Happier times ahead for the textbook publishing!


What have been the changes and emerging trends in the textbook segment, especially at the school level, shares Raghu Ram Aiyar of Amity University Press (AUP) in conversation with Varsha Verma.

Raghu Ram AiyarUndoubtedly, the total market for textbook publishing in organised sector has grown by leaps and bounds. The market is estimated to be over Rs 1,600 cr and more and more foreign participation is coming forth. Top publishing companies are acquiring companies of repute that are not doing well. This is testimonial evidence that there is a great future for textbook publishing, tells Raghu Ram Aiyar, executive senior vice president of Amity University Press (AUP).

“This is a true reflection that the companies already consolidated will take on newer grounds as they have the knowledge, experience and stability, which gives a new growth to the industry per se,” he adds optimistically.

On asking about any acquisition plans at AUP, Aiyar confirmed that they are also on the lookout for companies for acquisition. “In the last 7-8 years, AUP has consolidated itself in the primary segment of textbook publishing. Slowly, but steadily, we are emerging as a lead player,” he shares. “This is because the primary segment is ever-growing.”

Entrepreneurs: raising the publishing level

Another important trend in the Indian publishing industry is that more and more MBAs or entrepreneurs are getting into the business. “This is giving a new dimension to the industry as these youngsters are themselves going into the depths of merits and demerits of the textbook. Earlier, trade was playing a bigger role in influencing the decision-makers to buy books. But, this is now changing as people are now doing justice to the efforts done by the publishers to bring out quality books. Now, books sell more on merit rather than just the monetary aspect,” tells Aiyar.

From printing to publishing…

“The publishing industry has come a long way. Earlier, publishing was synonymous with printing but now people understand that publishing is right from conceptualising to book production and this is art,” states Aiyar.

New government…
new beginnings…

“Besides, the new government has come in to add few more bold steps towards popularising Indian languages such as Hindi and Sanskrit. One has to look at this development with greater interest. Hindi, which has not got the importance it deserves, shall probably gain new momentum,” feels Aiyar.

Emerging aspects in education…

New institutions are now coming up which are less certificate-centric and more knowledge-centric. “The CCE (Continuous Curriculum Education) pattern started by CBSE ensures that the child has all-round development and not just bookish knowledge. There is an interactive process between teacher and children. Objective type questions are put forth to let the child understand the concept while the problem-solving and formal assessment play a lead role in gearing up the child to face newer challenges. This new methodology by CBSE is in the right direction,” sums up Aiyar. “This is a good time for children as academics is not the only aspect, sports is also important,” he adds. “Besides, sports teaches so many skills to students – team spirit, tolerance and of course focus, which are needed in day-to-day life and academics as well.”

Aiyar also shares his cherished dream that the ratio between child and teacher be 1:15 as against 1:35 prevailing trend.

Value education…

One of the most positively recognised subject is value education but not many publishers have taken it seriously. “Values are best imbibed at home front by parents. Books can only supplement it. Amity is aiming at educating parents also for value education and this is a new approach, that has been much appreciated,” shares Aiyar.

Publishing clichés…

Aiyar shares a very interesting example, wherein CBSE has provided 6-7 books which are unabridged versions of out of copyright books. Publishers can download it and put it in a form of book, with value additions. “Still, some of the publishers make grammatical and typographical errors,” he shares.

Looking ahead…

“It is heartening that people are now taking publishing industry as a happening industry and they are very careful about plagiarism and copyright issues. Due to this, piracy has also come down. The future of publishing industry is bright with lot of happenings in the printing and epublishing. But, they need not replace the print version as they all supplement each other. There are happier times ahead for Amity University Press in particular and the textbook publishers in general,” he concludes optimistically.

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