One of the leading research, educational and cheap cialis india research professional publishers in the world, Springer Nature is also among the largest e-book publishers, with almost half of its business contributed by e-publishing of journals and books. We recently caught up with Sanjiv Goswami, managing director of Springer Nature India for an exclusive interview to understand how e-publishing is rapidly bridging the information gap between developing and developed nations. Excerpts.

Formed in 2015 as a result of the merging of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media, Springer Nature is today the world’s largest academic book publisher, publisher of the world’s most influential journals and a pioneer in the field of open research. The genesis of the company, however, dates back to 175 years, when Julius Springer founded Springer Science+Business Media in Berlin on 10 May, 1842, his 25th birthday.

Today, the company has more than 3,000 English-language journals and over 200,000 books, including those published by highly reputed publishing houses such as Adis, Apress and BioMed Central. Librarians, researchers, students and faculty in prestigious institutions – academic, corporate and public – have come to trust and rely on Springer’s high quality content in five main fields: science, technology, medicine, business and transport.

The EUR 1.5 billion company was one of the early adopters of the opportunities in e-publishing and, has over the years, developed an array of respected and trusted brands providing quality content through a range of innovative products and services. Springer Nature is headquartered in Europe with substantial operations in the US, and has over 13,000 employees spread over 50 countries.

E-publishing: the core of research

“Electronic publishing today is not essentially a replica of a print book, although the starting point is the book itself,” said Goswami. “Researchers need to cross-refer from various sources and a digital platform that can host the content and make it searchable is needed. And once the content becomes digital, functionalities come into play pinpointing to the reader what he needs,” he said.

“Our content is not tailor-made for a course or a subject for a classroom environment; our content is normally not read cover to cover. It is read in sections because it is a reference. Similarly, journal articles are also read selectively according to a specific area of research. When the researcher is surfing for relevant content, he/she also connects with lot of other databases and sources. A scientist, for instance, reading our content will not ignore an equally good content from another source,” reasoned Goswami, who started his career with Tata McGraw Hill over three decades ago and who has also served as president, treasurer and secretary of the Association of Indian Publishers and is member of various trade associations like FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM. He is also the founding director on the Board of Indian Reprographic Rights Organization.

“If you are connected to an electronic database via a licence, it does not matter which geographical area you are in. There’s no time lag and no information divide. This is one of the greatest things to have happened in India. This has significantly helped reduce the information divide between developed and developing nations,” Goswami said.

The government is now taking advantage of digitisation by funding and supporting library consortia to access high-end content from publishers across the world. In today’s digital age, libraries and researchers are constantly adapting to new and usefull link innovative ways to source information quickly and effectively for the academic and research communities. Springer Nature’s database and software solutions have been created with these factors in mind so that libraries can provide user-friendly solutions and researchers can get the information they need quickly and easily,” he said, lauding the country’s policy makers for the futuristic Digital India programme.

Commenting on the pricing model, Goswami says, “The digital content warrants an innovative pricing model for books. The research world is global. It is very important for scientists here to connect with scientists elsewhere so that nations benefit from global intellect. We have substantial open access content available on our platform. When we licence content to institutions, we have no restrictive digital rights management (DRM). We want people to read and use our content as widely as they can, provided they give us a small fee and use it legally.”

India operations

Goswami, who built the company’s operations in India from scratch, having joined as its first employee 20 years ago, has been hands-on in every aspect of the publishing business. He has nurtured the company over the years with sheer hard work, grit and vision to its present 600+ workforce across the country.

India is a key player in the company’s global business development. Springer Nature CEO Derk Haank, along with his management team, is also actively involved in the process, travelling frequently to the country. The company has partnered and published journals with close to 50 learned societies in India and co-published over 75 Indian journals for the global readership both in print and electronic media. Over the past seven years, these journals have acquired phenomenal readership and also found substantial commercial success to the delight of the partnering societies. Goswami says the company today enjoys a fantastic reach and has valuable professional relationships and trust with institutions across the country.

“We expanded editorial activities in India in 2011 hiring subject specialist editors in each discipline. We are proud of our strength in the sciences and growing prowess in the human sciences. The mergers in 2015 to form Springer Nature have made the company stronger. Palgrave has aided our strength in social sciences,” he said, adding that with the ever-growing author base for Springer Nature from India, the company has already published 300 books from India, with many more in the pipeline.

Apart from the 600-strong workforce in the Delhi headquarters and other centres, the company has a high-end internal technology support company – Springer Nature Technology and Publishing Solutions – with employee strength of 1,000 people in Pune, and a pre-press and production set-up in Chennai with close to 4,000 people. Both the Pune and Chennai offices are independently managed with reporting lines directly to the European head office.

“Almost one-third of our global work force carries an Indian passport,” informed Goswami pointing out the massive Indian presence in the company. “Looking back 20 years, there’s been tremendous progress in India, progress that the world recognizes,” he said. CEO Derk Haank echoes this sentiment, “Every country has its own pace of progress. India has its own structure, challenges and pace. Anyone who visited India 10 years ago and comes back today can notice the progress.”

Challenges in research benchmarking

Rapid industrialisation and economic developments have increased the focus on research in India. The government’s budget allocation on research is slowly and steadily going up. The private sector too is playing an active role – Universities such as Manipal, Sastra, Amrita and many others are committed to investing in research and also in resources and information that build a knowledge environment. Information needs of the corporate sector are also growing as they engage more rapidly in robust and real-time research and that gives Goswami a lot of hope. “Innovation in science and technology are essential elements to drive sustainable economic growth. If we have to get noticed for our research activities, we have to publish articles in journals,” he said.

But there are challenges that veer around the nature of Springer Nature’s business. “There is a need to join hands with government research initiatives for strengthening research and innovation, and the company can contribute substantially by providing high-end expert knowledge and services in Publishing – both in creation of content and also in the processes. With inputs based on our citation index - The Nature Index - we can help centres of advance research and excellence to benchmark their research output with global science. The company also conducts author training workshops. We would like to collaborate with different departments in a more meaningful and structured way. Such initiatives can focus on developing the intellectual strength of our nation. Though we are not the drivers of the system, we are an important component of a larger ecosystem that help creates and disseminate knowledge. We currently do a lot of activities, but we can do it on an even larger scale as India is a huge nation,” Goswami said.

Nature India, Springer Nature’s portal for Indian science, is a respected go-to website for the scientific community in our country. Besides being the only platform for science news and research highlights in India, it also conducts science communication workshops for scientists and has recently been part of the international FameLab competitions for young scientists. Nature India’s various outreach programmes cover more than 1,000 scientists every year in India.

“We have recently instituted an award programme for school children through Macmillan Education, a Springer Nature group company. In the professional sector, we publish a few valuable magazines for the B2B sector, such as Auto Tech Review – a technology magazine for the automotive and related sectors, and Dentistry, which is aimed at the dental sector. “We also host annual awards for technology innovation in the automotive sector in India besides awarding students in technical institutions for their innovations. For both the magazines, we are working on strong digital models to expand their reach in the next five years. We are helping researchers, students, teachers and professionals to Discover, Learn and Achieve more,” said Goswami.

“Springer Nature has always believed that since we are a global brand we should bring global benefits to the Indian market rather than restrict it and, in that direction, I think we have greatly succeeded,” said Goswami as his closing statement.

India second among 10 countries in research contribution

Springer Nature recently presented the Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars report in India. It places India second among 10 countries with the highest absolute increase in their contribution to high-quality research publications between 2012 and 2015. The Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars supplement identifies those countries and institutions that showed the most significant growth in high-quality research publications and warrant a close watch. Rising Stars uses the power of the Nature Index that tracks more than 8,000 global institutions whose research is published in a group of 68 high-quality natural science journals, and have been independently selected by scientists.

Derk Haank, chief executive officer of Springer Nature said, “India’s emergence as one of the world’s largest economies is being reflected in its increasing contribution to the world’s high-quality research publications, as the Nature Index Rising Stars has shown. Springer Nature has enjoyed long historical ties with India and we are excited about the future of high-quality research here. We look forward to deeper engagement with the government and the science, research and education community.”

S Chand & Company Ltd has become the second education content company to be listed in India, with its Rs 728.5 crore IPO oversubscribed 60 times. The group caters to 38,000 schools along with recent acquisition of Chhaya Prakashani catering to 30 million students. With the fresh boost in investment, the group will be now targeting 50,000 schools and 40 million students. The company is all set to consolidate its position in Central Board affiliated schools and increase penetration in State Board affiliated schools.

S Chand Group has made news again. The initial public offering of S Chand & Company was oversubscribed 60 times, according to data from the BSE and the National Stock Exchange. The Rs 728.5 crore IPO got bids for 45,72,01,910 shares against a total issue size of 76,85,284 shares, for a price band of Rs 660 to Rs 670 a share. The reserve portion for qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) was oversubscribed 45 times while that set aside for retail investors was oversubscribed about six times.

What IPO means to the S Chand Group?

The group plans to repay loans worth Rs 255 crore from its IPO that would reduce its debt burden. The repayment will partially include the loans it had taken to acquire publishing firm Chhaya Prakashani. As per Himanshu Gupta, managing director S Chand & Company, "From the fresh issue, the company will raise Rs 325 crore, of which Rs 255 crore would be used to pay the debt which will be around 75 per cent debt reduction in the company. While the remaining funds would be used for general corporate purposes and IPO expenses.”

With this, S Chand becomes the second education content company to get listed in India after Navneet Education (formerly Navneet Publications).

Organic and inorganic growth

The company is poised to grow exponentially, with both organic and inorganic growth. The recent acquisition of Chhaya Prakashani Pvt Ltd will aid the group to foray into East India and mark its presence in state board affiliated schools as Chhaya has a very strong presence in state board (West Bengal) affiliated schools. The company has acquired 74% equity ownership of Chhaya Prakashani in December 2016. The acquisition is in line with S Chand’s strategy of inorganic growth.

The company has also been at the forefront of innovative education delivery through focused digital/services platform. They have 7,700+ hours of e-content. Digital companies under its wings include online test prep platforms Test book & Online Tyari; flipclass marketplace which connects students with tutors; Edutor Technologies for mobile and touchscreen learning and Smartivity activity based learning for young children. It is estimated that the online test prep market in US$50 m, which is growing at a CAGR of 30%, while online home tutoring is worth $3.5 m, growing at a CAGR of 30%. Thus, there is huge opportunity to grow in these segments.

The group credentials

S Chand Group is the oldest and one of the largest publishing and education service enterprise with footprints across the nation with 50 branch offices, exporting to 19 countries, 12,000 titles and 2000 authors reaching out to 30 million students across 38,000 school & educational institutions, state-of-the-art printing and publishing facilities and 3000+ employees. Sixty-seven titles have sold more than 50,000 copies in FY 2016. With 5,607 distributors, their Pan India reach has presence in CBSE, ICSE and state board affiliated schools across India and has sold 45 million books in 2016.

“The company will continue to grow and whenever there are strategic and financially fit acquisitions, we will look at new acquisitions,” concludes Himanshu.

Dr Michiel Kolman, president of the IPA recently spoke on the occasion of World Book & Copyright Day (April 23) at Reading Promotion Summit in Chengdu, China to promote reading and literacy. Excerpts.

Dr Michiel Kolman became president of the International Publishers Association (IPA) on 1 January 2017. Before that he was the IPA’s vice president for two years as well as chair of the association’s Membership Committee. IPA is an accredited non-governmental organisation (NGO) enjoying consultative relations with the United Nations. Dr Kolman is senior vice president of Global Academic Relations at Elsevier, the world’s leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information solutions. His publishing career spans 25 years, during which he worked for Elsevier in Amsterdam, Tokyo and Frankfurt, and also at Wolters Kluwer in a division now part of Springer Nature. Based in Amsterdam, Dr Kolman is also a member of the Dutch Publishers Association.

Millions of people around the world mark World Book & Copyright Day with festivities and activities to celebrate and promote literacy, books and the pleasure of reading. What is less known is that the inspiration for this celebration came in 1995 from the mind of one of the presidents of the International Publishers Association – a Spanish publisher named Pere Vicens. Pere’s vision was to create a moment when literacy and reading could be brought to the front of people’s minds for a day – wherever they were in the world.

The IPA already had a strong relationship with UNESCO even then – so it was a natural step for Pere to seek their support. UNESCO had the international clout to make his idea a reality and mobilize governments around the world – which they did very efficiently in just 12 months.

And it’s no accident that they chose the 23rd of April. It was on this date in 1616 that a surprising number of literary figures from around the world either died – or were born. William Shakespeare and the Spanish writers Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, all died on the 23rd of April 1616.

And the French novelist Maurice Druon, Icelandic writer Haldor K Laxness, Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov, Catalonian writer Josep Pla and the Colombian writer and journalist Manuel Mejía Vallejo were all born on 23 April.

For more than two decades, the goals of World Book and Copyright Day have stayed the same: to encourage the world – and in particular young people – to discover the joy of reading, and to honour the contributions of those who have furthered our collective social and cultural progress through literature. But the story doesn’t end there.

UNESCO World Book Capital

A second IPA-led initiative – the UNESCO World Book Capital – was born out of the first, and is growing from strength to strength today. Once again it was the creative mind of Pere Vicens that in 2000 thought of granting the honour of World Book Capital to a city, to enable it to spotlight books and reading for a whole year.

Since the outset, the IPA has been on the nominating committee, which helps UNESCO to select the most deserving candidate. Madrid was the first UNESCO World Book Capital city, in 2001. This year it is Conakry, in Guinea, and in 2018 it will be Athens, in Greece.

These cities stage large-scale book fairs, public readings, celebrations and author talks, and huge numbers of children take part throughout the year. The legacy of World Book Capital city is a lasting understanding of the beauty of books and the pivotal importance of literacy and education.

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova once expressed the significance of World Book and Copyright Day by saying: "Books help weave humanity together as a single family, holding a past in common, a history and heritage, to craft a destiny that is shared, where all voices are heard in the great chorus of human aspiration."

It’s a sublime statement, and the message is clear: books are like glue, binding peoples together and immortalizing human commonalities.

Since it was founded in 1896, the International Publishers Association has been shaped by and committed to that principle.

On Chengdu…

Chengdu has a long and illustrious literary history, having produced some of China's most important writers, such as the ‘Hanfu’ masters Sima Xiangru and Yang Xiong; the poets Li Bai and Su Shi, and more recent writers, such as Guo Moruo and Ba Jin.

On China… It’s well documented that the very origins of printing lie here in China, with fragments of floral silk prints from almost 2000 years ago. This was adapted to paper – which was also a Chinese invention – with the earliest printed paper book dating from the 7th century Tang Dynasty.

Had printing not made its way around the world and evolved into a ‘General Purpose Technology’ – as fundamental to our evolution as the domestication of animals and the invention of the wheel – there could have been no knowledge economies, no science education and no financial credit systems.

But since those ancient times, Chinese publishing has boomed into a $10 billion concern – second only to the United States in terms of market value. In terms of new titles, China is the world leader: 470,000 in 2015, up from around 328,000 in 2010, compared to 338,000 in the US.

The importance of good quality textbooks in the formative years of a child cannot be ignored. Private publishers are putting their heart and soul into bringing the best textbooks, which are curated by the best of editors, digital content creators and developers. A recent news in media about making NCERT books mandatory for all classes in CBSE-affiliated schools, created quite an uproar. Here is more about the issue. A furore was created in the K-12 education publishing market after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) issued its Circular No: Acad-07/2017 dated 14/02/2017 to make NCERT books available to affiliated schools of CBSE for the academic session 2017-18. The circular stated that the textbooks will be printed and supplied by NCERT for all classes and affiliated schools can make their requests online at their official website The circular also stated that the link will be available for online indent till February 22, 2017.

The following day, few media companies carried articles which misinterpreted the circular and provided incorrect information about the usage of NCERT books in all CBSE schools. They said that CBSE has made it mandatory to use NCERT books for all classes. This created a lot of confusion amongst all stakeholders – publishers, teachers, students and their parents.

The fact…

The CBSE offered schools with an option to buy NCERT books online keeping in pace with the Digital India initiative and this is no way says that the books are mandatory for all classes. Few prominent publishers met the honourable Union Minister of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India Prakash Javadekar, who assured that Ministry of HRD or CBSE has no intention to make NCERT books mandatory in CBSE schools. He also acknowledged the role of private publishers and assured that no such decision would be taken without public consensus.

Schools and teachers: best judges for content

Moreover, schools and teachers are well equipped to decide what is best suited for the overall holistic development of the students of their respective schools. In this competitive environment where students are under pressure to constantly improve their output, there is a need to provide students with the best quality content in their formative years so that they are able to cope with the pressures of college life and achieve their aims thereafter. Also, college cut-off marks are soaring every year making it imperative that students are well-equipped to score as well as compete with fellow students from other boards.

Private publishers: quality is prime

The role played by private publishers cannot be ignored or underestimated. In addition to providing high quality books, private publishers also support teachers by way of workshops/trainings/teacher resource material/lesson plans/digital content/web support/question papers/worksheets, etc. Besides this, the publishing industry employs the best of editors, digital content creators and developers as a part of their endeavour and commitment to create international quality books at the lowest possible price. Textbook prices in India are amongst the lowest in the world, even lower than some developing nations. The large number of students in India and the volumes enable private publishers to provide textbooks at fairly low prices.

Quality comes at a price…

Government textbooks are subsidised on tax payers money and hence they would always be priced lower than textbooks published by private publishers, as the publishing industry in India per se does not get any special incentive or subsidy from the government even though it is committed towards providing high quality textbooks and contributing to the education of the future citizens of India. Textbooks published by private publishers are made available on time as per the demands and requirements of schools, teachers and students across the country through its wide network of stockists, distributors and retailers besides their own stock points. The publishing industry employs millions of professionals, directly and indirectly, who are striving hard to create and offer high quality content for the betterment of students and the country at large.

Spending money on buying quality books is an investment not only for the better future of the students, their families but also for the country. It is time to seriously consider the implications of depriving students of good quality books, thereby preventing them from competing with the best in the world.

Claudia Kaiser, vice president - Business Development, Frankfurt Book Fair, shares her views on the South East Asian publishing industry, in conversation with All About Book Publishing. “In countries like India, there is little bit of e-book selling, which will change in the long run, as technology, and therefore opportunites, develop further.”

South East Asia is an important market as it is an area of more than 600 million people. The books which are very popular here are Children’s books with illustrations, non-fiction, fiction, business & management, tells Claudia Kaiser, vice president - Business Development, Frankfurt Book Fair.

On readership…

“Reports show that children who use books to study, study better and have better results. At the same time, children who grow up with stories and are used to listening to stories are often more capable of dealing with difficulties in life,” tells Claudia.

“There are 10 different countries in South East Asia and the readership habits and literacy rate are different in every country. In countries like Laos and Combodia, the literacy rates are rather low whereas in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, the literacy rates are high. They have a lot of initiatives towards it. For example, Vietnam has a book street all year long, where the whole street has only bookshops, which are crowded till almost 10 in the night. They also have different literary events happening every year. Myanmar is also following suit and they are also planning a book street. They have a national book day, which is highly celebrated with lots of activities,” shares Claudia.

Talking more about the different initiatives taken by different countries to promote readership, Claudia shares, “In Indonesia, they promote 15 minutes reading every day before the school starts and this initiative is promoted by the ministry. They have mobile libraries or libraries on ship or boats which travel to different islands as there are 17,000 islands, some of the villages and population are hard to reach, so they have such an arrangement to reach them.”

Claudia further shares that the South-East Asia has a young population and the publishers buy a lot of copyrights. “At least 70% of the publishing market is translations from other countries. So, India forms a good opportunity to sell rights. Besides, Indian culture is very well known but books also need their space. So, I think there is a good potential for Indian publishers to sell their rights as well,” shares Claudia.

On education publishing…

“We have the government schools, which are often weak but there are lot of private schools as well. The upcoming middle class people want to send their children to the best schools. In some countries, home schooling is also popular. In such areas, there is a good potential for textbooks if they meet the quality standards,” tells Claudia.

On Storydrive Asia in Singapore…

The first Storydrive Asia was held in Singapore from November 10-11, 2016. “We wanted to create a meeting place for all of South East Asia, to meet with international players because book fairs in every country are very important and offer very good opportunity to meet publishers from that particular country. Singapore, obviously, is a best place to be as it is a hub and infrastructure is great there. It not only focuses on traditional publishing but also new media forms and creative industries. We want to focus not only on regional publishers but also new business opportunities for other people who own the content. What kind of opportunities are there now and which will be there in the future? We create this platform. The first Storydrive Asia attracted approximately 150 people every day. Story Drive Asia was a conference. We plan for a bigger event in the coming years. The two-day conference ran four parallel tracks. These focussed on traditional publishing- new normal (which gave new inputs to traditional publishing), cross media business, workshops and match making sessions. It was really interesting and the concepts were innovative, with interesting panel discussions, key notes and videos, etc,” shares Claudia.

South East Asia vs. other countries

Talking about the major differences between South East Asian market and rest of the world, Claudia shares that here we talk print but in Germany, the focus in development is on digital - but for now ebooks represent only 5% of the turnover with publications. “Then, in Germany, we have the Booksellers and Publishers Association which represents the interests of three industries: book selling, publishing and wholesaling. Whereas in India, we have 5 or 6 publishers association, the strongest being Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) and the Association of Publishers in India (API). There are so many regional languages in India and the publishing industry is so vibrant, which is not so in other South East Asian countries like Indonesia.”

On challenges…

Briefly talking about the challenges in the South East Asian market, Claudia enumerates piracy and dysfunctional distribution system.

GBO India

German Book Office (GBO) New Delhi, which began its operations in 2008, is a joint venture between the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. As such it has a dual mandate of promoting the activities of Frankfurt Book Fair in the South Asian region along with the cultural aspect of promoting the exchange of German and Indian (including neighbouring countries) literature between the two. They also promote the growth of the publishing industry worldwide, with conferences and workshops.

“We will continue to do what we are doing now. India has a bigger presence in Frankfurt Book Fair, not only in English but the whole international publishing community and we would love to see India’s presence in a consolidated manner rather than an individual presence. We have national stands of Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, America, UK, and France... so we look forward to India to come as a country as well,” she adds.

“Besides, we come up with approximately 89,000 titles every year in Germany. We translate from other languages, we have schemes for translation funding and we wish to create more opportunities for such translations in India,” she adds.

Trends in publishing industry…

“Internationally, I think there will be more consolidation in the market. In Germany, we had an issue with collecting societies, which used to return money equally to publishers and authors. Internet is a great winner, with online bookshops like Amazon, Tolino (part of Tolino was taken over by Kobo, the other part still remains in German hands), etc,” she shares. “In countries like India, there is little bit of e-book selling, which needs to change as this is the model of the future.”

Another important trend in India is that there is a good market for service providers in India. “But, there needs to be more visibility for the Indian products in a more upbeat manner in the international market,” she adds.

“Last but not the least, there are lot of opportunities in print and print is on the rise in India, which is a very encouraging factor,” concludes Claudia on a positive note.

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