The Indian publishing industry is being seen as the next frontier for outsourcing. But there is much more to it. Many American and European publishers are looking to India for selling their titles which are being printed, priced, packaged and marketed locally.
For example, Simon & Schuster has been selling to India for many years but they are now looking at titles that are printed locally, and priced, packaged and marketed specifically for the Indian marketplace.
“India is one of the fastest growing English language markets and a world-class economic dynamo with a highly literate populace. It shows the relevance of India,” said Jack Romanos, president & CEO of Simon & Schuster. “Suddenly, the rest of the publishing world has discovered India and having a shiny new Indian operation has become the latest corporate requirement,” said Stephan Barr, managing director of Sage London. With Indian authors winning the Booker and Nobel prizes, Indian publishing is looked upon with respect. For foreign publishers, India has dual potential — outsourcing as well as good market for their product, according to Romanos.
All the publishers that are outsourcing to India are also selling to India too, so it is a two-way exchange. Technology outsourcing is also gathering pace with companies such as Simon & Schuster outsourcing their technology support office to India.
For its Indian publishing programme, Simon & Schuster will select a number of titles from its US and UK operations to publish in English, the Indian editions.
“The Indian publishing scene is nicely poised and has great potential, just the way the Indian economy and other Indian businesses are doing. In publishing, India is way ahead of China because of its huge English-speaking population (29% of India’s population speaks English, that’s 350 million people) as compared with China where English is still a second language,” said Romanos.
The Indian publishing industry is definitely growing, both in terms of the number of titles being published each year and readership. With more retail space opening up, it is possible for publishers to reach more readers now than before, according to Renuka Chatterjee, chief editor, Roli Books.
She said the foreign publishers were interested in India mainly because they see a growing market in the country for selling their books .
Lokesh Thani of Sports Publications said: “Low cost of paper, printing, and other material are the major reason why these people are looking at India. Also, the market is very huge. They are looking at selling their titles, be it educational books or technology.”
Also, by setting up a base here, they can cover the whole of Asia, noted Thani, adding, “exports of books and other publishing material from India are very huge”.