PRH India acquires the book publishing assets of Duckbill

Penguin Random House India has acquired the book-publishing assets of Duckbill Books, a leading independent publisher of books and digital products for children and teens. This includes titles and its backlist of non-fiction and fiction books across a broad range of categories. The Duckbill brand will be published within Penguin Random House India’s children’s publishing group division.

03 Dec 2019 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

Sayoni Basu (second from right) with Anushka Ravishankar of Duckbill and others

Established in 2012, Duckbill is run by Sayoni Basu and Anushka Ravishankar. With a close-knit editorial team paying personalised attention, the publishing house has built great brand resonance in children’s publishing and has published some popular titles and series of books. Many of these have won national and international awards, including South Asian Book Award, the Crossword Book Award, the Neev Award, the ComicCon Award, Peekabook, the FICCI Publishing Awards and many others. It was also shortlisted for the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards in 2015. Recently, Duckbill was awarded the coveted position of ‘Publisher of the Year 2019’ at the Publishing Next awards.

Some of its bestselling books are Moin and the Monster by Anushka Ravishankar, Queen of Ice by Devika Rangachari, Timmi in Tangles by Shals Mahajan, Year of the Weeds by Siddhartha Sarma and Akbar and the Tricky Traitor by Natasha Sharma, to name a few.

Duckbill’s publisher and co-founder Sayoni Basu will come on-board as consulting editor and will continue publishing creative and award-winning works with Sohini Mitra, associate publisher, PRH India, and her team.

Mitra said, “Having been in children’s publishing for over a decade, it is refreshing to see a young publishing house carve a niche for itself in such short time. Through its books, Duckbill has fearlessly addressed many topics that are relevant for this day and age and the recognition that they have received is supremely well deserved. I have always admired Duckbill books and am excited that these will share the same home with us now. We welcome their talented pool of authors, series and titles to our catalogue and look forward to bringing more path-breaking work to the fore.”

Anushka Ravishankar, principal platypus, and Sayoni Basu, primary platypus, Duckbill Books, said, “We have had seven exciting years discovering new authors and experimenting with different kinds of books, but we have felt the challenges of being a very small house selling books in a very large world. With Penguin Random House India’s amazing sales and marketing network, we hope Duckbill books will reach many new readers.”

Gaurav Shrinagesh, CEO, Penguin Random House India and SEA, said, “We are so excited to bring in Duckbill into the Penguin Random House India family. It is a true value-add of an acquisition and we are looking forward to taking the wonderful world of storytelling that Duckbill team has built to a wider audience.”

He added, “Children’s publishing is one of our biggest assets, and as a company, we would like to bring in good literary work that establishes new readers, generation after generation.”

This acquisition will further build on Penguin Random House India’s rich collection of books for young readers. As one of the largest English trade publishers, PRH India has published children’s books from authors as diverse such as Ruskin Bond; Sudha Murty; Devdutt Patnaik; APJ Abdul Kalam, among other.

The portfolio also includes much-loved international titles namely, the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney and Peppa Pig books. Some of the award-winning titles that Penguin published for children are Looking for the Rainbow by Ruskin Bond, Muezza and Baby Jaan by Anita Nair, Like Smoke by Paro Anand, Let’s Go Time Travelling by Subhadra Sen Gupta, Faces in the Water by Ranjit Lal, Wisha Wozzariter by Payal Kapadia, A Brush with India Art by Mamta Nainy, to name a few.

This acquisition expands the portfolio of Sohini Mitra, who heads the children and young adult publishing programme for Penguin. With this development, Penguin Random House India will have two exclusive imprints to publish books for children — Puffin and Duckbill.