John Makinson | “Readers don’t want content to change very much”
On the conservatism of the readership in the digital medium, the need for publishers to support bookshops and how running a small bookshop helped him understand the book industry
Jaipur: John Makinson, the chairman of the recently merged Penguin Random House, is arguably one of the most important persons in the global publishing industry at the moment. The group owns 450 imprints across the world, which collectively publish about 15,000 books in a year. Makinson is chairman of the company at a time when the industry faces great challenges from the digital medium. He’s not worried though. Book readers are still conservative, he feels, and do not want content to change very much. At a time when there is a buzz about publishing content for the mobile phone, he is also very clear that India, as a market, is that ready for it yet. He, however, does believe that publishing houses need to maximize the use of the social media in order to reach out to new audiences. Last evening in Jaipur, at the Penguin Random House JLF party at Rambagh Palace, the publishing house announced that it had partnered with Twitter India to introduce their Twitter Books vertical in the country, that is, becoming the first publishing house in the region to be verified by Twitter on their @penguinbooksindia handle. A Penguin Random House release stated, “Through the Twitter Books vertical, Penguin Random House will work closely with its writers to maximise the opportunities the platform presents, both in terms of written content and video through Vine and Periscope, to engage in even more real-time conversations with readers, and potential readers."