers. And I have witnessed a sea of changes in the business over the past few years, like the growth in Indian writing in English, the closure of bookshops, the arrival and dominance of e-commerce, the merger of major publishing houses and the need for good warehousing. If I talk about book-selling in the last 15 years, it was very different – television was still primitive, so the eagerness to read was a lot more and book sales were volumetric. The demand was huge and the libraries had sufficient funds to buy books. But, in the last 4-5 years, the library supplies and distribution have gone down badly. And on the other hand publishers are making the bulk of their revenues from online sales either selling directly or indirectly,” tells Kailash as a matter of fact.

Challenged faced due to Covid crisis…

“Covid-19 has hit book publishing and distribution in unimaginable ways, forcing publishers, writers and readers to alter their behaviour. The financial effect is deeper and more severe for educational and academic publishers and there is a major effect on revenues. The online sales had already hit the distributors like us badly and now this pandemic has done the rest. Publishers are looking toward alternative book publishing plans and as a result there is rapid increase in digital publications, driven by highly discounted trial offers have proven to be deadly for the distributors,” he shares.

“Small publishers are being particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. The cancellation of the book fairs, as well as those of literature festivals and the lockdown made their books virtually invisible. But bookstores and distributors are also enormously important for the industry as a whole —but unfortunately, online selling before and pandemic now has disrupted the Book Industry altogether,” he adds.

Views on online sales…

“It is no secret that shoppers look to minimize risk by staying in their homes, more consumers have turned to online shopping to obtain the items they need and want and books are one of the most sold items online, these days. And in India, the market places like Amazon and Flipkart have set the market on fire by offering huge collections of books from across the genres and giving maximum discounts, which obviously lure the buyers not to move out of their will hold steady into a new normal following the pandemic. In order to adapt to the new reality, the publishers and distributors will need to develop new online capabilities to win the digital shelf,” concludes Kailash.

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