Publishing industry readies to face post-Covid scenario

Union minister of human resource development (HRD) Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that "India is a superpower of knowledge", during a webinar jointly hosted by the National Book Trust (NBT) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day.

24 Apr 2020 | By Aultrin Vijay

Over 180 participants across India logged-in to join the webinar

On the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April, NBT and FICCI jointly conducted a webinar on the post-Covid publishing scenario in India. Over 180 participants across India logged-in to join the webinar, which included publishers, authors, editors, teachers, booksellers, digital content creators, and publishing professionals.

While wishing everyone on the occasion, Nishank said, "India is a superpower of knowledge. With its ancient universities, knowledge and treasure trove of books, India is a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures."

During the webinar, Nishank told the publishers and writers that we all have to strive together to make India a proud knowledge economy of the world. Emphasising on the need to promote reading in the country, he said, "Children should be encouraged to believe that books are their best friends."

He also added that the youth of India outnumber the total population of some of the western countries, and therefore it is important that the teachers, authors, publishers and educationists ensure that correct knowledge is disseminated to them, to create a new powerful India.

Speaking about the changing times from oral recitation to handwritten parchments to printed words, Govind Prasad Sharma, chairman of NBT, said, "It's high time that society accepts eLearning as a method of knowledge dissemination."

He also said that the pandemic has changed the way we function, with students being taught over online classes. "The publishers need to make sure that we keep imparting knowledge regardless through eContent for students and teachers, support the publishing industry, and stick together to help each other during and post Covid times," Sharma said.

Yuvraj Malik, director at NBT said, "Change is the only constant in life." Referring to the difficult times the publishing industry is going through, he said, "We must accept the demand of the hour, and as publishers it is our duty to disseminate information and knowledge to the society. It may well be through digital and ePublishing mediums. What we create today will become an important historical document for tomorrow."

Talking about NBT's initiatives during this period, Malik told the participants that realising the extraordinary psychological, social, economic and cultural significance of the Covid-19 pandemic for the human society in the times to come, NBT has planned the launch of a publishing series titled Corona Studies Series to document and provide relevant reading materials for all age-groups for the post-Corona readership needs.

"The material is being readied by a study group comprising experienced psychologists/counsellors," said Malik. "The first sub-series is on psycho-social impact of corona pandemic and the ways to cope, in eEdition format."

In addition, NBT is also preparing children’s books – Our Corona Warriors, and other story and picture books related to various aspects of Corona to create awareness.

Also, books focused on art, literature, folklore, economic and sociological aspects, science/health awareness emerging out of the Corona pandemic, and the lockdown, are also in the pipeline.

Ratnesh Jha, chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and CEO, Burlington Group (India & South East Asia); Monica Malhotra Kandhari, co-chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and managing director, MBD Group; Dilip Chinoy, secretary general, FICCI; and Neeraj Jain, co-chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and managing director, Scholastic India, discussed the various issues of publishing industry post-Covid, post-Corona reading needs, digital publishing/eLearning, and the infrastructure available for digital publishing/eLearning, during the webinar.

The webinar provided insights on the post-Covid scenario for the publishing industry and probable shift in the publishing, teaching, learning methods, while understanding the ways in which the education will be re-looked into with the rising eLearning practices.