Innovative ideas, new perspectives, fresh energy… Gen-X publishing professionals are dynamic and eager to take their companies to newer heights. All About Book Publishing met one such young professional in the book publishing industry. Excerpts.

Karan Gupta,
director
Unicorn Books Pvt Ltd/
Unicorn Digital Publishing LLP

Unicorn Books is a provider of high quality content across multiple domains in all genres. The company has a family background of the publishing and distribution industry of over 70 years, working across well known and iconic brands such as Pustak Mahal and Rapidex. “Our philosophy at Unicorn Books is based primarily on two factors – quality and technology. As a brand we can only move forward if we have better quality and continuous improvement. Technology forms the basis of everything else and ideally speaking we want the best use of all available options in all aspects,” shares Karan.

Experience working in family business

Karan joined the family business six years back. So, what challenges did he find? “Quite frankly, the challenges which have emerged for us have very little to do with the working environment. We have a good system in place and it has not needed too many changes,” he says.

“But, in my limited experience of about 6 years, I have seen the market change a lot. The biggest element has been 'risk'. Market forces have pushed small retailers to such a situation that most of them have transitioned into stockists of bestsellers. They are no longer interested in taking any risks with new titles.

Simultaneously, the cost associated with marketing and promotion of new titles through other channels is going up continuously, hence introduction/selection/curation of a new title has become a very tedious process. Experimentation from all sorts of publishers has taken a very big hit,” he adds.

New avenues explored…

“We have developed our e-book system which is live right now. We are slowly interacting with other publishers and pitching to them our system as a sort of a 'shared' resource since we understand the concerns from publishing which are ideally not handled properly by tech companies entering the e-book market. Since market knowledge is very poor in this regard, we see a slow growth curve for the next few years. Perhaps an inflection point will be reached in the next 3 years,” shares Karan.

“We see our system becoming a direct, publisher controlled channel for digital content which is not available to publishers right now. The cost associated with such a project is too high for individual publishers to sustain and hence we see a shared ecosystem developing for small/medium likeminded publishers,” he adds.

Another area where they have forayed is school book market linked with quality and technology. “We believe we have the relevant technical knowledge wherein we will be able to offer a digital product to schools which actually aids them in some form,” he shares.

Areas of growth in the industry…

“In my opinion, job-exam centric & K-12 markets have good potential. Also, there is substantial potential for lean POD based publishers,” opines Karan.

Road ahead…

“For the past few years, we have been moving towards a lean, digital and responsive system. We believe in it and are also betting on it. Bloated publishing companies will not be able to survive in the future and as can already be seen, a lot of them are looking for/undergoing some form of consolidation or M&A activities,” concludes Karan.



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