Martin Jack of IPR License
Surender Pathak: Pulp fiction is a misnomer
Delivering his keynote address on the future of Indian pulp fiction, popular writer Surender Mohan Pathak (he chose to speak in Hindi, being a Hindi writer) highlighted that today the word pulp fiction is a misnomer, as the pulp paper used to print those racy popular stories are no longer manufactured. As publishers shifted from pulp to white paper, Pathak said, it marked the end of pulp writing in Hindi. Those pulp paperbacks were popular because they were cheap. Pathak went down the memory lane to remember the heydays of Hindi pulp, when authors like Gulshan Nanda could make a living out of writing books. When his novel Jheel Ke Us Paar came out in 1973, his publisher released a full page advertisement in a newspaper saying that five lakh copies of the book will be printed. Ruing that those days are gone, Pathak singled out Chetan Bhagat as the Gulshan Nanda of English popular writing. Bhagat today commands 25 lakh copies in first edition. Pathak chose to blame the publishers for the decline of Hindi pulp saying that publishers are unwilling to publish untested authors and as a result, no new writing is coming out in Hindi. At one point, New Delhi and Meerut were filled with publishers of Hindi pulp. Now, New Delhi has one and Meerut has just three publishers. He also pointed a finger at mainstream English language publishers saying that though all of them have Hindi lists, they publish just a handful of Hindi books compared to their English counterparts.
‘Economy and knowledge should go hand-in-hand’
PubliCon 2017, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci) on 1 December 2017, focused on enabling the publishing sector by facilitating effective dialogue and debate over policy issues, addressing the copyright issues, strategies for content monetisation through various platforms, presenting possible international business tie ups and emerging marketing trends.
In his keynote address, Baldeo Bhai Sharma, chairman, NBT, India, said the knowledge economy is beneficial for developmental and societal change at large, as it will change the mindset of people.
Ratnesh Jha, co-chair, Ficci Publishing Committee and managing director, Cambridge University Press, briefed the audience about the progress made by the Ficci publishing committee in terms of its contribution in creation of the knowledge economy. He stressed on the copyright playing an important role in knowledge economy. He expressed his concerns towards an impact of changed tax regime after implementation of GST on the publishing value chain. He also highlighted the value created by the books of private publishers. He urged all the stakeholders to come forward and create value for publishing industry and society by using FICCI platform.
Urvashi Butalia, chair, Ficci Publishing Committee and founder, Zubaan, welcomed the delegates and lauded the Ficci initiative to felicitate best literary work on various categories through Ficci PubliCon Awards.
Lessons in safeguarding and commercialisation of content
The 4th edition of Publishers Training Programme for Young Professionals, organised by German Book Office (GBO), New Delhi, was held on 1 and 2 December 2017 at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi. This edition was all about safeguarding and commercialisation of content. It was two days of intensive learning and hands-on training where the participants were encouraged to rethink their backlist and contracts from an IP perspective.
All participants were sent reading material to familiarise themselves with the topics to be covered during the course of the programme, along with a list of questions that they could ponder over in relation to their own content and business.
On the first day, Prashasti Rastogi, director, GBO, welcomed the classroom of 29 participants with a diverse mix of young and senior publishing professionals, authors and management students.
The constitution of participants and the execution of the training was one of the highlights of the workshop on the second day. The participants were divided into six groups: each group consisted of three publishing professionals, one author and one business manager. In the role of business managers were management students from the Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi.
Carolin Ulrich with the participants during the Publishers Training Programme for Young Professionals organised by GBO, New Delhi
The day began with a brief recap from the three experts, following which the task was explained in detail to the participants. Each group had to choose one product from their backlist and build a business pitch for it. They were asked to focus on product transformation potential, rights and licensing parameters, capital and human resource, product pricing, target audience and marketing strategy. The groups worked for four hours to create their pitches with inputs and guidance from the experts. For the final stage of the programme, the groups presented their pitches, addressed questions and received feedback from other groups and the experts.