One-crore books per month

In last few years, Hyderabad and its neighbouring towns have seen a steep increase in textbook printing factories serving various state governments, including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, and so on., Business

17 May 2016 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

The availability of web presses, cheap labour and electricity, coupled with quality work, transparency in operations and more importantly, the printer’s tendency to meet deadlines, is what attracts business to the state.
The installation numbers are staggering. According to PrintWeek India survey, there are around 52 web offset presses in Telangana, majority of them in Hyderabad. The top educational publishers in Hyderabad are Arkbird Publications, Asia Book House, Bandla Publications, and Dachepalli Publishers.
Bandla Publications, which is a leading publisher of competition books, has recently installed two six clamp perfect binder and two three knife trimmers from Welbound. Ark Bird Publication, one of the major players on book printing segment of Andhra Pradesh, has installed six six-clamp, one three-knife trimmer and one Pickwel folding machine.
The Andhra Pradesh towns like Vijaywada, Guntur and Tenali together house more than 40 web presses catering to book printing work. The top educational publishers in Andhra Pradesh include Vikram Publishers, VGS Publishers, Deepti Publications, Shirdi Book Depot, and Sri Raghavendra Publishers among others. In the last one year, the bookbinding specialist Welbound Worldwide has installed 12 six-clamp and seven single-clamp perfect binding machines, and eight three-knife trimmers.
The Telangana Textbook Press, which employs more than 700 employees, has upgraded its facilities with three four-colour web offset presses and a four-colour sheetfed press, plus two six-clamp perfect binders and one three-knife trimmer from Welbound. With this, the government press can produce 1,000 tonnes of textbooks, which is around 8.5 lakh books depending on the number of pages, per month.
With all these installations, both the states put together produce around one-crore books per month.
Textbook printing is a seasonal tender-based business. Each order ranges from 60 tonnes to 300 tonnes of paper conversion. On an average, every book print firm manages to bag five orders every year. Besides this, there is work from private publications.
The potential is huge. Approximately, 12,000 tonnes worth of tenders are floated for textbooks up to Class XII. Plus, another 4,000 tonnes for adult education.
The reasons for this are many. One of the factors driving the publishing industry is that various state governments are shifting from mono-colour textbooks to multi-colour, contributing to the growth. The change in syllabus of some of the state governments also adds to the business.
It’s not an easy business though. In the current season, the volumes have taken a toll, complain every book printer that PrintWeek India met, as few state governments have decided to retain as high as 30% of textbook printing within the state. What ails a book printer more is that in order to be eligible for the tender the EMD (earnest money deposit) is as high as Rs 15-lakh and the print order that lands in ones bucket may be worth less than Rs 5-lakh. It also becomes extremely difficult when the tenders demand delivering the books at multiple locations. The local printer can quote a price at which it becomes impossible for someone from the other state to print and deliver the books.