The Covid challenge…

Aditya Verma, Marina Publications Pvt Ltd, Varanasi, shares his views on the textbook publishing market in Covid times and the path to recovery.

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Our publishing house had its humble beginning in the year 1991. Since then, we have cautiously tread every step towards holistic development. Today, we boast of about 850 titles, which includes school books for all age groups of students. We also have operational offices across 9 states in India,” tells Aditya Verma of Marina Publications Pvt Ltd.

Publishing in pandemic…

“The post Covid-19 market is obviously slow with numerous challenges. The primary reason for the reduction in sales (50%) is exchange of old books. Besides, an almost total online classes have pioneered a 100% boost in digital content. Even though the market for digital books has seen a boom, but the printed books have not totally disappeared,” he says.

“As a result, lot of unsold stock is lying with the distributors in the market. We are expecting an increase in return stocks. If there are changes in the curriculum, this would make the old stock redundant,” he adds.

Working in Covid times…

“It is a challenge to bring up the market demand as per normal standards. So, we will be focusing on working in specific region i.e. selected area, so as to maintain a strong hold over a particular region. Other than that, we will be working on limited subjects and few titles,” tells Aditya. On asking about the pricing strategy, he replies, “So far our pricing strategy is based on the vision that books are easily affordable to the parents and they get quality content. So, we keep price moderate and we are not looking for changes in price for next year also.”

The recovery…

“The phase of recovery will be by the year 2023 and not before that, as major part of our business depends on student and functioning of school which is not possible till there is proper vaccination and measures to bring students to school,” he adds.

The digital angle…

“We have well established digital learning solutions, as we provide digital content with every book for all classes be it Hindi, English or other subjects. Other than that, we give free question paper generator to our concerned schools for helping them to set papers for our books,” adds Aditya.

Future trends…

“We need to break the myth that e-books can make up for printed books and we need to fight against piracy/counterfeiting. Preventing territorial infringements, which are on the rise, is also essential. Booksellers should petition for a level playing field. Liaison with the government and regulatory authorities is going to be the key,” he opines.

“I believe that next two years will be spent in normalizing the market and more inclination towards digital content and later on focus will be shifted to the syllabus and development of books in the regional language,” concludes Aditya.

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