Bound releases industry research report to bridge the gap between readers and publishers

In an attempt to bridge the gap between readers, writers, editors and publishers, Bound, an organisation that creates stories and helps individuals and brands tell their stories, has released the project, Bound’s Ultimate Publishing Toolkit, which comprises of ‘The Book People’ podcast and ‘Demystifying Indian Publishing: Bound’s Industry Insights and Predictions 2021’.

31 Mar 2021 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

(l-r) The authors of the report, Aishwarya Javalgekar, Megha Jha and Tara Khandelwal

Both the initiatives will serve as a resource for learning how books are made, the people who work behind the scenes, existing and rapidly changing industry trends in the Indian publishing industry.

‘The Book People’ is a 13-episode podcast exploring Indian publishing through the eyes of the people who work in it. Each episode will include series host Aishwarya Javalgekar in a conversation with an industry expert about their role, experience and opinions about the industry and its future. Prominent guests include Ishani Butalia (Zubaan Books), Sayantan Ghosh (S&S India), Harshad Marathe (Designer), among others.

Packed with industry insights and fun book conversations, each episode in the series will be released every Thursday, starting 18 March.

‘Demystifying Indian Publishing: Bound’s Industry Insights and Predictions 2021’ is a comprehensive research report based on the team’s experience and inputs from leading professionals such as publishers, editors, authors, and bookstore owners. It aims to highlight industry trends of the last decade, the significant changes during the pandemic and predictions for the future. The research was led and authored by Megha Jha, with Tara Khandelwal and Aishwarya Javalgekar as co-authors.

Tara Khandelwal, founder of the Mumbai-based literary company, said, “I started Bound because I noticed a lack of infrastructure for creative people to learn and form communities in India. Creative and artistic fields like writing, podcasting, etc have always struggled to be taken seriously, but with a growing audience waiting to consume content across platforms, writers and storytellers of all kinds are more important than ever before. Our interactions with writers during our retreat, classes and services revealed the sheer lack of information available about books and publishing in India.”

With a small team of young and passionate changemakers, Bound hosts a literary podcast and offer end-to-end exclusive writing services like personalised mentorships and writing retreats. It has worked with authors like Anmol Malik, Lavanya Lakshminarayan and Goutam Das.

In the last six months, the organisation has combined its experience and extensive primary and secondary research to create two comprehensive projects that make publishing transparent and accessible to everyone: content creators, curators and consumers.

“With ‘Demystifying Indian Publishing: Bound’s Industry Insights and Predictions 2021’, a guidebook to publishing: including a step-by-step breakdown of the publishing process, we analyse the latest industry trends and developments and offer predictions about the future,” Khandelwal said. “With ‘The Book People’, listeners get to know the people working behind the scenes, and understand their roles and opinions about the industry. We hope that together, these projects will demystify publishing for writers, readers, aspiring professionals, and people and organisations working in and around publishing.”

Aishwarya Javalgekar, the podcast host, added, “As a writer, reader and an editor, I found the publishing and literary world to be an echo-chamber, with conversations that were inaccessible to me due to lack of context or data. There was no information available on how to get published or work in the industry. ‘The Book People’ is my attempt to show that behind all the processes and data and lack of information are real people with a love for stories and books. Just like the audience, I want to understand what they do and how they feel about books and publishing.”

Lead report researcher Megha Jha said, “By the age of eight, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. Yet, beyond pouring my heart out on a piece of paper, I didn't know what else it took to become one. After years of personal research and experiences, I came to the conclusion that it takes plenty of things. What do editors look for in a manuscript? How do I reach out to publishers? Which publishing houses are operating in India? What do people want to read? And the list goes on. ‘Demystifying Indian Publishing: Bound's Industry Insights and Predictions 2021’ is a research report where I have collated this data with the hope that a fellow writer will be able to gain from it.”

Industry research report

Authored by Megha Jha, Tara Khandelwal and Aishwarya Javalgekar, ‘Demystifying Indian Publishing: Bound’s Industry Insights and Predictions 2021’ is a comprehensive research report based on six months of research, the team’s experience and inputs from leading professionals such as publishers, editors, authors, and bookstore owners. It highlights important trends in the industry in the last 10 years, any significant changes that occurred during the pandemic and our predictions for the future.  

Highlights of the report include:

Publishing industry in the last decade (till 2019): This section dives deep into the trends that have surfaced in the past decade including the rise of bookstagrams, literature festivals, campus novels, the rise of eCommerce platforms like Amazon and their impact on book sales, the changes in commissioning process of books, the challenges faced by authors, how the book market has grown in lieu of rising literacy levels and changing reading habits.

Publishing Industry in 2020: This section explores how the pandemic affected the publishing industry in terms of reading, writing, publishing and sales. It will analyse the reading trends, book sales, and writing that emerged during the pandemic. It will also study a broader analysis of the market in terms of bookstores shutting down and others expanding (Bahrisons).

The report also includes statistics and insights such as where does the Indian publishing industry stand in the context of the global publishing industry; reading statistics; book publishing statistics; annual book sales; how much time do Indians spend reading in a week, which genres are popular among Indian readers; number of books commissioned in a year; literature festivals and so on.