“Let’s create a brighter future for writing, publishing, & reading”

shares Ranbir Singh Kushvah, Managing Director, Infotech Standards India Pvt Ltd, which offers books for higher education.

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Books have always been regarded as an important media for the development and promotion of human values. They record new ideas, preserve and communicate knowledge, impart education and values, and aid the overall development of an individual. The publishing sector in India is the third largest in the world in English language publishing. Current statistics reveals that the sector is truly a colossus—a giant in slumber, which needs to be awakened and given its due status and identity.

The Indian publishing industry…

The publishing industry in India has undergone significant changes over the last decade, and is set to evolve in newer directions and as we enter a new decade in book publishing, we can expect to see a continuation of many trends observed in recent years. Self-publishing will grow, audio will become one of the priorities, and digital printing technology will accelerate publishers’ shift from an inventory-driven model to a more on-demand model.

The challenges…

However, the Indian book publishing sector gets no direct investment from government, “a serious roadblock.” Other challenges include the fragmented nature of publishing and bookselling, a tortuous distribution system, long credit cycles that make it difficult to manage cash flows, and increases in direct costs.

The digital angle…

The digitization of the book publishing process, the downturn of the economy, the need for change in business practices that publishers have been avoiding for years, and the increasing diversity of the industry have completely changed how books get published.

However publishers are progressing towards exploring digital spaces, even though the demand for print books continues to grow in India. The educational books sector, which forms 70 percent of the book market in India, is the mainstay of the industry. The print-versus-e-book debate has almost died down in the book industry, replaced by the realization that print and digital formats are likely to coexist and in the future, lead to a hybrid publishing model that taps into the strengths of both.

The road ahead…

While private enterprise in publishing has grown, particularly in the last decade, the growth can only be seen in brief and passing spurts. Certainly there are no signs that the industry is perishing. But if it has to survive, if it has to expand, then it must not only seek nourishment from outside, it must learn to lead a healthier life itself. Since, publishing has reached a “new normal”, with Amazon and other major platforms and businesses owning a major share of the business. However, I believe in the brilliance of everyone in this industry to create a brighter future for writing, publishing, and reading. We must experiment with new ideas, new technologies, and new models, to create a fairer and more sustainable industry.

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