Ramu Ramanathan says, Manipal's production of the tome is great news for Indian firms.
Thomas Abraham, the managing director of Hachette India says on the day J K Rowling's book was released, "We're delighted and proud to do the first high security print job in the country. Indeed it's great news for the local publishing and print industry and this is hopefully the first of many such books being done here."
Abraham adds, "My kudos to Manipal Technologies for delivering a faultless job on-time, on-quality and on-complete security."
Rowling has penned seven Harry Potter books. The Casual Vacancy is her first post-Potter novel, which was published by Hachette UK subsidiary Little, Brown and Company.
Shashi Ranjan (in the photograph), vice-president and SBU head of the commercial printing division at Manipal Technologies says, "As with the majority of the Potter books, details of The Casual Vacancy, have been closely guarded prior to its launch and there was an enormous amount of secrecy which was ensured on the production floor." This meant the warehousing was under 24/7 lock-and-key in order to ensure no access to the production floor; no cellphones and no casual visitors.
This secrecy was warranted when one considers that 2.6 million copies have been snapped up (globally) in pre-sales and many bookshops in UK opened at 8am on the morning of 27 September to try to take advantage of commuters eager to get their hands on the novel. As Ranjan states, "There can be little doubt that it will be one of the hottest sellers this year."
In fact, UK booksellers were predicting the title would be the best-selling fiction title of the year long before anyone had even read it; and on pre-sales alone it has already taken its place at the top of the weekly bestsellers list.
Manipal produced 80,000 copies of the book, which charts the events following the sudden death of a member of the parish council in the fictional town of Pagford, for the market in the Indian sub-continent. All the copies were delivered and despatched as per schedule.
Priya Singh, the production director of Hachette, in-charge of the printing operation says, "It was both a pleasure and a challenge to print the book locally ... given the constraints of secrecy and security. I'm delighted we (Manipal Technologies and us) managed to deliver a quality product." What makes this production sweeter is Singh's endorsement that the production of this book title has "put India on the map for this sort of high profile printing".
A visibly pleased (and relieved) Ranjan echoes this, sentiment when he says, "Delivering the first high-security book production in Asia for a prestigious publisher like Hachette is a dream come true for Manipal. The work was a challenge as it required our team to maintain utmost secrecy and fulfill stringent demands on quality and delivery timelines."
He adds, "It has been an extremely fulfilling experience working together with the Hachette team and Manipal is confident of taking many more such challenging assignments."
Gautham Pai, the managing director of Manipal Technologies sums it up, “Manipal has been the preferred partner to global publishers for high premium print solutions in India. We are privileged to partner Hachette in the first high security book printing in India. Indeed, Manipal is privileged to achieve the milestone of being the first printer in Asia to print a J K Rowling title."