Exclusive chat with Leonard Fernandes, founder of CinnamonTeal Publishing, organizer the conference in Goa on September 16 and 17Leonard Fernandes cofounded CinnamonTeal Publishing with his wife Queenie. CinnamonTeal won the British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur Award for publishing in 2010. Read his interview here.
On September 16 and 17, CinnamonTeal is hosting PublishingNext, a conference that will debate what future holds for publishing given rapid changes taking place in technology and the way books are published, read or delivered. New business models might emerge that are entirely different from the traditional publishing models in use today. Read agenda here. The discussions include digital books, social media’s impact on publishing, copyright issues, translation in publishing, publishing houses of the future, in addition to some workshops including the one on academic writing.
Leonard Fernandes, founder of CinnamonTeal Publishing, explains to YourStory’s chief evangelist what PublishingNext is all about. For registrations, see home page of PublishingNext website.
YourStory: Thank you Leonard for talking to YourStory on PublishingNext. For our readers to get an idea of what you do, can you please give a brief introduction about CinnamonTeal Publishing.
Leonard: We started CinnamonTeal in 2007 after heeding requests to publish the books of some of our regulars on dogearsetc.com, our online bookstore. Since India had already so many publishers, we wanted to develop a new model of publishing and so adopted that of being a provider of self-publishing services. Today, 4 years later, we have catered to authors in about 18 countries and have published books in 9 languages. We have also increased our repertoire of services to include translations, indexing, ebook development and distribution and audio books.
YourStory: PublishingNext is perhaps the first Indian conference on what publishing is and is going to be, especially with Internet and digital media set to change the rules of the game. Can you explain the objectives of the conference?
Leonard: Our objective was to get people thinking about what the future holds for publishing rather than get lost in the day to day routine of publishing and mind little about the dangers and potential the next wave of technology and business models bring about. We also wanted to provide a platform where new ideas and technologies could be talked about and debated.
YourStory: Let’s now talk about specific segments: digital books. Can you give us an idea about their uptake in India at present?
Leonard: My personal opinion is that many publishers are experimenting with new ideas that involve digital content, among them Penguin, Panther Books and Tulika Publishers, Chennai, to name a few. However, I feel that these publishers are preparing themselves for any future demand rather than experiencing any significant returns on investment presently.
YourStory: Social media -- your take on its impact on publishing.
Leonard: This varies widely between publishers. Some like Tulika (Chennai), Tara Books and Pratham Books are doing a really good job with it, others have a difficult time understanding what it is capable of doing for them. So there still remains a lot of ground to be covered.
YourStory: India is a diverse market as far as vernacular publishing or regional publishing is concerned. How is this market going to explode in the future in the digital era.
Leonard: I think the constraints that keep publishers of Indian language books from embracing digital content is technical – an absence of fonts that can be rendered on devices and devices themselves that do not or cannot display Indic fonts. There might also be financial constraints in that readers might not be able to afford eReaders but that is pure conjecture and I have no evidence to support that.
YourStory: Copyright issues and proliferation of books on the pavement. Or is it more to it?
Leonard: It is more than just books on the pavement. I am not sure publishers are too bothered about it because it only goes to show that the book is popular enough to be pirated. Like imitation is the best form of flattery. But there is more to this topic like parallel import, the concept of territorial sales, the use of open access knowledge itself. Still very fuzzy to many and needs clarity.
YourStory: Your thoughts on the recent trends in publishing.
Leonard: There is so much going on. And each move seems like a small step in countering each issue. Like Penguin which has moved into retail to counter the problem of inefficient supply chain mechanisms. Worldwide too there is a lot happening that will ultimately affect India. Like the issue of agency pricing.
YourStory: Who are your partners for the conference?
Leonard: British Council has helped us a lot in its capacity as Knowledge Partner and has ensured that this conference has assumed an international nature in its very first edition. The International Centre Goa has been an accommodating host in more ways than one and Print Week and Business Goa have both given us significant press coverage. Yourstory.in was the first to partner with us and break the news of the conference.
YourStory: What is going to be the takeaway for participants?
Leonard: I think participants will go back a lot less nonchalant about the future than they are. That said, they will also see a lot of opportunity to expand both boundaries and businesses.
YourStory: A bit about Goa.
Leonard: Where do I start? [Leonard is a native of Goa and very attached to the place.]
Thank you Leonard for taking off your time for this conversation. YourStory will bring more updates on the conference in the coming days and also coverage of the conference and YourStory.in is the online media partner for the conference.