–Fully committed to meet the current and future challenges to publishing industry
Emma House, the newly promoted deputy chief executive of Publishers Association, shares more about how the Publishers Association (PA) is working towards the betterment of the industry and what would be her new role at the Association. Emma House has been promoted as the new deputy chief executive of the Publishers Association (PA), after working at the PA for more than eight years as director of publisher relations. During this time, she has run the PA boards across all areas of the publishing industry, liaised with external partners and suppliers and overseen industry related projects and campaigns. In her role she has been instrumental in running pilots for remote ebook lending in public libraries, setting guidelines for educational publishers’ resources and leading on the PA's overseas anti-piracy campaigns. Here, Emma shares more about her new role, in conversation with All About Book Publishing. Excerpts.

Emma House, deputy chief executive, Publishers AssociationAABP: Congratulations on your promotion and levitra prescriptions online please share your new responsibilities?

Emma: I’ll continue to run the Pas boards for International, Consumer, Academic and Educational Publishing and oversee our campaigns work, including our international anti-piracy campaigns. In addition, I’ll be overseeing our work helping UK publishers exhibit at major overseas book fairs and playing a bigger role in the work we do with the UK government. Internally, I’ll be focused on the strategic direction of the Publishers Association, ensuring we deliver value for money for our members and are fit for purpose to meet the current and future challenges to our industry.

AABP: What are the top three challenges of the industry worldwide?

Emma: In my opinion, the major threats are weakening of copyright law and enforcement, a clamp down on freedom to publish and building the readers of the future. All of these are very real challenges we face now and low price cialis could get worse if we don’t unite to tackle these challenges. We are working hard in the UK to ensure there is a fair and open market (in terms of copyright and freedom to publish) and to grow our readership (through literacy campaigns and programmes, specially emphasising the importance of reading for pleasure). We are in a more comfortable place than many countries however and we should do what we can to unite and support each other.

AABP: How is the Publishers Association working towards the betterment of publishing industry?

Emma: We work in a number of ways to support the publishing industry – the main thing we must do is to explain to policy makers why publishing matters – what we contribute to the economy and to society, and why we need a suitable market environment in which to operate. We work hard to explain to all of our stakeholders what publishing brings in terms of educating the nation, building the workforce of the future, furthering scientific research, and providing a rich cultural society as well as our lobbying and professional viagra online stakeholder engagement work on the wider role of publishing (we run a number of campaigns and initiatives). Our initiatives focus on helping publishers do more business, be it through export and securing government grants for SMEs to get on the export ladder, to trade missions to social media campaigns such as our recent #loveaudio campaign to promote audio books. We have a big focus right now on building a more inclusive publishing industry, working towards having a workforce and content output that better reflects UK demographics. A final big initiative we have is to develop a new apprenticeship programme for the industry, giving opportunities to people who choose not to go to university and to join the industry as a school leaver. We must widen our talent pool as an industry to continue to innovate and engage our readers.

AABP: What were the major achievements of Publishers Association last year?

Emma: We successfully launched new guidelines for what quality looks like in school textbooks as well as launched our new Textbook Challenge campaign calling for schools to recognise the importance of published materials to and invest in textbooks for pupils. We worked with our BC and LBF colleagues to see the UK hosted as Guest of Honour at the Moscow Non Fiction Book Fair. We also hosted the IPA Congress in London and we published a new manifesto around what the UK publishing industry would like to see from the UK post-Brexit.

AABP: Tell us something about Publishers Association's relations with India?

Emma: We have enjoyed a long standing and more fruitful relationship with India both supporting our members who have business interests with India, either setting up an office, buying and selling rights or exporting to India, as well as working with the local trade associations in areas of mutual interest. The PA and FIP (Federation of Indian Publishers) are both members of the International Publishers Association and we are close in our views around copyright protection and freedom to publish. We work closely with the British Council and The London Book Fair to further mutual co-operation and interests and especially look forward to supporting the FIP on the IPA Congress next year.

AABP: Moving forward, what would be your targets and focus areas this year?

Emma: We have some major work to do around Brexit, working with both our members and government. The UK itself has a major policy focus on what it is calling an ‘Industrial Strategy’ and we are keen to ensure that publishing is fully represented in any policy and investment that the government makes. We are working with stakeholders to continue to deliver the Open Access agenda for government funded research and working closely with our European colleagues on the Digital Single Market initiative. On the campaigns front, we continue with our inclusivity agenda and we look forward to our 3rd annual social media push #workinpublishing to encourage people from all walks of life to consider publishing as a career. Above all, we are focused on delivering Insight, Influence and Service to our members to ensure they are getting value for money and delivering on the core objectives they expect from us.

There is a niche market for Punjabi literature, which has also been grappling with changing times. Here, Harish Jain of Unistar Books Pvt Ltd shares his views on the current market trends and more. Having been born and brought up in Punjab it was natural for me to choose Punjabi as the language for my publishing venture. But even at that time, literary scene in Punjab was not in much great shape. With the partition of the country, Punjab ceased to be culturally significant. All the great names of literature either shifted to Delhi and Mumbai or remained in Pakistan. Punjab which was producing literature in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, English and many other Indian languages like Braj etc. and produced so many stalwarts which for decades shone like stars on the Indian literary scene overnight turned into a mono language state with no great name to bolster its publishing industry’s floundering fortunes. For a good time, publishing of literature was almost negligible. Though, having a very rich legacy, it took decades to build it again, but it could never attain its earlier heights. Now Punjab cannot boast of much scholarship in any other language. I came somewhere in between and could contribute whatever I was worth. However, we publish a good number of titles in English and Hindi every year but our niche remains Punjabi.

On market trends…

Present trends are scary. Market is shrinking very fast, though, not so much in terms of value but certainly in terms of numbers. Again numbers also have a wider significance. We are losing on saleable authors and their number is dwindling fast with hardly new accretion. It does not stop there. Every good saleable author is losing on his/her saleable titles. If three years back an author was good on say 10 titles, now he/she is hardly looking at three or four titles. That hits the back titles list which otherwise happens to be the life line. It also results in piling up of the inventory due to the sluggish movement, and so in effect a double whammy on the revenue. What is even more disturbing is increasing interest in nostalgia. Writings looking towards future or present are short circuited by nostalgic outpourings imaging the past as a trophy which needs to be wooed, adored, won and then held at all costs. This is almost true for all creative work which is pathetic and highly regressive. This is happening not only with fiction but also with the poetry which in Punjabi used to be very robust and powerful, not here and there but staring straight in your eye. But it is not so anymore; no challenge, just drowsing in the beguiling warmth and fading glow of the setting sun. There are so many opportunities for the new but there seems none to bite the bullet. This, more or less sums up the situation that we are surviving more or less on the past successes than on any current laurels. But past cannot carry you long.

On declining readership…

Our writing does not match the aspirations and needs of our readers. There is no chasing to capture the reader’s mind but a mad race to win awards and seats in organisations. You are not publishing for any reader but for that illusive jury who can place a piece of metal in your hand. It is not easy to wean away the potential talent from this intoxicating brew.

Other challenges…

But effort should not cease and we do not let our hope fade. Rising costs of the materials, manpower, space and logistics are sapping. Falling volumes, squeezing market and waning prospects exacerbate it to the agonizing levels. Punjabi being a very small and niche market, pinch is as much severe. Publishing is nothing if not a business of dreams and hope. So with every new manuscript you ride on a brand new wave.

Geographical reach…

Consumption of Punjabi literature is more and more in non-urban and semi-urban areas. Urban elite, which has the spending power and which has the capacity to be the leaders, have ceased reading Punjabi long back. After creation of the state in the name of the Punjabi language in 1966 and with imposition of Punjabi as a compulsory language up to undergraduate level, there should have been a tremendous increase in the Punjabi reader. Only gain has been that of employment opportunities in teaching Punjabi language and increase in the circulation of Punjabi newspapers but that also happened in the same non-urban and semi-urban areas; urban areas, on the other hand, saw a growth in English and Hindi newspapers. So, the increase in Punjabi literacy never progressed much to book reading culture. That is our bane. Our growth, whenever it happens, has always been dependent upon sporadic movements which wane with the eclipse of the respective movement, which leaves the Punjabi publishing with an uncertain and shaky base.

Our overseas readers are mainly first generation migrants but few in numbers and do not make any worthwhile market. Though teaching of Punjabi is being carried out in North America and Europe at a number of places including schools and universities but this also is not capable to create any market for Punjabi books except the teaching learning material. We have tried to develop the market but without much success.

Sale channels…

We are present online and selling through all the major ecommerce sites but the volume is very low and normally does not justify the manpower costs involved. We are there as it is important and necessary to be there but not for much commercial reason. Same goes for digital adoption. We have gone through a number of experiments and almost all the delivery modes and models but nothing seems to have worked out. Our partnering with aggregators and digital distributors has not resulted in any business except paper work and loss of man hours in arranging and supplying data.

On print vs ebooks….

Presently it is important to maintain the current levels, and if that happens new opportunities to grow will certainly emerge. In the long term it will be beneficial for the print publisher to remain in print as only the print would remain constant and all other technological forms and formats would go through rapid changes with very short shelf lives and quickly sliding towards oblivion. Printed book will remain but it would lose volumes and thus the present scale of business, necessitating shift to some new models which would emerge in due course.

On print runs…

Print run varies between 300 and 2000. But the number of titles attracting print run of more than 500 or going into reprint especially from the new titles are becoming scarce.

On translations…

Translations from Punjabi have not attracted much attention like that of from other Indian languages even where translated by celebrated names and published by the main English publishers. We have also published a number of translations but not of much consequence. However, we are regularly translating English titles into Punjabi very successfully. So, instead of selling we are acquiring translation rights nationally and internationally.

One of the leading research, educational and 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 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.