“In India, digital publishing is growing at a rapid pace,” says Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, a publishing consultant


PublishingNext is a “a conclave of people, not just publishing professionals, who are keen on sharing ideas and exploring what is the future of publishing”Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, international publishing consultant, editorial professional and critic, has been associated with Indian publishing since the early 1990s. Her responsibilities have included guest-editing the special Children’s and YA Literature of The Book Review, and producing the first comprehensive report on the Indian Book Market for the Publisher’s Association, UK. Her articles on publishing, interviews and book reviews have also appeared in Frontline, The Book Review, DNA, Outlook, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Folklife, LOGOS, Business World, The Hoot, Asian Age and Muse India. She is also Literary Director, Siyahi.

Jaya is leading a discussion on digital books in PublishingNext, a conference that aims to explore the future of Indian publishing. Organized by CinnamonTeal Publishing, a self-publishing company, the conclave brings together experts from various domains to explore, brainstorm, discuss and understand what future holds for publishing. CinnamonTeal was founded by Leonard Fernandes in 2006 and he won the British Council Young Creative Entreprneneur Award for publishing in 2010.

See home page of PublishingNext website for registrations.

Jaya speaks to Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist, on the Indian publishing scene.

YourStory: Digital books – India’s consumption of digital books hasn’t yet been a worry for publishers. Print is still strong. Your views on this.

Jaya: In India, digital publishing is growing at a rapid pace, but don't forget that to access e-books, requires a certain amount of infrastructure and investment. It is not possible for most. In a country, where even today, children who wish to read, still clutch a Rs 2 note desperately in the hope of being able to afford a Rs 10 book. So, e-books and print books will survive together. It will never be at the cost of one. In fact, this will hold true for even mature markets.

YourStory: The Indian publishing scene in your perspective. What drives consumption and with a huge Indian market, where are we headed?

Jaya: It is impossible to say what drives consumption. Today, far too many "verticals" exist in fiction and non-fiction being published in India. It is very difficult to say what propels one above the other. Robust sales are noticeable across genres. But possible factors could be book reviews, social media spaces (Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, online discussions, forums, blogs, reading rooms etc), book launches and the aspiration to write and read something that one can identify with easily.

YourStory: Your take on Indian fiction coming of age. Some of the best authors getting international recognition. What are the reasons?

Jaya: Advaita Kala, Anuradha Roy, Sarnath Bannerjee. Reasons are plenty. India is a growing market and there is also a growing interest in fiction from India. Once again, social media spaces are contributing tremendously to the spurt of interest in these lists.

YourStory: Traditional publishing houses vs. self-publishing. Your views on the trends.

Jaya: There has been a shift in this perception. Self-publishing or vanity publishing as it has also been termed is no longer viewed as the poor country cousin. Given the explosion in the number of authors, limited lists and publishing houses where people can publish, there is bound ot be a growth in self-publishing. In any case, the latter is showing a 100% y-o-y growth, quite unlike traditional publishers.

YourStory: Indian Book Market – Who takes the honours?

Jaya: In terms of unit sales, paperbacks.

YourStory: Your perspective on PublishingNext and why should one attend the event.

Jaya: It promises to be a conclave of people, not just publishing professionals, who are keen on sharing ideas and exploring what is the future of publishing. It is undergoing a tremendous churn at the moment in India and internationally that it is impossible to asses what will happen even at the end of the year. So it is important for like-minded people to come together and share their experiences, informed thoughts and have a constructive engagement about the future. Who knwos what will emerge from this forum, but my gut tells me that this conference is the first of many such exciting events to be organised by Cinnamon Teal. It is already on the radar of chambers of commerce like FICCI, British Council etc.

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