Book Special - All about books and publishers
In this 116-page Book Special, we have put together interviews with publishers, who despite a raft of gnawing troubles, are coping with major changes that are sweeping the publishing landscape. The viewpoints and profiles in this publication give context to the present, and lend vision for the future.
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08 Nov 2013 | By PrintWeek India
M A Sikandar has been the director of National Book Trust, India (NBT) since August 2011. Before taking charge as director, he was an academic administrator with the University of Delhi, serving in various capacities for about 11 years. Sikandar is also the fair director of the New Delhi World Book Fair.
Urvashi Butalia, publisher of Zubaan Books: “The thing about India is that it is one of the few markets in the world that is not yet saturated and that has a very low per capita book consumption”.
Prabhat Kumar Ghosh, founder and proprietor of Eastend Press
Ramdas Bhatkal, managing director of Popular Prakashan
Motilal Banarsidass (MLBD) is recognised as one of India’s oldest publishing houses, which specialises in books on philosophy, religion and culture. RP Jain celebrates 110 years of Motilal Banarsidass.
Jitendra Desai at Navajivan Press in Ahmedabad popularised Gandhi’s literature through 52 years of his professional career as a publisher. Desai passed away on 21 March 2011.
Gautam Padmanabhan is the CEO of Westland, a subsidiary of Trent, a Tata Enterprise. He has more than 25 years’ experience in all aspects of the business of books. He is at the helm of one of the fastest growing trade publishing companies in India.
With the formal merger of Penguin and Random House on 1 July 2013, Gaurav Shrinagesh has been named the head of India operations of the newly formed entity. This interview was conducted a few months before the Penguin–Random House merger.
Naveen Kishore is the founder and managing director of Seagull Books in Kolkata. With Seagull’s German List book series, Kishore altered prevailing circumstances for the reception of German-language literature in the English language not only in India, but worldwide.
PM Sukumar is CEO, HarperCollins India. He is an MBA from IIM Calcutta and has over 12 years’ experience in the publishing industry. He headed Penguin India’s sales, marketing and distribution functions from 1999 to 2005. He is also president of the Association Publishers of India.
Thomas Abraham is managing director, Hachette India. In end 2007, Abraham moved on to start-up Hachette India. Abraham also headed the industry association’s copyright amendment committee and was at the forefront of shaping the publishing aspects of the 2012 Copyright Act.
Ravi Deecee is managing partner and CEO of DC Books since 1991, and the leading book publisher in Malayalam. He is also managing director of Current Books – a bookshop chain with 48 retail outlets. Deecee is also the former vice president (south) of the Federation of Indian Publishers.
Rajdeep Mukherjee is senior vice president, head of Pan Macmillan India. He was earlier the sales and marketing director for Harvard Business Publishing in India, and had set up the books division for the company. Prior to this, Mukherjee was Pan Macmillan’s sales
and marketing manager for the Indian subcontinent for 11 years.
Andrew Phillips was president, Penguin International, comprising Penguin Books India where he was CEO and president, the Penguin business in Africa and the Middle East, and DK India. He was based in Delhi from mid-2010 to early 2013. Phillips had previously been deputy CEO for DK Worldwide since 2003, responsible for global sales and marketing, and digital. He began his career at McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, where he was responsible for the educational publishing business in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Manish Singh is country manager of Harlequin India, and has played a key role in setting up operations of the company in India. He has focused on setting up and developing profit centres like the Book Club and e-commerce channels.
Narendra Verma is chairman, Diamond Books. He has been a publisher for 45 years, and under his direction, the Diamond Group of Publications has grown to be one of the largest publishing houses in the country.
SR Sundaram (Kannan) is publisher of Kalachuvadu Publications. He is also publisher and chief editor of Kalachuvadu magazine, a well-known cultural and political Tamil periodical published from Nagercoil. As a publisher and editor, his work is focused on developing modern literary writing in Tamil, and also the revival of ancient and modern classics. Kannan has received fellowships from the Frankfurt Book Fair, French Book Office and NORLA (Norway).
Rajiv Beri is the managing director of Bloomsbury Publishing India since March 2012, prior to which he was managing director of Macmillan India from 1995–2011, head of Palgrave in India from 1990–94, publishing director of Macmillan India from 1987-1994 and publishing chief of Tata McGraw-Hill India from 1976–1987. He has extensive knowledge and expertise in the educational, higher academic and trade books markets.
Rahul Srivastava is managing director of Simon & Schuster India. He is about to complete 20 years in the Indian book publishing industry. Having set up S&S India in New Delhi, he has been involved in its every process and operations. An industry veteran, he also has the experience of having started his own venture – Rave Media. With his stints at the leading publishing houses in India, including India Book House, Random House and Penguin Books India, Srivastava is an industry expert on business strategy.
Vijay Sampath is CEO at ACK Media. He has 24 years of achievement across the fields of media, consumer products, franchising and entrepreneurship. With key assignments at Blow Plast, Zee Network, Bennett Coleman and The Alia Group, Sampath has worked with leading brands, created and led innovative business units, spearheaded corporate strategy, and has also been an entrepreneur. Sampath is an alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur.
Neeraj Jain is managing director of Scholastic India. He has been in the publishing and education industry for 11 years. Prior to this, he has worked with a media and direct-marketing company. Starting with Scholastic in the finance domain, he has gradually moved on to the role of heading the India operations. He has a degree in Chartered Accountancy from Institute of Chartered Accountancy in India, and CMA and CFM degrees from Institute of Management Accountants.
Vivek Mehra is managing director and CEO of Sage Publications India. He joined Sage India as deputy managing director in February 2005, and became MD and CEO in December 2006. In his tenure at Sage India, he has innovated products and growth strategies for the company, including the co-publishing in five regional languages. He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of London and an MBA from Columbia University. He was recently nominated as a member of CII’s National Committee on Intellectual Property.
Himanshu Gupta is the joint managing director at S Chand Group. Considered to be one of the first to adopt technology in education in India, Himanshu brought out CD-ROM based educational material and launched the first student-teacher portal as well as implementation of ERP solutions in publishing in India. Under his stewardship, S Chand became the first Indian publishing house to be ISO-certified.
Manas Saikia, the founding partner and managing director of CUP India has recently been in the news after Cambridge University Press (CUP) having taken full ownership of CUP India in mid-July 2013. A move, Saikia felt, would “accelerate further investment for growth.” While Saikia is retiring from the board, he will be the managing director up to April 2014. Saikia and his partner, Vinod Vashisht created Foundation Books in 1985.
Vikas Gupta is managing director of Wiley India and has been instrumental in giving the company’s India-operation the desired thrust over the last decade. He has launched new initiatives as part of this, such as a programme on indigenous publishing for higher education, to produce world-class content for global and Indian readers. He has also led the company’s initiatives in education solutions, distance education and digital offerings, and he has developed India as a hub for Wiley’s activities in nearby countries, Middle East and Africa.
Atiya Zaidi is publisher at Ratna Sagar. She has 24 years of experience in writing and preparing books for children, her specialisation being ELT. She also organises workshops for teachers and principals. Zaidi has presented papers at international conferences on ELT and learning methodology and is on the faculty of two publishing courses. She is a founder member of the FICCI publishing cell. For 10 years Zaidi has been deeply involved in creating e-content in the form of CDs and websites as educational support material for teachers and students.
SK Ghai is CMD of Sterling Publishers (India), Chairman of Institute of Book Publishing, and Editor of Publishing Today e-journal. He was chairman of CAPEXIL’s panel on Books, Publications and Printing from 2008-2011, and is a senior member of Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP).
Sanjiv Goswami is managing director of Springer (India), board member of Indian Reprographic Rights Organization (IRRO) and founder member of Association of Publishers in India (API), and an active member on various committees of FICCI. He has been working in the industry for over 31 years and is the founder-member of Springer India operations in 1998. He was president of API over two separate terms, and has played a key role in liaisoning with the government on industry-specific issues.
Indira Chandrasekhar is publisher and managing editor, Tulika Books, New Delhi. She began her publishing career with Macmillan India as a junior copy editor and worked for several years as a freelance editor, with brief stints at teaching in Bangalore and Delhi universities in the intervening years, before setting up Tulika Books in 1995.
Deepak Kapoor, is CEO, director and founder of Manupatra Information Solutions. Kapoor commenced his career with Sona Steering Systems, an auto ancillary company in 1987. Later he worked on many greenfield ventures which included raising a $47 million “India Direct Fund”, a private equity fund for investment in start up/mid cap companies and also served on the Investment Committee of the Fund. In 2000, he joined hands with Sanjiv Saraf (CMD of Polyplex Corporation) to start a BPO.
R Krishna Mohan is manager (production) – higher academics at Orient Blackswan. In this role, he is responsible for print buying decisions, monitoring quality standards, and formulating and improving work practices.
He also manages the uploading, pricing and market of the company’s e-publishing programme. Prior to this role, Krishna Mohan was vice president (purchase) at Printage. He obtained a PG diploma in printing and publishing from the London College of Printing.
Subhasis Ganguli is vice president at Pearson Education India. He has worked for 26 years in publishing, equally divided between Oxford University Press and Penguin–Pearson Group. Prior to that he worked in sales, sourcing and supply-chain in different industries. The last four years, he has been vice president, production operations and content management of Penguin–Pearson Group. Ganguli has a keen interest in systems, workflow and quality. His strengths lie in vendor relationship management, sourcing and planning.
Palaniappa Chellappan is the managing partner of PMDP, the digital wing of Palaniappa Brothers. In addition to books, Palaniappa Brothers also undertakes commercial printing work including visiting cards, calendars, loyalty cards etc. Recently, the company created waves after it signed-up for India’s first Scodix S74 digital embossing press. Chellappan had explained that the reason behind the investment was “to make print more appealing”, and that he wanted his customers to “feel the product rather than just see it”.
Deepak Sheth is director at Sheth Publishers, the third generation of a family-owned company. His grandfather established AR Sheth and Company in 1949. In 1972, Deepak’s father branched out to form Sheth Publishers. Today Sheth supervises the printing and publishing of 1,200 educational titles each month in accordance with the syllabus across various streams. His mantra is: how to achieve this “hassle-free” in the firm’s in-house facility.
Priya Singh has been the production director at Gurgaon-based Hachette India since 2008. A graduate in print technology from Manipal Institute of Technology, she joined Thomson Press as a graduate engineer trainee soon after her graduation. She later became the production controller at Roli Books, and moved on as production controller at Pearson Education before joining Hachette.
Bipin Shah is managing director of Mapin Publishing. He has nearly 40 years of experience in the publishing industry. Shah started his career at the Art Direction Book Company in New York. In the late ‘70s, he was sales director of South Asia and Middle East for Feffer & Simons (a division of Doubleday Publishers), New York. He co-founded Mapin in 1983, as a company that focused on documenting and producing beautiful books on Indian arts, crafts and design.
Gaurav Sabharwal is managing director of Prakash Books. A graduate in Information Systems and Finance, he returned to India in 2001 from the US to join India’s book industry, taking over the reigns of Prakash Books and making it one of the country’s largest book distribution companies. Sabharwal co-founded Prakash eSolutions in 2009, which launched the online retail store, Uread. He launched Fingerprint Publishing, an imprint for fiction and non-fiction paperbacks.
The Book Special being launched at the Print Fair, held at the Max Mueller Bhavan in Mumbai