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India's Publishing Boom

We’ve all read about India’s expanding economy and its bright prospects for the future. But what are the implications of this rapid development for English-language writers and publishers, and for lovers of Indian fiction?

Here are some excerpts from a post by Tom Chalmers, managing director of IPR License. This appeared in the Publishers’ Weekly immediately before the New Delhi World Book Fair, held in mid-February this year.

“Already reported to be the third largest market for English language books after the U.S. and U.K., India’s continued economic rise is widely expected to propel it past Britain into second place in the not-too-distant future, and potentially even into first somewhere down the line.

This is underlined by the fact that while sales in some of the mature markets continue to stagnate, according to Nielsen BookScan data, the Indian publishing sector is said to have grown 41% since 2011, with 18 million copies sold in English, and other local languages, in the last year.

Interestingly in India, the ebook market can be considered to be several years behind the US and UK, but rights and licensing are core aspects of most Indian publishers’ business plans. In addition to this, the self-publishing market is just starting to take hold in the country.

The emergence of online retailers such as Amazon and local rival Flipkart is also a major factor behind India’s publishing boom. Unlike in many traditional territories, these invasions of the book trade appear not to be viewed with reticence. In part this may be due to a lack of physical book shops, providing fewer obstacles to market for Internet retailers.

This sustained growth can also be partly attributed to the emergence of more event-based book and author promotions, alongside a spurt in the number of national and regional literary festivals, such as the New Delhi Book Fair. The rich tradition of this particular fair has long played a pioneering role in highlighting the diverse and multilingual profile of the country, not to mention the strength of its publishing industry while also emphasizing the emergence of a new literary landscape.”

Flipkart is an e-commerce company, established in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. So far it operates exclusively in India. Nielsen BookScan collects statistics on book sales from point-of-sale data provided by the major book sellers.

Tom Chalmers’ full post is available is available at the publishers weekly website.

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