Resilience is the way forward


India’s print book market showed mix reactions in 2020. “Nielsen BookScan has measured volume sales of 29.7m units and value sales of INR 10.2bn in TCM (incl. academic market) during CY2020,” shared Vikrant Mathur, Director, Nielsen Book Research, India.

The K-12 publishing in India was majorly hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In this issue, Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, MBD Group points out the current challenges being flow of money, revenue generation, an increase in raw material prices, stock management and high return percentage. “The challenge in predicting production is due to erratic demand patterns, publishers will have huge stocks till March 2022 and a full normalcy in terms of finance and market demand is expected only by 2022,” she says.

The importance of promoting reading and ensuring books as a part of children’s daily life is highlighted by Anantha Padmanabhan, Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Publishers India, who suggests National Book Day to be made and celebrated, a focus on well stocked and inclusive libraries and the need to open more bookstores. He further adds that we have a vibrant demand and a growing readership and we also have an opportunity to create the largest market in the world by readership. “Due to the pandemic the industry has witnessed 95% shopping online and a growth in e-Books and audiobooks,” he told us.

For discoverability of new titles, bookstores are the ultimate place, emphasises Gaurav Sabharwal, Managing Director of Prakash Books India. Sharing details on sales online, he shared that 89% was from the backlist while 11% was from the frontlist while for offline sales, 65% was from the backlist and 35% was from the frontlist. Bookstores are engines of recommendation and publishers and distributors need to help them survive. “The govt too needs to safeguard the interests of bookstores by having proper policies and subsidies,” he suggests.
Amar Chitra Katha was able to take digital stride towards global audience, tells Preeti Vyas, Chief Executive Officer. Amar Chitra Katha is a cultural phenomenon, boasting of more than 400 comics in 20+ languages that have sold over 100 million copies to date. “We have expanded our base beyond the realms of print, with a robust library of digital content as well, over the years, including multiple TV shows, web series, podcasts, mobile apps, Alexa skills and movies,” adds Preeti.

The New Delhi World Book Fair is here, with 160+ stalls of exhibitors from 15+ countries. Over 25 events, including literary, international and children’s events are planned for the same. The theme this year is National Education Policy 2020.

With so much happening in the industry, we look forward to a better and brighter future!
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